2019 Best EMBAs: Trey Addison, Ohio State (Fisher)

Trey Addison

The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business

“I’m a resilient and resourceful business executive with a servant leadership mentality.”

Age: 32

Hometown: Dayton, Ohio

Family Members: Wife, 1 Brother, 1 Sister, 2 Parents, and a Future Daughter! (Due September 14th)

Fun fact about yourself: I am an extreme history buff, to the extent I play history-related computer strategy video games and read biographies and historical, cultural books in my spare time. (Not a lot of people know this)

Undergraduate School and Degree: the University of Toledo, Bachelor of Arts (Focused on Law and Social Thought and Sociology).

Where are you currently working? Nascent Group Holding, LLC – Co-Founder and Managing Partner

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

July 2016 – Present: Board Member/United States of America-Selective Service Administration Board, Ohio Region

July 2013-Present: Board Member/MCS TOUCH, Columbus, OH

December 2013: January 2018: Board of Director-Vice Chair/Ohio United Way, Columbus OH

June 2009 – July 2011: Board of Trustee Member/University of Toledo, Toledo OH

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The academic achievement that I am most proud of during business school was the ability to learn and grow as a leader during my experience in China. The Ohio State EMBA program took us to China to expand our global context of business. This experience opened my eyes and frankly added a more macro perspective to my business acumen. This experience will stick with me forever, and the contacts that I was able to build have already paid dividends.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The number one achievement I am most proud of in my professional career was passing legislation that impacted over 1.7 million family caregivers in Ohio. Passing the Care Act in Ohio was a significant highlight in my career because the issue was bigger than me and was incredibly impactful to so many families taking care of aging loved ones.  Starting an investment company was a great accomplishment as well, but nothing tops talking to people that you do not know about a law that you helped pass, that helped them live a better life.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This is a tough one, and I apologize in advance for breaking the rules. My top favorite professors were Professor Dan Oglevee and Jay Dial. Professor Oglevee was our entrepreneurial finance professor. Not only did he share his perspective and trials and tribulations regarding entrepreneurship, but he also expanded the whole class perspective on finance and business in an easily understandable way. Not only did he help me become a better business owner and investor, but he also inspired many in my cohort to start their businesses. Professor Oglevee’s leadership in the program was on full display during our cohorts’ trip to Silicon Valley, where our group was able to meet with some of the top Venture Capital Managing Partners in the world. This is a testament to who he is as a leader and a person. My second choice is Professor Jay Dial. His impeccable dress and booming voice captivated the entire class. Professor Dial’s course on leadership set the bar and the build you up- break you down nature helped everyone in class talk about their inadequacies and work to correct them.  Sorry to pick two, but to me, they were on equal footing.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? My favorite MBA course was Business Strategy with Professor Jay Anand. Professor Anand’s course covered the intricacies of business strategy and how they touch both operations and finance and how a great strategy provides the “running shoe” in his words for every business to succeed. The course was also helpful for me to apply real-time with a few companies that I invested in, and helped them define their real strategy and get them back on track. Professor Anand’s course alone was a significant ROI to the companies that I was able to apply his teaching to and me.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I chose the EMBA program at Fisher because it had all the trappings I was looking for at the most pivotal point in my life. When I made the decision late 2017 to apply to the EMBA program, I was in the middle of starting an investment company and directing lobbying operations for one of the largest advocacy groups in the United States. After a significant amount of reflection, I decided to attend. With the help of Professor Oglevee, I was able to process the cost-benefit of attending Fishers EMBA program. It would not only expand my business acumen but provide a real-time application from my learnings to my business. When class started in January, I had started my transition from lobbying full-time and put in my two-week notice. After negotiations with my employer, by February of 2018, I was focused on my business full-time. The Fisher program provided me with the right balance of flexibility and academic rigor that helped expand my business insight in finance, operations, and strategy, while at the same time working with my classmates to give them insight on how regulation and government impacts the bottom line.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? The one thing I enjoyed most about business school was building relationships with members of my cohort. Many of the individuals in my class will be friends and business partners for the rest of my life.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? The biggest lesson I learned during my EMBA is becoming a Resonate and Balanced leader. During our leadership course, we had the chance to self-reflect on our current and past leadership.W hile I was reflecting on the areas I needed to work on, the balance kept coming up. In the past, I had always put business before family and did not even realize the toll it took on my family. Professor Jay Dial’s leadership course helped expose my lack of balance, and correct it. This adjustment has been helpful to my relationship with my family and made me a more resonate and thoughtful leader and listener.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? One story that stands out to me during my EMBA journey was this semester. I had four classes. I was in the middle of closing a significant real estate investment for my business and becoming an Advisory Board Member to a fast-growing start-up. At the same time, my wife told me she was pregnant with our first child.

