All roads seem to lead Jamie Hintlian back to Cornell

Jamie Hintlian on the Pew Engineering Quad

Even though Jamie Hintlian ’82, M.Eng. ’85, MBA ’86, grew up in Boston and has lived there most of his life, all roads seem to lead him back to Cornell.

Hintlian heard stories of Cornell from his father, who graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 1946. After his junior year of high school, Hintlian took summer college classes in English and Calculus at Cornell and loved everything about the experience. The following year he was accepted into Cornell Engineering and discovered the field of Operations Research.

“Originally, I was thinking I might major in mechanical engineering, but then I saw how OR involved applying math, which had a lot of appeal. And I learned about modeling and simulations and game theory from Professor David Heath and it all resonated with me deeply,” Hintlian said. He declared his major and never looked back.

His first job after graduating in 1982 was with the firm then known as Arthur Anderson. Hintlian spent two years as a consultant before returning to Ithaca to earn his M.Eng. and MBA degrees. His two years with Anderson were enough to convince the ORIE M.Eng. program that instead of tackling an M.Eng. project, Hintlian and his classmates would be better served if he acted as a TA for one of the project groups. Hintlian says he was surprised and humbled by the opportunity.

“To be asked to help teach these students who I thought of as my peers felt like a real honor and I took the responsibility very seriously,” Hintlian said. The experience went well and gave Hintlian his first taste of teaching—a taste that helped bring him to back to Ithaca yet again many years later.

With his M.Eng. and MBA degrees in hand, Hintlian began a professional career that has thus far led him to senior positions at Accenture, Aspen Technology, EY, and the Leavitt Corporation. He has been a Senior Partner, a Vice President, a Partner, and a Chief Operations Officer, in each case bringing an ever-deeper knowledge of how to manage supply chains in complex business environments.

In his current position with the Leavitt Corporation, Hintlian is part of the third generation of Hintlians to manage the family business, which was started by his grandfather Michael Hintlian in 1925 and produces Teddie brand peanut butter and other nut products. The company is well known in New England for the scope of its community involvement and philanthropic activities.

While the family business is located just north of Boston in Everett, MA, Hintlian still finds himself driving back to Cornell many times a year. He served as President of the Cornell Engineering Alumni Association for seven years and is currently the Chair of the Cornell Committee for Alumni Trustee Nominations. For the past nine years he has been taking an increasingly expanding role teaching about supply chains and operations in Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. (Unsurprisingly, Hintlian found time for the interview that led to this profile while he was driving on one of his many trips to and from Ithaca.)

Hintlian co-leads the Strategic Operations Immersion program, which supplements in-class instruction with guest lectures from senior operations executives and site visits to meet with operations practitioners and their management teams. “This is a unique experiential learning approach for graduate students pursuing careers in supply chain and operations, consulting, or looking for grounding in operations management to round out their MBA,” Hintlian said. “They are a treat to teach.”

He has also developed a new course, "Applied Operations Strategy," which is topic-oriented and largely case-based and explores how operations strategies are developed and executed and what makes those strategies successful or not.

It is clear in listening to Hintlian discuss his role as a Visiting Lecturer that he is fully committed to sharing what he has learned from his many years in industry. “I’m not looking at this as just a thing to do on the side,” Hintlian said. “I want to have an impact on these students and their careers the same way so many of my ORIE professors did when I was a student here.” Hintlian went on to list David Heath, Jack Muckstadt, Bill Maxwell, Les Trotter, Bruce Turnbull, Lee Schruben, and Peter Jackson in quick succession as teachers and mentors who left their mark.

Hintlian has also stayed connected to ORIE, serving on the school’s official advisory council and participating in panel discussions with current students.

When asked why he is so connected and committed to Cornell, Hintlian says it is an easy question to answer. “I love Cornell and everything it is about; I owe so much of what I have--and have accomplished in life--to Cornell. I received a great education in ORIE and at the Johnson School. I met my wife there. Our children went to Cornell. I’m glad to be able to give back to Cornell in whatever ways I can, so I will keep coming back. All my roads take me back to Cornell.”

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