2016 Best EMBAs: Brian Scott Cossiboom, Southern Methodist University (Cox)

Brian Cossiboom SMU

Brian Scott Cossiboom

Southern Methodist University, Cox School of Business

“This guy is a pro.”

Age: 38

Location: Dallas, Texas

Family Members: Scott, Debbie, Beth, Chad, Holly, Abby, Noah, Jude, and Micha

Undergraduate School and Degree: Samford University; B.S. business administration

Where are you currently working? The George W. Bush Foundation, vice president of operations; Office of George W. Bush, director of operations

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles: Photography; serve at Watermark Church; lead the Bush-Cheney Alumni Association

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m most proud that I was able to balance all the professional, personal, and academic demands that come with being an EMBA student. While there were certainly sacrifices made along the way, this was by far the biggest stretch for me.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m most proud of leading the team that was responsible for the successful design, construction, and start-up of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. The Bush Center as a civic institution enhances Dallas and has been a great addition to the SMU campus community.

Favorite MBA Courses? Organizational Behavior, Marketing Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? Reputation; rankings for SMU in general, and Cox specifically. SMU has an amazing reputation both regionally and nationally. The rankings support the validity of that reputation (as does my experience).

What did you enjoy most about business school? I most enjoyed the members of my cohort. While the academic rigor of the program certainly leads the learning experience, the insights gained from the diversity in our class added immensely to my learning and were by far the most enjoyable (and enlightening) part of the experience.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? I was most surprised by the diversity of our cohort. Our class brought together an amazing mix of experience levels, industries, genders, ages, and nationalities. This really added to the classroom experience through exposure to differing opinions and viewpoints.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your executive MBA program? My best advice to an applicant is to take time to get yourself ready before the program starts. For many students, it has been a decade or more since their last classroom experience. Classroom learning tends to be much different from our professional learning. Even sitting in a classroom for four hours focused on the same subject can be a real challenge when juxtaposed with the chaotic environment faced by most executives in corporate America today.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when …” I was first exposed to the extremely talented individuals at the White House who stepped out of their successful private sector careers to serve in the public sector.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be …” Incomplete.

What are your long-term professional goals? I aspire to be an impactful senior leader in organizations of consequence in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I most want to thank my amazing family, my awesome team at work, and my study group. Thanks to my family for forgiving the missed birthday parties, enduring the infrequent phone calls, and in general putting up with an absent son, brother, and uncle for two years. Thanks to my work team for picking up the slack when I was out for class, for forgiving delays when my attention was drawn between work and school, and in general for being so supportive of achieving my professional goals. Thanks to my study group for rolling with the punches and sticking with it all the way — I could not have made it through without them!

Fun fact about yourself: My MBA theme song was “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson

Favorite book: Changes all the time — currently Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham

Favorite movie: currently The Intern

Favorite musical performer: currently Adele

Favorite television show: “Lost” — I always love a show that can keep me guessing until the very end

Favorite vacation spot: Seattle, Washington (in the summer)

Hobbies? Travel, technology, food

What made Brian Scott Cossiboom such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“’This guy is a pro.’ That memorable phrase described Brian Cossiboom in a letter of recommendation written by one of his references when Brian applied to the SMU Cox Executive MBA Program in 2014. Over the past two years, I’ve learned firsthand just how accurate that description is. Brian is an enthusiastic team player who thrives in a team environment and relishes his teammates, but he is also a natural leader who does not shy away from guiding his team. One of Brian’s most memorable contributions came during our EMBA program visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina as part of our Global Studies course. He helped build a solar shower for an extremely poor family outside the city. Brian saw a need and made it happen, no questions asked. At his job in Dallas, chatting with former President Bush; in a foreign country helping the poor get a hot shower; in the EMBA classroom working alongside his EMBA teammates — in all circumstances at all times, I can say without hesitation that Brian Cossoboom is indeed ‘a real pro.’”

Tom Perkowski

Assistant Dean of SMU Cox Executive MBA Program 


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