When Steve Neumann (B’13, MBA’19) left the Hilltop he had 41 goals, 34 assists, and a bachelor’s degree in marketing under his belt. He would spend the next three seasons with the New England Revolution as the fourth pick in the 2014 Major League Soccer (MLS) draft.
“It was my goal my entire life to play professional soccer,” said Neumann. “Though the longer I stayed in professional soccer, the more narrow my career path became once I was done playing. I was in my mid-20s and still had the opportunity to go back and get a graduate degree in business and pursue a career outside of soccer, and that felt right.”
During his time in the MLS, Neumann became involved in the Player’s Association, and that experience piqued his interest in the business world. Subsequently, as he was deciding whether to return for a fourth season, a friend introduced him to the world of consulting.
“At the time I knew very little about the consulting industry,” said Neumann. “It was fascinating though to be able to step into a job where you get a breadth of experience across different business concepts. They tend to recruit people from non-traditional backgrounds — which I had.”
Neumann knew that in order to get his foot in the door, he needed a secondary degree. When deciding where to go, the full-time MBA program at his alma mater returned to mind.
“I knew I needed to reground myself in the fundamentals that I had previously learned at Georgetown,” said Neumann. “I thought Georgetown was the perfect place to return to, to relearn those concepts and set myself up really well for this career path.”
Neumann returned to the Hilltop in a slightly different way this time. For the first time in his academic career, he would not be balancing an athletic obligation.
“In a lot of ways, I had a lot more time to dedicate to assignments and explore things academically outside of the core curriculum,” said Neumann. “I think finance for example was a concept I was a little intimidated by, so with my elective courses I was able to take all of the finance courses that I could fill up my schedule with, put myself outside of my comfort zone, and learn a lot in the process.”
Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is a concept that Neumann has faced throughout his life. Whether that was moving to the caliber of college athletics, professional play, or starting his career as a consultant at BCG.
“Early in your career you have a long runway of time, and the way you can use that to your benefit is to take risks and learn concepts that scare you a little bit or ones that you’re unfamiliar with,” said Neumann. “I think Georgetown and the MBA program is the perfect ecosystem to do that, because the stakes are a little bit lower than when you enter a career. Getting outside of your comfort zone and learning new things is what I recommend early on in your career because you develop a structured way of thinking that you can apply across different topics. That’s one thing that enticed me about the consulting industry.”
In addition to being a facilitating ecosystem, Neumann also credits his success at McDonough to the peer mentoring program. He was surprised and grateful to see how much time second-year students dedicated to their mentees. Not only would they help with interview preparation, but they shared their guidance. Neumann wholly acknowledges that he is where he is today because of the mentoring program.
“The majority of my classmates had far more business experience than I did,” said Neumann. “I was accustomed to taking on new challenges throughout my soccer career. This served me well to learn what I needed to at Georgetown McDonough and enter my role at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) with the confidence to make a real impact.”