You might call Benjamin Holladay 22MBA competitive. He certainly does. Whether he’s developing nuclear propulsion solutions for the U.S. Navy or concocting authentic Neapolitan pizza, Holladay is precise, and he wants the best.
“Choosing to join the Navy, and more specifically joining the Naval Reactors team, was a defining moment for me,” Holladay says. “I had never planned on it, but the challenge of operating within the highly selective Naval Reactors team was enticing and motivating.”
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Auburn University, the Alabama native began his five-year stint with the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program in Washington, D.C. The program, which began soon after World War II, is responsible for the safe, reliable, and long-lived operation of nuclear propulsion plants onboard naval vessels. As of 2015, the Navy had traveled a combined 157 million miles on nuclear power—more than enough to get to Mars and back.
“Working there was often intense,” says Holladay, “which makes sense when the consequences of the work are as high as they are in a military application of nuclear power. But this environment challenged me and stretched me to grow in the best way possible.”
In 2020, Holladay was ready for a new challenge: business school. “In my role with the Navy, I found that I enjoyed the business aspects of my job more than the technical engineering work,” he says. “I knew that an MBA would provide a great opportunity to shift my long-term career focus to better match my interests.”
With characteristic grit, Holladay zeroed in on Goizueta as the place that would push him the hardest. “Goizueta holding rigor as a core value really resonated with me. The MBA process should absolutely be a challenge and a bit of a grind—otherwise it wouldn’t be worth doing,” he says. As a Woodruff Scholar and summer associate at Bain & Company, Holladay is already maximizing his Goizueta experience.
In his downtime, Holladay seeks pizza perfection: “I spare no expense when it comes to using quality ingredients and having the best equipment,” he says. “I love making homemade pizza and am meticulous about my process. My dream house has a backyard built around a wood-fired pizza oven.” Learn more about the Goizueta Business School Veterans Association, committed to advancing the careers of our military veterans and active-duty service members through one of the top MBA programs in the country.