2018 Best EMBAs: Dana Hoover, Georgetown University (McDonough)

Dana Hoover

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

“6-feet tall, global citizen, adventurous – I started my own business (and failed).”

Age: 38

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

I was born on a farm in Minnesota. I lived in Northern Finland (2 hours south of the Arctic Circle), the Russian Far East: Vladivostok, Bishkek Krygyzstan, and Nairobi Kenya. In the US, I’ve lived in several major cities: Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington DC

Family Members: husband, 4 brothers, mom, dad

Fun fact about yourself: I have 50 first cousins.


Undergraduate School and Degree: BA Economics, Russian Language, Russian Area Studies, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN

Where are you currently working? McKinsey, Organizational Design, OrgSolutions

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Running and cooking and baking for dinner parties with friends.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Our capstone project analyzed disaster recovery in the US and British Virgin Islands. We spoke to leaders in government, business, non-profit, and community sectors. We asked things like: Do people and businesses really need what you are trying to give them? How do you know? Data-driven decision-making is essential to fast and effective economic recovery.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I ran a food delivery start up in Africa. The business never slept and neither did our competitors. Growing the business was so difficult that I would wake up in the middle of the night and just start working. I ran a lean operation and when I arrived in business school, I found that I was running it too lean! Every operation needs buffer capacity.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr. Paul Almeida, who taught strategy. He is also the dean of the business school. He is the master at weaving content into guided discussions that build throughout the term and make you feel like a master strategist by the end.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? It was the last course of the program: “View from the Office of the Global CEO.” The course artfully put all of the major MBA pieces together: strategy, finance, marketing, and data analysis and put the student in the hot seat as CEO. Example: “Here’s what’s happening…if you were CEO, what would you do next?

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? Georgetown University has an excellent reputation, great location, and strong international focus.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? Through tough classes and tough personal situations, my classmates became my family and I’m so proud to know them.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? No matter what field you are in, this education can lead your career to new heights. Besides the typical MBA crew of finance and marketing gurus, I had classmates who were engineers, physicists, community leaders, lobbyists, helicopter pilots, consultants, non-profit leaders, tech wizards. Everyone expanded their skill set and developed a sense of confidence in moving through the business world.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? My classmate Eric Gannon is a remarkable person. He has persevered through life circumstances that most people will never face. Instead of growing more cautious and protective of his life, the MBA program emboldened him to take chances. He recently quit his job to start his own consulting company and has been very successful.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I knew I wanted to go to business school when I struggled through running a start up in Africa. There’s so much I would do differently now.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…living abroad, likely running another start up.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To transform the way that companies engage their workforce to achieve their strategy. Most companies reorganize every 2-3 years and by using data to link talent, process, and strategy, this reorganization can have a powerful impact on a company’s bottom line.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone who cares – who cares about them and who cares about the work.

Favorite book: Nabokov’s Pale Fire – it’s a masterpiece of independence and co-dependence.

Favorite movie or television show: The Avengers. It’s a good reminder that all of us have special powers and we need to learn how to use them for the greater good.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

– To travel to 100 countries (I’m currently at 40).

– To earn a PhD in Organizational Psychology

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

“Dana Hoover has been an outstanding student in the Executive MBA Program for the Class of 2018. She was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society by ranking in the upper ten percent of her class. Dana is effective at playing the role of a follower and equally adept at taking the helm when appropriate. She demonstrates a thoughtful balance of being both rational and emotionally intelligent in her interactions. Dana is very comfortable within herself and holds her own in interactions with both senior leaders and team members. She is diligent in keeping her commitments and very thorough in planning her activities. Dana has a very approachable and affable disposition.”

George Liebensfeld

Director, Academic Affairs, Office of Executive Education

McDonough School of Business


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