“I knew that to be where I wanted to be, I needed to refine my skills in the classroom, and that's where LBS came in”
“From 1997 to 2011 I was part of the US navy, working as a Surface Warfare Officer - a manager at sea on small warships like destroyers and frigates. In that capacity I ran a variety of units ranging from 15 to 100 people, managing operations, navigation, weapons, communications and propulsion engineering systems. During that time I had several other assignments, including becoming a human resources manager and studying for a master's degree in International Relations.
During my final tour, I came to the UK in 2008, arriving as an exchange officer working at the UK’s Permanent Joint Headquarters where I became involved in exercise planning. That was the window for me to have a nine to five office job, whereby I could explore my career opportunities and make the transition into something new.
Through a lot of networking and building connections, I developed the idea that financial services - specifically the sales and the trading side - was where I wanted to be. I had studied engineering during my time in the military, meaning I had strong numerical and science skills; however, I didn't have specific macroeconomics and technical finance skills. I knew that to be where I wanted to be, I needed to refine these skills in the classroom, and that's where LBS came in.”
“The technical skills that I gained were great, but it was also the spirit of the school’s willingness to support my objectives that had a lasting effect on me”
“I knew I needed to develop my technical skills, so finance-heavy electives were a huge part of my attraction towards the Executive MBA programme. It really did give me the hard skills that I didn't have, and that I wouldn't have been exposed to otherwise.
Some of the courses that really stood out to me were Suleyman Basak’s financial fixed income securities and financial engineering. I had a totally different background to most of the people in my class, and it was challenging for me, but Professor Basak was there to give me the opportunity. He was enthusiastic about what I was doing and respected it, which really gave me the sense that the school understood and was willing to be there to support me, even if I don't necessarily fit the profile of what would be considered a classic EMBA student. The technical skills that I gained were great, but it was also the spirit of the school’s willingness to support my objectives that had a lasting effect on me.”
“Being a fellow LBS graduate, the alumni database was a tool that enabled me to have common ground with various individuals when attempting to find my way into the industry”
“The LBS network has been fantastic to me. I remain to this day very close to my classmates from the markets side, be it asset management, sales or trading. Many have remained the closest friends that I have and are now an integral part of my network.
I also had the opportunity to complete a thesis with a classmate for our final project. He worked at Credit Suisse and was able to get us a project there that they partially funded research travel for. This gave me a foot in the door to do a mini-internship whilst looking for other opportunities. It provided me with something at the top of my CV that showcased what I was doing and what I was interested in the world of finance, as opposed to trying to make the transition with just a Navy story to tell.
The LBS alumni database was another great tool that enabled me to have common ground with various individuals when attempting to find my way into the industry. It definitely allowed me to follow more leads and have a natural introduction - people were always responsive when I’d make contact, and it was fantastic to be given the time of day.”
“For someone with my experience, you don't have the context until you get into the world of business and into the mindset of business people”
“One of the most helpful things I’ve taken away from my LBS experience was shifting the mechanisms of leadership. The military has a very specific set of leadership styles and frameworks – it’s much more intense, with a very high degree of expectation and pressure, meaning we foster a degree of loyalty and high performing teams in a different way.
For someone with my experience, you don't have the context until you get into the world of business and into the mindset of business people that you actually cannot apply every leadership tool or strategy that you've used in the military into a private sector environment.”
“I'm very proud to call myself a mentor and to contribute my personal time to continuing to try and help veterans find their way in the business world, and LBS is the platform that really helps take this to the next level”
“I continue to be a very active mentor for transitioning military people who are embarking on programmes at LBS, and in general any military person who's trying to find their way from the uniform to the private sector.
Specifically, I'm an established mentor with the Military in Business (MiB) club. I run annual events where I bring in the newest class of MBAs and talk about my career journey and transition, sharing my strategy to help individuals think about their own unique journey in finding what they want to do and how to achieve it.
One of the biggest challenges for military folks is that they don't really know what the universe of work looks like, and what the opportunities are. There's a lot of basics that sometimes they need a lot of coaching on. I'm very proud to call myself a mentor and to contribute my personal time to continuing to try and help veterans find their way in the business world, and LBS is the platform that really helps take this to the next level.”