Disclaimer: reading this profile may leave you feeling vicariously exhausted. Full-time UST MBA student Brett Wong is a man of high energy and accomplishment. He spent his formative years in Boulder, Colorado, where he was born to a Chinese father and Jewish mother, giving him a unique perspective on what it is to accept and understand people of all cultures.
Brett ventured to the east coast for his undergraduate studies at Tufts University where he double majored in chemical engineering and biotechnology. In his copious spare time, he played on the soccer team and was a member of a student run dance company, dancing, choreographing, and holding a position on the executive board. These activities kept Brett quite busy, but he enjoyed the challenge of balancing his varied interests.
Just out of college, Brett returned to Colorado to pursue his interests in entrepreneurship and renewable energy. He worked for Renewable Agricultural Energy, a new start-up company, where he was responsible for the design and engineering of the ethanol production plants. Unfortunately, the ethanol market was quickly losing ground, and after a year and a half, Brett sought new work with a larger, public company.
This pursuit took Brett to central Illinois, to Aventine Renewable Energy. There he became a project and process engineer and traveled across the Midwest, managing projects and optimizing processes at multiple plant facilities. The industry of ethanol production, however, continued to decline, and after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Brett moved to the Twin Cities to join his fiancé and start his MBA at the University of St. Thomas.
It seems I neglected to mention that during the last four years, since Brett graduated from Tufts, he has served on the board of a non-profit dance company which he founded in 2006. With 25 members and national television exposure, his company has been able to increasingly give back to the Boston area through free classes and performances.
So why did a dancer, soccer player, engineer, renewable energy entrepreneur decide to pursue an MBA at St. Thomas? Brett said he was drawn to the program’s unique focus on ethics and core values. He had several poignant experiences while working for a company under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which taught him the value of ethical business practices, and he knew St. Thomas would provide him the right kind of business education.
Brett will graduate in the spring of 2012, and he aims to pair his technical background with his newly acquired business savvy to enter the world of venture capital, focusing on renewable/clean energy. Based on the level of talent and dedication Brett has shown so far, there is no doubt he’ll make a tremendous impact in this new field. We just hope the field can keep up with him.