Aaron Deal, executive chef at Custom House Tavern, juggling.

34 // Associate principal for a management consulting firm *
From: Galveston Island, Texas
Lives in: Old Town
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Ritter was recruited to play soccer at West Point, but he left the sport for a spot on the school’s championship-winning handball team. Then came a 2003 tour of duty as a battle captain in Iraq, where he won a Bronze Star, and one very memorable—and successful—interview with Harvard Business School.

You were still in combat? “I had my interviews on a satellite phone from the desert. I told them that if we got mortared, I would have to hang up, but please don’t take that as a reflection of my feelings for the university.”

You couldn’t have been their typical applicant. “Well, I wasn’t in the corporate world. I was attached to a group of scouts that would do reconnaissance missions. My job was to be their leader.”

On his military training:  “There’s a national training center in California where you go out and play war games for a few weeks. You basically simulate wartime scenarios and stuff like that. You can learn about some elements of what you’ll really face over there. But not all of it. It’s basically something you learn by doing.”

On his handball career: “It’s a sport where they like tall, left-handed players. So at West Point, the coach would basically go out and recruit anyone who was reasonably tall and left-handed.  He would go to pickup basketball games and look for those guys. I had never played before, but I filled the bill.”

On his job as a management consultant: “Anyone who meets me realizes pretty quick that I’m not the super-serious, academic, pocket-protector kind of guy.” —N.I.


* interested in women   * interested in men

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