2022 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Peter Leszczynski, Georgetown University (McDonough)

Peter Leszczynski

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

Age: 40

“Motivated self-starter that believes luck is the result of preparation meeting opportunity.”

Hometown: Army B.R.A.T. (“Born and Raised in the Army Tradition”) so I’m not really from any one place. Born at West Point, New York, and have been moving ever since (23 moves in 40 years).

Family Members: Married to my wife, Katy, with one two-year-old daughter, Charlotte. Mom (Jenny) and Dad (Bill) with one sister (Kristan).

Fun fact about yourself: I recently found an original Rembrandt sketch in my parents’ attic of their newly-acquired property in Thomaston, Maine. The house was built in 1840, and I discovered the 5 x 8 sketch in a stack of old framed prints in December 2021. The appraisal value of the print was only $3,500, but the value of the story is worth far more to me.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Wake Forest University: B.A. in Communications

Webster University: M.A. in International Relations

Whise are you currently working? I am an active-duty Army officer stationed in Oahu, Hawaii. I am currently serving as a Battalion Commander of an 850-man infantry battalion which is one of four of its kind in this region responsible for security in the Indo-Pacific.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: I am the lead for a small team of business school students raising money and developing a business strategy for St. Joseph’s Hospital in Moshi, Tanzania. To date, our philanthropic outreach has raised over $3 million for the development of a new maternal care clinic that will break ground this summer. The sustainable business strategy we developed over the last six months will expand and improve care for over 200,000 Tanzanians in the next five years.

I am a leadership mentor to over 60 officers in the Army. This includes in-person and virtual counseling, resume assistance, and letters of recommendation.

In my current role, I am responsible for community outreach of two municipalities here on the island of Oahu, which includes emergency relief assistance, community service, fundraising, and social networking.

I am an avid adventure athlete which includes sport parachuting, scuba diving, and mountain climbing. I’ve climbed four of the world’s seven summits and will climb the fifth in Alaska in the next two years.

I am a Class of 2022 Beta Gamma Sigma Inductee for the EMBA program.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of taking my two closest friends from the EMBA program to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in February 2022 as a part of our final capstone project. Despite no climbing experience, we put together a great training program which helped a Jesuit priest and marketing executive summit the highest mountain in Africa (19,341 ft) in under six days. I couldn’t be more proud of what they accomplished, and the experience was so much more impactful seeing the smiles on their faces in sub-zero temperatures as opposed to inside the classroom.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of deploying to combat 11 times and returning most of the men and women under my care home safely. For almost 18 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to serve with the best our country has to offer, and getting over 1,000 of them home to their families and loved ones allows me to sleep a little easier every night.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Arthur Dong. I took two classes with him during the program and if I could have taken 10, I would have. A charismatic and entertaining teacher, Professor Dong has a way of breaking down the most complicated business subjects into their component parts to help anybody understand the topic. With the tiniest amount of research, I found that Professor Dong is very successful, and the fact he continues to commit his time to develop the business minds of the future was inspiring considering he could be doing virtually anything else.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I’ve wanted to be a Hoya since I was in elementary school and my family would drive by the campus on one of our many visits to the capital. With that said, my motivation didn’t translate to tuition money during undergrad. I saved money for 16 years, and when the opportunity arose for me to attend the EMBA program while continuing to work in my career field, I fulfilled a lifelong dream.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? In every business there are “cost setters” and “revenue generators.” Great businesses manage both costs and revenue very deliberately. The use of data, talent management, process improvement, and supply-chain redundancy are all critical in this regard. I’m eager to apply this lesson to the Army where we are managing human capital more often than we are managing financial capital, but cost reduction and revenue generation apply just as often.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? Without a doubt, the last three months of this program have been the most demanding from a life-balance perspective. A move to Hawaii with a two-year-old daughter while starting a new job at a duty station where I have never been stationed, coupled with completing elective coursework and a capstone project in Africa, was a demanding pull in multiple directions. Thanks to a tremendous group of classmates and family, the experience was much more manageable than I anticipated nine months ago. That being said, I’ll be happy to be in one time zone again here soon.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Allow yourself the time to focus on learning, both inside and outside the classroom. You’re paying a lot of money for this education, and the experience has to be about more than just grades. You will find a “cohort within the cohort” that will teach you just as much as any professor or assignment, and remember that is part of the financial investment you are making when you join this program.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? “Your school muscles have atrophied.” I was told this by a number of business school alums and it led to a lot of personal anxiety after a long break in higher education. With that said, I found this perspective to be somewhat misguided given the interesting subject matter and integration students got at the beginning of the program. In the end, I was just a couple of tutors and some late nights from getting back up to speed scholastically.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Not spending more time with select members of the cohort throughout the entirety of the program. Given the virtual environment for our entire first year, it took me too long to develop the personal relationships I had at the end of the program that I will always wish I had those on day one. In the end, I’m taking seven great friends with me from this program, but I wish I was taking 20.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? The EMBA program had everything I needed at a unique point in my career progression while I had two years of “non-deployable” duty in Washington D.C. The compressed timeline, manageable course load, and the older, more experienced student population made this program the perfect fit.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I will stay in the military for as long as I can contribute and be relevant to national security. My childhood and adult life are characterized by service to our nation, and I hope to use this MBA to make the Army more efficient from a business perspective. These are countless lessons I learned at Georgetown that translate perfectly to the Army, and I’ve already seen them in practice during my short time here in Hawaii. As long as I can continue to improve things for the individual soldier and their families, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing because at this point I’ve achieved most of the individual pursuits I set for myself 18 years ago.

What made Peter such an invaluable addition to the class of 2022?

“It’s a pleasure to recommend, with strong endorsement, Mr. Peter Leszczynski. I have known Peter since he first started his Executive MBA program at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in August 2020. In the same capacity, Peter, similar to his cohort classmates, was one of my students in the Opening Residency and Decision Analytics courses in his first year of the program.

I believe that Peter enjoys, recognizes and lives by the very principles that characterize our nation and the Georgetown community and value system. His lead in their capstone project, with a small team of his classmates in raising money and developing a business strategy for St. Joseph’s Hospital in Moshi, Tanzania, or his dedication to be a mentor to Army Officers, are testaments to that fact.

In my view, Peter is a composed, cool, reliable and committed professional and a natural leader. His professional, mindful, consistent, and thoughtful disposition is distinguishing and noteworthy. He is exceptionally intelligent, accomplished and astute. He has a high degree of emotional I.Q., is socially aware, and perceptively acclimatized to his environment and to others’ presence, abilities, and needs. He has demonstrated these qualities as a graduate student and certainly in a professional capacity as a leader and a military commander in his career. He has an unequivocal respect of his classmates. Peter was also inducted to the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society in April 2022.”

Bardia Kamrad
Professor of Operations and Information Management
Senior Associate Dean for Executive Degree Programs
Academic Director for the Executive MBA Program


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