Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Ben Grier

Ben Grier, MBA Student Ambassador

Ben Grier

May 28, 2012

Ben Grier MBA '12

Undergrad: Samford

Majors: Business Management and Accounting
Hometown: Rainbow City, AL

What is your favorite place in Monterey?

The natural beauty of this part of California is stunning, but I especially love the beaches. Monterey's come with or without seaweed and with or without dunes, but one is never far away and none are ever really crowded. When I first visited I had dreams of what it might be like to live here, and looking back it hasn't disappointed at all. I've done some of my best thinking looking out over the water with a coffee in my hand.

What internships or jobs have you had while attending MIIS?

I've had some interesting opportunities over the last little while. Last summer I learned a lot working on a student-led consulting project at the GLOBE Center here at MIIS (and then spent the second half of the break studying at the Universidad de Guadalajara). This semester I'm working on a directed study about academic and professional integrity and helping design a Latino Entrepreneurship program that'll hopefully be implemented soon. And, thanks to some creative scheduling, I'm spending several weeks this semester implementing new payroll systems aboard cruise ships.

What are your career aspirations?

As long as we all agree my dreams are subject to change, I'll say I'd love to be part of the process of taking a company or product to new markets. I want to hear, "Ben, we think there's a market in Malaysia for yoyos made of precious metals. Go make it happen." I look forward to a good challenge, especially when it involves living someplace interesting.

Do you have a personal Mantra or quote that you live by?

If, as Ben Casnocha writes in My Start-up Life, "Being smart is not enough. Smart is like vanilla ice cream," I say perspective, relationships, action, and an element of randomness make up the rest. The trick is deciding which of these, and to what extent and for how long, drive the others.

Fun fact about you:

I once went two weeks in rural Mexico without putting on shoes or a shirt. It had little to no noticeable effect on the speed at which I learned Spanish.

If you were a food, you would be:

 I'd want to be a Jackfruit. I'm not saying we share any traits — I'm just amazed every time I see (and taste) one of these things.

What has been the highlight of your MIIS experience thus far?

People. We're a tight-knit, diverse group at MIIS, and I've found there's both something to be learned from everyone and something any two or more of us can enjoy together. It can be surreal at times: five westerners having a conversation in fluent Arabic in your living room is pretty cool. This semester I shared some good times when I attended a naming party for a student from South Korea who decided having an English name might help at interviews. ("Austin" won in a run-off.) My favorite, though, would probably be hosting a largish Thanksgiving get-together last year with friends from all over.

And one last thing:

 Wild Bactrian camels. Have a look.