Joseph Polakovic

Part-time Professional MBA ’17

HometownHighlands Ranch, CO

Current Job Title: President at Castle West Financial

Hobbies: Real estate investing, fantasy football, golf, rugby and Dad/family stuff (married with three kids).

Check out my LinkedIn Profile

What surprised you the most about business school?

My biggest surprise was how much I enjoyed the learning. I was very blessed to have a wonderful cohort, which made Monday and Wednesdays from 6 – 10 p.m. a joy instead of a chore, but I was also pleasantly surprised how much I was able to take from each class. I thought the professors did a great job engaging and relating the material.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

Do not be shy advertising to everyone why you are there. If it’s for more money, a better title, a different opportunity, etc., make sure you voice that. It doesn’t matter the reason; everyone there is interested in helping you achieve that. You may not be entirely sure why you’re there, but at least run with the reason you think you came for until you intersect with your real calling.

What was your favorite thing about living in Denver?

The Denver area has been a long time home to me, though I am currently living in San Diego. However, my favorite thing about living there was the active lifestyle everyone seemed tied into in some way. I am in Denver for work at least once a month and typically find time to play golf (even when it’s too cold for others) and get together with friends for an Avalanche or Rockies game.

What were you looking for in a business school?

I have always had a desire to start my own company. I ultimately wanted a MBA to study and ideate upon each major business function in order to realize what I don’t know in order to better prepare myself for those future obstacles.

Why did you choose Daniels for your graduate degree?

I knew I wanted to enroll in an MBA program that would allow me to continue working but also help develop me as a professional and as an entrepreneur. After speaking with Kari Graham during my initial interview, I was very impressed with the program design, the infinite opportunities and the distinct community feel.

Is there a particular class at Daniels that really stands out?

I’m sure I could come up with a memorable experience from each class, but I remember loving my Entrepreneurship class with Professor Chaun Powell. I thought he used every minute of class time to cram in something of value, and I remember staying late many nights in order to extract as much insight as he’d be willing to lend. That whole class was a phenomenal experience.

How have you evolved as a leader during your time at Daniels?

I think being a leader means a perpetual vow to growth in some aspect. Daniels certainly provides an abundance of those opportunities, as well as a stage to uncover strengths as weaknesses. Both can be improved uponIt’s what you’re blind to that often holds you back, so the process of uncovering things about yourself has transitioned to enlightening instead of frightening. I think Daniels has played a huge part in that.

How did you manage work-life balance while taking classes?

Certainly not with ease, but everyone around you is going through the same struggle, which makes you all closer. Experiences like that have always helped me to appreciate life a little more and has given me great perspective on what’s important. Quickly you realize that the things you aren’t finding as much time for are the things that aren’t energizing or developing you. At the same time, when you are making time for something it’s clearly important to you and it’s much easier to be fully present while there.