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A life dedicated to service

November 09, 2018

Ohio State MBA student, U.S. Army veteran, to help underserved communities

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Matt Rosebaugh

Ohio State student Matt Rosebaugh is using his Tillman Scholarship to help communities in need reach their potential.

Matt Rosebaugh devoted his life to his country for 15 years. Now he wants to help the underserved reach their potential.

In 2017, Rosebaugh — who served 11 years of active duty in both conventional and Army Special Operations Aviation units — chose Fisher College of Business to develop the skills he’ll need to create a nonprofit organization to help aspiring entrepreneurs in underserved communities start small businesses.

This past summer, Rosebaugh, an assistant professor of military science at Ohio State, was selected as a 2018 Tillman Scholar by the Pat Tillman Foundation.

With the Tillman community at his disposal, the entrepreneurial skills he’s gaining and a wealth of leadership experience already under his belt, Rosebaugh is mobilized to make a big impact in many lives.  

When you were looking to transition out of the Army, why did you choose Fisher?

When I saw Fisher’s website, it was like being hit by lightning. They have a lot of organizations built on service — that’s a recurring theme in my life.

Also, Fisher loves the veteran community. I talked to a lot of schools, but it was evident Fisher cared and wanted me to be part of the team. The other thing was Fisher’s focus on leadership and organizational behavior. I wanted to ground my education in leadership and values.

Matt Rosebaugh next to helicopterMatt Rosebaugh served 11 years of active duty in both conventional and Army Special Operations Aviation units.

Why do you want to help those in underserved communities start small businesses?

I joined the Army shortly after 9/11 and it saved my life, gave me a purpose. Not everyone can join the Army, or should, so I want to take what I’ve been given and give others opportunities.

My wife and I spend a lot of time looking at different communities in Columbus, and we think we can make an impact.

How do you plan to do that?

I’ve talked to a lot of organizations in Columbus that pull someone out of an underserved community and give them training and support to overcome their circumstances. But there’s a point where they’re kind of released and told, "OK, you’ve got the skills, go get a job or start a career."

If you can take someone who has an entrepreneurial spirit and say, "Would you like to go into a small business incubator and have the freedom to start a restaurant, try a product out, or start a painting company?" They may not have the knowledge to do that step by step, but you move them toward self-sufficiency. They go back to their community, hire people and grow the company.

Is there a specific Fisher program that’s helped you?

The Global Applied Projects program is a consulting project you do for an international company, helping them solve a problem. We went to Malaysia, Thailand, China and California for the consulting project, so that was hands-on learning.

It proved that while I may not have a lot of business experience, I can help people solve problems and work through things.

Has anyone at Fisher had a profound impact on you?

I didn’t know what coaching was until I took John Schaffner’s Introduction to and Advanced Organizational Business Coaching classes in the organizational behavior track. It changed the way I thought about everything. He’s been very influential in guiding that path. Taking those courses is validation alone of why I came to Fisher.