What degree are you pursuing and why?
I am pursuing one of the most widely recognized degrees on the planet, the coveted MBA. It is a door opener, yet I am pursuing it for more than that reason alone. I have a constant curiosity and an insatiable thirst to learn, improve, and question the status quo. I want to show my children the benefits of continuing education and show them how to make an impact on this world by learning something new every single day and turning that knowledge into action. Last but definitely not least, I wanted to create my own business, create value, and build products and services for the changing world. The MBA allows me to build the foundation based upon information, existing and developing theory, qualitative and quantitative processes to use, what tactics to emphasize, or even what strategy to utilize. Completing my MBA has given me the confidence to take the leap to build something on my own.
Why did you choose the Belk College of Business over others?
National rankings of program, geographic location, and after-hours availability.
What lessons have you learned in your courses that you were able to apply on the job?
My main role is that of a Metals Trader in the Aerospace and Defense sector, primarily focused on Nickel and Cobalt based alloys. This role requires significant focus and the ability to sequentially-monotask (because multi-tasking isn’t real – you literally can’t do two things at once but you can move from task to task expeditiously and perform at a high level), full disclosure I took that from Bill Nye’s book. Long story short, I’ve used feedback from Seminar and the 360 assessment to become more self-aware, I’ve used Organizational Behavior to understand the motivation and drivers behind successful organizations, I’ve used Negotiations class to gain a new perspective and experience with the decision making process, I’ve used Marketing Management to gain new insights into Porter’s Five Forces that drive much of our economy and was able to use those to influence strategy for my existing group. There are many more classes that I’ve not recognized, but they’ve all provided value in some form or fashion.
What activities are you involved in when not working/studying?
Pokémon Hunting with my wife and kids, exercising, and attempting to write my first book.
What has been the best part of your academic experience so far?
For me personally, it’s the diversity of thought and backgrounds that I’ve been able to work with and beside in the halls and classrooms of CCB, along with some amazing faculty members like Dr. Kohut. I am also extremely excited to use the knowledge I’ve gained to jumpstart my entrepreneurial career. There are so many ways to make a positive impact on the world, and the MBA at UNC Charlotte gives me a new toolbox from which to launch those efforts.
How would you describe the Belk College of Business to someone considering a master’s program?
History shows us that the accumulation of knowledge via formal education has a direct impact on lifetime earnings potential, so do you want to learn and better yourself with the goal of improving your career outlook? Or do you want to spend your time elsewhere? We are on the precipice of a technological revolution where there is an abundance of areas to research, discover, and explore → do you want exposure to new thoughts and new ideas or do you want to stay comfortably in the existing bubble where you are now? Believe me, you WILL NOT regret furthering your education.
How valuable do you feel this degree will be to your career?
I view my MBA as another foundational cornerstone to my life, learning invaluable information about how the puzzle pieces of business fit together to create a successful organization. I’ll carry knowledge gained from this program with me for the rest of my life.
What job did you hold in the Marine Corp?
I served as an Infantry Squad Leader during the majority of my time, which opened my eyes to the various crises facing humanity today. Maybe it's ironic that an 18 year old Marine that signed up during a time of war would end up learning by the age of 25 that love breeds love and hate breeds hate. We need more peace, less veterans of war.
How has your experience in the military prepared you for, or impacted, your graduate school program?
For me, it's because the Marine Corps gave me some insight into how a large organization can work towards the same goal, sometimes to address significant issues. So I'd say it gave me structure, taught me a lot about leadership and gave me a foundation on which to build upon.
Are there any benefits of the Belk College graduate programs that you would like to share with other veterans in particular?
Yes, definitely the GMAT waiver, knowing that most veterans are out of a school setting for such a substantial amount of time - the ability to have access to the waiver is important. Other than that, I've observed most veterans fit right into the atmosphere, and even times provide valuable insight gained from first-hand experience.
What advice would you give other military veterans if they are considering an advanced business degree?
Don't think about it just do it. We are the authors of our own stories, you want to learn something, go out and do it. You want to build something, go out and do it. You want to make an impact on this world, go out and do it. This world changes with taking action, not by thinking about it. An MBA is a pretty good way to start realizing that there's a lot out there that you don't know. Learning can actually be fun despite common myths.