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Georgetown University, The McDonough School of Business Q&A

Former Georgetown MBA Davy Young co-founded a cloud-based mobile company and helped launch the infamous Kony 2012 campaign. But he isn’t stopping there!

By  Seb Murray

Thu Jul 18 2013

The international security graduate from Kings College London enjoyed a successful career at Invisible Children, the social, political and global movement famed for its Kony 2012 campaign – the most widely viewed documentary in the world. But after founding his own technology company, he decided to study a full-time MBA at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business.

A year on from graduating and Davy is enjoying a position at Canopy Consulting, the global strategy consulting firm focused on cloud computing. With a keen interest in technology, Davy thinks MBAs with skills in cloud-based computing will be better placed in the business world and hopes to use his MBA experiences to help businesses succeed in a global society.

You have a very diverse academic background - have you always been interested in business?

Business, especially within an international context, has always been a deep interest. “You can only build your pyramid of life as high as the base is wide,” my father always told me. I have certainly embraced that philosophy; attempting to gain exposure throughout my twenties in the hope it would facilitate an impactful contribution later in life. But I think it’s more than that. I hope that as I move on professionally, I can apply my experience to provide impactful, strategic insights to businesses and public organizations striving to succeed in this challenging global society.

Tell us a little bit about your academic choices and how they have informed your career path.

I obtained my BA in Government from The College of William and Mary, my MA in Intelligence and International Security from King’s College, University of London, and my MBA from the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University. I hope that my education has provided a springboard upon which to strive towards professional aspirations - at least that is my plan. Businesses increasingly need to operate in a global context, whether that is the sourcing of raw materials through to the development of international sales channels, and simply having an understanding of business is not enough. Understanding the global complexities of society is necessary for impactful, successful strategic decisions.

What first attracted you to the Georgetown MBA program?

I have always been passionate about international business and there are few better graduate schools than Georgetown from which to build such an understanding: McDonough School of Business is an international school, with an international student body, placed within an international city.

What was the highlight of your MBA?

Friends, faculty and a certain female.

After studying at Kings College in London - what drove you to moving to the US?

Raised in Oxford to US parents, America has always been a significant part of my life. Funnily enough, despite having an English accent, my heritage is American. Having done my BA in the US, crossing the Atlantic was not as daunting as it may have been for others. So when I finished my MA in London I explored opportunities in both Europe and the US. I joined Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington DC as a Senior Consultant within the Modelling, Simulation, War-Gaming and Analysis Department, in a role that could expand my growing interest in international relations and analysis.

Were you involved in Kony 2012 and why do you think Jason Russell suffered a ‘mental breakdown'?

I worked for Invisible Children from 2008 to 2010 as the European Director and International Strategy Advisor. I would certainly like to think that my contribution played a small role in building Invisible Children’s innovative platform from which the movie came and have since stayed close to the organization and its founders, all of whom are good friends. The organization is truly incredible. They have a dream and have inspired nations to stand up and take action for a cause. In my mind, that’s impressive!

Jason is brilliant - the popularity of Kony 2012 placed huge pressure on him, not to mention some of the terrible commentary, and he was simply pushed beyond his physical, mental and emotional limits. It’s easy to cast judgement, but no one else but Jason knows how truly difficult that time post-Kony 2012 was. He is so passionate about Invisible Children that he put his heart and soul into its vision, and perhaps those consequences were the result. Jason is beyond brilliant. He is a terrific friend, a loving husband, and a caring father. If you don’t know about Invisible Children, please take a moment and check it out @ www.invisiblechildren.com.

What inspired you to co-found Tantrum Street LLC and are you still involved?

An intriguing business model within a fast-paced industry, what’s not to love? Tantrum Street is a cloud-based mobile transaction company that I moved to Texas in 2012 to help build right after business school. I obviously evaluated my opportunities at the time and decided that “big corporate” wasn’t quite providing the elements I sought at the time. To help create my own company that could have wide spread impact was enticing, and I decided to take the risk. I am now back in Europe and no longer involved, but the lessons and knowledge I’ve learnt from that experience are invaluable and place me in a more informed position today.

You're currently working for another cloud-computing company - is technology now your passion?

I’m not sure if technology per se is my passion today but it’s an exciting area to be involved in. As far as “cloud” goes, cloud-computing impacts all aspects of a business, and that is what I’m enjoying. If embraced holistically and strategically, cloud-computing can have deep reaching impact throughout an organization and as a strategy consultant focused on this area, it’s exciting working with executives to better use such capabilities.

How can MBAs benefit from using cloud-based technology?

It is a certainty that cloud-computing will impact all areas of a business. Regardless of the industry or function MBAs choose, cloud capabilities will increasingly be imbedded throughout organizations. Businesses and governments are turning to cloud to help achieve objectives, streamline operations and communication, and achieve cost-saving and revenue generating endeavours. Those MBAs that have an understanding of cloud-computing will undoubtedly be better placed to facilitate the aspirations of an organization.