Justin Davis wore a lot of hats during his time as a graduate student in the College of Business. We sat down with him to learn about his time on campus, and hear what the future holds.
How has your time in the TechMBA® program shaped your life?
JD: Michigan Tech has forced me to grow up and take responsibility for the life I want to create for myself and my family. When I first arrived, I didn’t feel like I belonged. I didn’t feel smart enough. I remember during one of the first courses I took, it seemed as though everyone was speaking in a different language: “agile…Six Sigma…” I had to make a decision early on to take control of the education I received from Michigan Tech, and if I was going to succeed, I had to develop the courage to ask questions and be an active participant in class even if that meant giving the wrong answers or slowing the class down to have a professor re-explain a concept.
By this approach, I developed a genuine interest for topics I had never been exposed to prior to arriving at Tech, like entrepreneurship, organizational structure, business strategy, and financial management. Most importantly, my TechMBA® has changed the way I receive and process information. Now, I can take information and, through the use of analytical tools, determine why something occurred, explain the implications, evaluate possible outcomes, and offer recommendations. My TechMBA® has given me the confidence to have a seat at the table in any room I walk into.
What unexpected lessons did you gain from the TechMBA® program?
JD: The nature of graduate work is vastly different from undergraduate school. From the
very beginning, collaborating with other students through group assignments and projects
has given me a taste of what it will be like once I begin my professional career.
I have a tendency to rely on my own understanding and be a dominant
voice in groups, but in order to be the most effective, collaboration is necessary. I had to defer to and trust my group members. I had to be transparent and consistent in communicating with my group members in order to establish a cohesive body of work. I had to be courageous enough to speak up when there was conflict, and take accountability when I made mistakes.
What did you gain from the TechMBA® program that you don’t think you could have gained elsewhere?
JD: Michigan Tech is like no place else on earth because of the community. For the last two years as a Tech student, I have been able to encounter people from all over the United States and international countries and one trend remains: inclusivity. I made friends with people who were engineers, fraternity brothers, athletes, research students, tenured faculty, administrators, custodians, local business owners, and alumni. In each interaction, I was treated with respect and kindness.
"The Michigan Tech and Houghton community has a way of making every student feel valued despite all that makes us different, and I am certain I could not have experienced this at any other institution."
How did you balance being a husband/partner, graduate student, and student-athlete? What were the keys to your success?
JD: I sacrificed sleep, time with friends and family, leisure, and my pride in order to accomplish my goal, and I am certain those sacrifices will pay dividends.
It also took an immense amount of prayer and faith for me to persevere through this experience. There were times when I wanted to call it quits and take the first bus back home to Rochester, New York, but God blessed me with an amazing wife who supported and encouraged me. He pointed me to the resources and people I needed to aid in my shortcomings. I also believe it is essential to know when to ask for help from those around you. Michigan Tech is filled with individuals who want to provide assistance at a moment’s notice. There are resources in place to help each student be successful as long as they are willing to seek them out.
What’s next for you?
JD: My TechMBA® has expanded the possibilities of what I can do in the realms of entrepreneurship
and philanthropy, business model generation, small business consulting…however, my
deepest passion is filmmaking. I want to engage, entertain, and inspire through creating
films that resonate
with the essence of humanity. Regardless of what I do, I know Michigan Tech has equipped me with the tools to succeed.
Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.