- Name: Meredith Domingue
- Business School: Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University
- Originally From: Texas City, TX
- Undergraduate School and Degree: United States Military Academy, Bachelor of Science in American Politics
- Fun Fact: Meredith started her MBA program almost immediately after giving birth to her son!
Q: Where did you work before enrolling in business school?
A: Captain, United States Army.
I had the honor of serving in the Army for almost a decade. I began my military career as a Military Intelligence officer where I managed both manned and unmanned aerial vehicle collection efforts as a part of OPERATION Iraqi Freedom and OPERATION Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Then, I was selected to work as a Special Operations Civil Affairs officer. There I served as Development Officer in Afghanistan where I worked closely with Special Forces teams and USAID. Later, I became a Team Leader and deployed to Chad. We were based out of the U.S. Embassy in N’Djamena and traveled throughout Chad with our Chadian military partners. I am currently serving in the Texas National Guard.
Q: Where will you be working after graduation?
A: JPMorgan Chase, Merchant Services Associate
Q: Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?
A: I am most proud of being Orientation Co-chair. Orientation is a rite of passage for many MBA candidates, and I believe it really sets the tone going into classes. Therefore, making this weeklong period informative, yet enjoyable, is crucial to incoming students. The three second-year co-chairs who led my orientation were awesome leaders and coaches throughout not only orientation, but also the rest of the year. I wanted to pay it forward and worked hard throughout the summer with my counterparts and administrators to make sure we welcomed the new class to the best of our ability. I cannot say we were perfect, but I do believe that overall it did give the new class a positive impression of SMU Cox, while still leaving time for some fun!
Q: What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
A: Although I am incredibly proud of the time I spent overseas, my most proud moment was a time that I had all odds stacked against me and still managed to persevere.
Timing and a little luck are uncontrollable factors in many professions, but particularly in the military. Unfortunately, my timing was not perfect when I transitioned into Civil Affairs. Frustrating as it was, I found myself with a little downtime and decided to make the best of it by enrolling into Jumpmaster School, where Airborne Soldiers learn how to inspect equipment, plan, and execute safe airborne operations. I believed it would be a time of personal growth for me, seeing that airborne operations were my least favorite aspect of the job. I did not have a reserved spot, and the window for a school was narrow. I managed to network my way into a slot, and so the three-week training began.
To my surprise, it was much more physically demanding than I had anticipated. We were required to “turn circles” frantically, in order to memorize the Jumpmaster Personal Inspection sequence (JMPI). This sequence is our last hurdle before we get into the air for our final assessment. Students are given five tries to complete the sequence in the allotted time, while taking care to note any equipment deficiencies (they are intentionally included), or they fail. The rate of success on first attempts is abysmal, and therefore extremely discouraging. Through hard work, persistence, and luck, I managed to complete the sequence on my first try. This was a defining moment in my life. I realized that I could overcome unfortunate timing and overwhelming obstacles by staying focused and working hard. I proved to myself that I could be a Jumpmaster, and I graduated at the top of my class or as the Army calls it, Honor Graduate.
In spit of a little bad luck and bad timing, I became the only officer in my company who was a Jumpmaster. My tenacity was evident to all, and as the only female in the company, my strength was apparent, too. I came out of that course confident to take on any challenges my team faced in Africa.
Q: Why did you choose this business school?
A: My husband and I were ready to be back home in Texas, so my search was somewhat narrow. The small class size at Cox piqued my interest. When I came for my interview, I felt comfortable and everyone was so welcoming. Ultimately, it was the people that made my decision easy. Not to mention, Dallas is an incredible city with abundant opportunities.
Q: What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program?
A: The modules move quickly! It is important to have an idea of what you want to focus on, but school is also the time to explore. So, stay open-minded, don’t stress about your concentration too much early on, and get out of your comfort zone.
Q: Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college?
A: This is a fun question because I want to say that my dad, a small, family business owner, is the person who influenced me most. Oddly, in many ways watching him work so many hours with so much risk and uncertainty “just to make money” is part of why I did not want to go into corporate America. However, what I witnessed first-hand during military deployments is how much stability and security are dependent on people having the opportunity to provide for their families. I learned that business and economics are inherent components of what make the world go around. After an opportunity to attend a weeklong course at Mendoza School of Business as part of my military training, I knew there was so much about business that I was completely ignorant of.
I realized that the purpose of business might be all about making money for some people, but for many people, it is about protecting and providing for the people they love. And, my dad did that to the utmost. He has been the biggest supporter of me going back to school. We chat about some of the challenges he has at work and I get to share some of what I am learning in class. After some growing up and gaining perspective, I recognize what an exceptional role model my dad is for me.