2018 Best EMBAs: Geoffrey Rinehart, Ohio State (Fisher)

Geoffrey Rinehart

The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business

Driven construction professional who cares about enriching others careers and leads with integrity.”

Age: 33

Hometown: Fredericktown, Ohio

Family Members: Sarah Rinehart wife of 8 years; Daughters Madison & Reagan (6 years, 18 months)

Fun fact about yourself: I started waterskiing at age 5.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Bowling Green State University – Bachelors of Science in Construction Management

Where are you currently working? Kokosing Construction Company Inc., Projects Manager

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

Columbus Chapter Executive Committee of The Ohio Contractors Association- Education Chair; Management trustee on The Ohio Laborers Union Apprenticeship & Training fund; Volunteer at Holy Family Soup Kitchen for Kokosing’s Giving a Helping Hand Volunteer Program; Program leader/facilitator of Kokosing’s – Accelerated Development Program (ADP); Facilitator for Kokosing’s Operate With Leadership Program (OWL)

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? While completing business school, I had the opportunity to lead our company through the successful acquisition of another construction company. Concepts and ideas from business school courses such as OB, Finance, Strategy, Operations and Persuasion & Negotiation were directly applied to this acquisition experience.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Jay Dial. Professor Dial utilizes a unique form of Socratic style teaching that encourages students to formulate and defend their argument. Utilizing his broad knowledge of industry, he easily relates the case study teachings and readings to real world scenarios.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Leadership Legacy. This course forced deep reflection on the type of business leader I desire to become and helped me develop a structured plan to achieve success.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I chose Fisher College of Business EMBA program for the convenient on-campus schedule. The program structure consisting of monthly in class sessions allows for the flexibility to plan course work around life and career demands.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? The people I met during my EMBA program created an enjoyable atmosphere and made my experience more lucrative with the knowledge they contributed.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? During the first month of my executive MBA program, my wife gave birth to our second child. Work, school and this new addition created an interesting balancing act, but like any challenge in life you find a way to make it all work.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? A couple bits of advice for a student looking to enter an executive MBA program is to begin the program with an open mind. The student should be willing to learn from their peers experience as well as share their own.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school?

Myth: You need business related work experience to be successful.

Reality: My experience at Fisher College of Business has led me to believe that EMBAs come from diverse backgrounds. This broad cross section of talent enriched the program because of the multitude of experiences each individual brought to the conversation. The reality is, if you are willing to put in the work, you will succeed regardless of your background.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Business school requires a tremendous amount of reading and preparation. If I have one regret, it would be that I did not spend enough time reflecting on how these lessons could pertain to situations I may face during my career.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The MBA classmate I admire most is Tim Zastidil. Tim is an electrical engineer in his civilian life as well as Special Forces Green Beret in the US Army. In addition to the respect I hold for his service to our country, Tim brought a perspective to the class dialogue that was unique due to his worldly and situational experiences.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I began a different career track at Kokosing. This position requires a person who has a broader knowledge of business and leadership beyond general construction focus.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…wishing I had gone to business school and continue not knowing what I should know.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To lead our family business through a successful succession from 2nd generation to 3rd generation and eventually 4th generation.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A hard-working faithful family man, who leads with honesty and humility in providing safe, fulfilling careers in the construction industry.

Favorite book: Extreme Ownership: How U.S Navy Seals Lead and Win – Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Favorite movie or television show: Shark Tank 

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

To personally build my own house. My grandfather built every inch of his house, my father built every inch of his house. I almost feel obligated to build my own someday.

To hike the Grand Tetons with my daughters.

What made Geoff such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“I take great pleasure in this recommendation and feel compelled to provide some background on this candidate first. I was outvoted to let this student into our program as it was my belief that Geoff could have used an additional two years of upper management experience to maximize not only his experience but that of his classmates and be positioned for the class of 2020.

When I approached Geoff about his nomination for the 2018 EMBA P&Q, he immediately said no as he felt others were more deserving and wanted “OSU to have a real shot at someone winning the award.” I then shared with him my initial observations which I detailed above and how I came to the decision to recommend Geoff for this prestigious award.

Geoff in my humble opinion could have been a posterchild for who and why students enter into an EMBA program. From day one, Geoff was engaged in the program. He was always prepared (although shy and lacking some confidence) with expressing his thoughts during the first two months of the program. As I watched his confidence grow, I found students in the first row always turning their necks around to hear what Geoff thought.

I remember Geoff asking if I had any books or material on M&A. I was unaware that he was in charge of an acquisition for his company, something he had never done.  He lobbied for an M&A elective and went through all the material I gave him. I later found out that Geoff was responsible for a successful company acquisition and more importantly, I realized just how wrong I was in initially thinking he was not ready for our EMBA program.

Geoff is a self-starter and someone who recognizes that he does not know what he does not know. His increased confidence in asking questions and thinking on his feet has been extremely rewarding to watch from an educators perspective. Geoff was admired by his classmates for his ability to successfully balance school, work and most importantly to many, family. Geoff, holds a high position in his company, but never promoted himself as anything but a student member of his EMBA cohort.

In summary, some might characterize Geoff as a student with a tough exterior.  After interacting with Geoff for 17 months, I would characterize Geoff as a student with a “real” and engaging style; who is warm and approachable and has an energizing influence on his team and cohort.  He has a clear bias for action; takes personal accountability and raised the bar for the entire EMBA cohort given his humility, integrity and high work ethic which he practiced both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Daniel D. Oglevee, MBA
Academic Director, EMBA
Sr. Lecturer, Finance
Department of Finance

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST EXECUTIVE MBA GRADS OF 2018