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Meet Our 2019 Cohort of Fellows: Brendan McGrath


Cornell University, Johnson Graduate School of Management

Hi! My name is Brendan McGrath and I am an MBA candidate at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. I grew up in Hingham, Massachusetts—a coastal town outside Boston—and graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2011 with a B.A in Economics and Psychology. While at SLU, I was an active member on grounds, holding leadership positions within student government. After graduating, I began my career at the Nielsen Company, and moved to New York City, starting in their Financial Leadership Program. I began in accounting and moved to Chicago to complete my pricing analytics rotation. Afterwards, I moved back to Boston and worked in Media at Hill Holliday before moving to the west coast to get experience in content marketing at a TV production studio before returning to work at a full service advertising agency. I worked on a number of during my tenure at Ogilvy & Mather in both Los Angeles and New York City during my three years there, growing the business through both large clients such as Lenovo and Motorola. With a keen interest in human capital, I always participated in the various recruiting opportunities at the larger firms I worked for that had campus recruiting opportunities, the Nielsen Company's leadership development programs and Ogilvy's Associates program. Outside of work, I am an active runner, completing my first marathon in Fall of 2017 in New York City, and enjoy traveling to new cities and spending time with friends, as well as meeting new people.


What made you consider business school?

I began considering an MBA in during my first role at the Nielsen company, when I met a number of impressive co-workers and past Nielsen employees at networking events who either attended business school, were working on their degree, or applying to programs. It seemed to open so many opportunities (personal and career advancements), that in my mind, it became not a matter of if, but when would be the right time for me to return to school for my MBA.


What are you most excited about in terms of your time in business school?

I'm most excited for two things. The first is the opportunity for me to develop both personally and professionally, through being in new and at-times uncomfortable or challenging situations. I consider myself so lucky that I have this time to invest in myself. I am looking forward to continuing to set ambitious goals for myself, working hard towards them, and enjoying the process. The second thing I am most excited for is meeting new people and forming lifelong relationships with them, particularly the Cornell and the ROMBA communities.


Who are some leaders (in the LGBT community, in business, or in society) that most inspire you?

LGBT leaders in politics I really look up to Tammy Baldwin, Pete Buttigieg, and Hillary Clinton. I also admire Anderson Cooper for everything he was accomplished and been through personally and professionally. My friend Adam Eli Werner is someone else I deeply admire for the work of LGBT activism he has dedicated his life to and helped so many people in need in several ways. He continues to inspire me to think of others, as I work on my accomplishing my own goals.


What's one thing everyone should know about you?

I genuinely really enjoy meeting new people so if we don't know each other yet feel free to reach out and introduce yourself. Facilitating new connections with people one of the reasons for business school, ROMBA, and something I enjoy doing myself—helping to connect people who would benefit from knowing each other.