Know Your Network: Dylan Vest 17MBA

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As our nation and Emory University celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th, this month is a time to remember the military personnel−active duty and veterans−who have stepped forward to serve. In this issue of Know Your Network, we celebrate servicemen and women. We asked Goizueta alumni to share insights, their rank and how their military journey still impacts life and work today.


Dylan Vest 17MBA  
Manager
Simon-Kucher & Partners

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Dylan Vest grew up in South Alabama, attended Vanderbilt University on an ROTC scholarship, entering the Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer upon graduation. He operated primarily as a division officer and VBSS boarding officer for those four years, mostly in the Caribbean. After the Navy, Dylan worked at a startup in Los Angeles while his wife earned a Ph.D. The couple moved to Atlanta when he was accepted to Emory’s business school.
Upon graduation from Goizueta, Dylan joined Simon-Kucher & Partners as a management consultant, where he worked primarily with midsize companies looking for revenue side-profit improvement and private equity funds seeking quick returns on their investments. He is currently a manager with the firm.

What was your rank in the military and how has the military journey impacted your life and/or work today?
I made LT (lieutenant) just as I was getting out of the Navy, but the experience of getting to that rank has been very important to my career. Deployments serve as an internal benchmark for how tough it can get and a benchmark for what teams can accomplish in stressful situations.

Who inspires you and why?
I get a lot of inspiration from my family. My parents worked full-time jobs and spent most of their remaining time teaching me how to live a balanced life. I have two older sisters–both entrepreneurs– who are constant lighthouses.
Adriana, my wife, is a constant source of inspiration and a reminder of the benefits of consistent strength, smart decisions, and hard work.

What is your definition of success?
I don’t buy into success or failure. There are so many things that are out of your control in life, what matters is resiliency, continuing to push forward even when it gets hard. If there was something achievable called success, I would say it’s the end state of training your brain to be content with what you have and are doing.

Is there a lasting lesson, memory or skill gained from business school that you particularly remember or credit your success to?
Goizueta had a great culture that was the product of a bunch of eager students getting together and aspiring to do something greater than they were doing before. This idea that you can learn from others’ experiences and skills to guide your own career is extremely powerful and I won’t forget/stop using it.

What advice do you have for today’s business students?
It’s important to strike a balance in your career of challenging yourself and setting yourself up for the long haul. Personally, I don’t think the “work hard and retire model” is a healthy one. Instead, I recommend people think about the general direction they want to pursue for the next 35-40 years.

Please describe some professional and personal goals.
Here are a few short-term goals for the next year:
• Write two articles for publication in 2019
• Truly help every client I consult for achieve the goals my team and I−to the best of our ability−were  hired to accomplish
• Grow and develop future leaders within each project team I manage by placing them in challenging situations with plenty of support
• Develop more consistent weekend “traditions” with my wife and dog, especially those that revolve around healthy habits like being outside and working out

What is a professional moment or accomplishment you are most proud of and why?
First, completing Boarding Officer School itself was not difficult but represented the capstone of a series of very difficult schools over several months. In addition, this achievement meant I could lead the team, which is something I still am proud of nine years later.

Second, honestly, being promoted to a manager at Simon-Kucher is also a top accomplishment for me because it was evidence that I could succeed in consulting, a career I had gone to business school to pursue. Also, this promotion helped eliminate any doubts I had about succeeding in civilian life after the military.

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