Jeb Butler, ’03
Special Projects Lead, Doctoral Programs at Harvard Business School
What have you been up to since you were a student at Marymount?
Upon graduation from Marymount, I earned my M.A. in English Literature from Boston College and was a Lecturer in the English Departments at both Boston College and Wheelock College. In 2007, I relocated to New York and transitioned into admissions at New York University. At NYU, I served as an Admissions Officer, Assistant Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, and Associate Director of Admissions before accepting my position at Columbia Law School in 2011. [Jeb worked as the Director of Admissions at Columbia Law School, and is now working as the Special Projects Lead for Doctoral Programs at Harvard Business School.]
What are you working on now and what are you most proud of?
Because I am in my fifth admissions cycle at Columbia and have mastered the technical/operational aspects of my position, I am now able to focus more on admissions and enrollment strategy with the Dean of Admissions, with whom I work in tandem. In terms of macro-level achievements, I’m particularly proud of the holistic admissions process that we use to compose an incoming class. I think there exists a misconception that law school admission is based solely on a GPA/LSAT matrix, but that type of admissions model generally yields a homogeneous class – the exact opposite of what we hope to achieve each year. It is deeply satisfying to feel so connected to the members of an incoming class even before they matriculate.
How did your experience at Marymount impact these things?
At the risk of sounding cliché, the English Department at Marymount very much prepared me for any professional endeavor insofar as I was pushed to hone my writing, analytical, and critical thinking skills as a student. I felt completely prepared for graduate study and eased rather seamlessly into my career. The ability to communicate effectively, think strategically, and question constantly allows me to build a class each year that is not only inclusive and dynamic but also will be active agents of change in the legal field.
What are your future career, service, or other goals?
Since I haven’t technically left school since kindergarten, I foresee staying in higher education for the remainder of my career. In the next few years I plan to earn my doctorate in Educational Leadership or Educational Sociology and ultimately secure a position that requires both academic and administrative responsibilities. Ideally, I would like to investigate and implement best practices while focusing on the intersection of student race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and LGBTQIA status.
What advice would you give to prospective students considering a career in your field?
Seek out and enjoy the academic value of your everyday work. While I no longer unpack dense literary theory or examine allusions in Jacobean drama on a regular basis, I very much enjoy the intellectual challenges intrinsic to being a university administrator. Being an English major requires a student to cultivate a skill set that in many ways is quite practical and lays a foundation for success in most professional sectors. Continuing to refine the set of tools that I took away from my Marymount experience while still remembering that anything can be considered an academic enterprise remains pivotal to my growth – and perhaps more important – my contentment with my chosen field.