Yes, this was like a giant stress bubble waiting to burst. However, I had to adjust, and plan accordingly.  I began to enforce how I spent time firmly. Utilizing my calendar, I planned virtually every hour of the day in such a way that if I was not working on the deal, it was working on school or spending quality time with family and preparing for our new child. Through this process, it was and has been hard.  However, I have been able to remain resilient and stay on top of everything through excellent planning and a great wife.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? The number one piece of advice I would give to a student looking to obtain an EMBA would be to create a regimen and stick to it. Another piece of advice I would give is that the EMBA experience is nothing like a part-time or full-time MBA. You are in a cohort with some of the best leaders in your region from all walks of life. You cannot get that in any other program. This is why the EMBA is, in my view, elite. Every day you walk into class you are not only learning from your professors, but some of the best learning comes from your peers.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? The biggest myth in going back to school was, will you have enough time to balance work, school, and personal life (finding balance). This was the same thing I experienced, so the myth was true. However, the program forced me to get more organized and focus on my priorities. In some ways, the myth of finding balance was a gift and not a curse.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret in business school was that I did not build a great relationship with every professor. Unfortunately, as the program picks up and you get into your electives, your time with individual professors is limited.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The EMBA classmate I most admire is Tim Ackart. Tim has a unique ability to assess a problem in a process, or operation quickly, and create a strategy to remove it swiftly. This came up several times during our group projects. Tim would read a case and put together a solution that measured the risk and the financial implications almost in real-time. He is possibly one of the best operational strategists that I have ever worked with.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I knew I wanted to go to business school when I wanted to start my own business.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate long-term professional goal is to continue to grow my investment portfolio in real estate, energy, healthcare and consult with companies in each of these three areas on how they can better plan, scale, and execute through government and macro geopolitical insights.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I want my peers to remember me as a thoughtful and resilient business leader that built solution-oriented strategies for long-term success.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Visit the Galapagos Islands
  2. Visit Antarctica

What made Trey such an invaluable addition to the class of 2019?

“I have rarely met a student the caliber of Trey Addison. His determination, appetite for learning, and professionalism are only surpassed by his humility and genuine desire to see others succeed.

I believe Trey’s work ethic and strong leadership by example made him an invaluable addition to the class of 2019. Many students within the cohort commented on Trey’s clear ability to find balance, embrace risk and operate at a top level. It was not uncommon for members of the cohort to comment that they want to be like “Trey”, paying homage to the famous Michael Jordan phrase, “Be Like Mike.”  Trey openly encouraged and promoted team and cohort discussions that were enriching and thought-provoking. Even when he had domain expertise, he let class discussions unfold before he shared his valued opinions and experience. This was something the cohort noted and appreciated. Specific quotes from classmates include:

“Great attitude, demeanor, and professionalism. Consistently contributed to class discussions with meaningful insights and experiences. Learned more from his participation in class.”

“Trey has been a great teammate. He has provided significant insight into the world of venture capital.  He genuinely cares about the people around him.”

“Knowing some of Trey’s life story and the challenges he had to overcome to get where he is today is inspiring! He is truly a self-made man. The sharing of his personal and professional experiences as a lobbyist, congressional staffer, and now in the private equities game contributed greatly to our class discussions and my learning. He is smart, experienced, well-spoken, humble, and a professional in all aspects of the word.”

As I think about the cohort, Trey stands out as a unique individual with a rare mix of empathy, intelligence, insight, professionalism, and business acumen. His presence greatly impacted both myself and the EMBA Class of 2019.”

Daniel D. Oglevee, MBA

Executive Director, EMBA

Sr. Lecturer, Finance

Department of Finance

The Ohio State University


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