"Take calculated risks, push set boundaries and instill a healthy fear of complacency for continuous self-improvement."


Atypical Engineer. Carpenter. Calculated Risk-taker.

16 cities in 18 years. “We’re moving” was an all too familiar phrase around the Mackey household growing up. This formulated my outlook both on taking calculated risks and on the importance of cultivating new relationships.

I work in the engineering/construction industry as an assistant project manager at Burns and McDonnell. Prior to Burns and McDonnell, I worked for Bechtel Corporation, a large engineering procurement construction firm.

What drew me to the path of engineering was the challenge that it presented in problem solving as well as the discipline of mechanical, which granted the ability to pursue a wide range of career paths.

I do not consider myself the stereotypical engineer. Although I decided in undergrad to major in mechanical engineering, I have always been self-aware to the fact that my personal mantra is in line with business and leadership. Working toward a higher degree of learning has always been an important aspect in my life; it is one of the major factors that ground me.

I enjoy traveling, carpentry, snowboarding and hiking. I take every opportunity I can to travel and spend time with family.


What initially drew my attention to the Tepper School was its reputation of being intertwined to its renowned engineering program. There were certain aspects of the culture at the Tepper School which were not surprising for me to find out were indeed reality.

However, there was one facet of the culture at the Tepper School that I experienced first-hand, and that is its awareness of its strengths and weaknesses. I was very impressed by the presentation that the dean gave on our first Access Weekend on what the school was good at but also what it was not good at. The transparency and un-sugarcoated truth was refreshing. Personally, I strive for continuous improvement, and it was a pleasant surprise to find that the culture at the Tepper School was the same.

My biggest concerns about doing an online program were that I would not be able to connect with my colleagues in an impactful way. There are simply added benefits of being able to meet with someone or a group in person. What I liked about the Tepper School program is that it is aware of this issue and does not brush it under the rug.

At our first Access Weekend, we completed various exercises, in person, that brought forward the barriers that we would face through an online program. This gave us all the opportunity to confront these barriers and set a plan in place to remove them. The hybrid factor grants us the ability to stay on the right track and fine tune any discrepancies that we may be facing.

Although I am lucky enough to have enjoyed all the classes and professors that I have had thus far, Optimization with professor van Hoeve stands out as my favorite. This is due to van Hoeve’s ability to explain new and complex material in a way that I could understand. I like efficiency, and I like things to work in the best possible way that they can. With optimization, I can not only find a better way to do things, I can be certain that I found the best and most efficient way.


Be mindful of the drawbacks of being the MBA candidate who has it all figured out. You could be letting your own preconceived notions hold you back from tremendous opportunities simply because they currently reside outside your perceived realm of possibilities. Take calculated risks, push set boundaries and instill a healthy fear of complacency for continuous self-improvement.