2015 Tillman Scholar

Brian Smith

Harvard University

“I plan to combine my experiences in the military with my business education to help solve some of the toughest problems in American healthcare.”

Brian’s father’s naval service and the events of September 11th were deeply instrumental in his own decision to serve. It was, however, the mounting toll taken by improvised explosive devices on US troops and local civilians that drove Brian’s decision to pursue a commission as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer.

Leading teams of bomb technicians through deployments to Afghanistan and the Middle East taught Brian the immense impact that close-knit and empowered teams can have. Losing friends and witnessing the destruction of combat motivated him to commit the skills that he learned overseas to the continued service of others.

In 2017, Brian graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School. Inspired by the physical and mental healthcare that he and his teammates received, and by the reduction in stigma around mental health in the Special Operations community that he bore witness to, Brian wants to lead teams that will make healthcare more effective, more accessible, and more affordable.