Location: Washington, D.C.
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Family-loving, world-traveling, nation-serving, lifelong-learning husband and veteran who wants to help better the world.
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Fun Fact About Yourself: I currently manage the finances for an Air Force acquisition project that spends more money in one year than Walmart reported in revenue over the past three years.
Undergraduate School and Major: Wayland Baptist University, Financial Management
Current Employer and Job Title: United States Air Force Civil Service, Financial Program Manager
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2013, I deployed to Afghanistan and was assigned to an organization responsible for all funding actions in the region. The United States was in the midst of a major drawdown of forces that summer and I was forward deployed to Camp Leatherneck to assist the Marine Corps Installation Commander with the complete reconciliation of their financial resources and contractual obligations. Normally, this type of position is reserved for a senior Air Force officer. However, due to the drawdown, I was assigned to fill the role as an Air Force enlisted Staff Sergeant. As the lone financial manager on the base that summer, I successfully reconciled Army, Navy and Marine Corps equipment, contracts and operational funding valued just over $1.2 billion as the U.S. Expeditionary Forces repositioned for withdrawal. That experience gave me the confidence that I could perform well above my traditional roles and inspired me to strive for greater success in my career.
Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of the MBA programming that led you to choose this business school – and why was it so important to you? Stern is universally recognized as the premier business school for finance and fintech. The world of business is being rapidly disrupted by technological innovation. I wanted to be immersed in a curriculum that focused on that type of dynamic change and provided the hands-on experience to understand it and lead from the front.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Although I greatly enjoyed my time in the military, I knew the time had come for me to move forward with other career options I was passionate about. I knew that business school would provide the opportunity to transition the military and leadership experience I gained through the Air Force into the private sector.
What has been your biggest difficulty in incorporating MBA studies into your professional and personal responsibilities? The biggest challenge has been balancing MBA studies with family commitments. So far, I’ve been able to incorporate a schedule that allows me to accomplish homework and projects in the mornings before work and reserve the evenings for family time so hopefully that continues.
What do you enjoy most about business school so far? Definitely my classmates. The level of knowledge, experience, and capability of my classmates is unparalleled to anything I’ve experienced before. Having the amazing opportunity to learn business concepts sitting next to doctors, scientists, congressional staffers, consultants, investment bankers, activists, and entrepreneurs has greatly opened my eyes to the immense possibilities before us. The learning environment at Stern is second to none.
What percentage of your program cost is being paid by your employer? As a veteran, my post-9/11 GI Bill benefits cover just over two-thirds of the total cost of attendance, making my investment in Stern an easy decision.
What is the top item on your career bucket list? The top item on my career bucket list is to serve in elected office so that I can ensure that others have the same opportunities that I’ve been blessed with.