United States Army
Prior to beginning as a MBA candidate, Chris was a Cavalry Scout platoon leader responsible for the training and readiness of 25 Cavalry Troopers whom he eventually led on nearly 200 patrols in Northwest Baghdad. During his time as an Army officer, Chris also worked as a Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platoon Leader and as the Chief Logistics Officer for this Cavalry Squadron. Ready for a change, he’s looking to use his MBA experience to pivot into the tech industry.
What made you decide to pursue an MBA?
My supervisor at KIPP (the charter school network where I was employed prior to Boston College) possessed a lot of the qualities that I wanted to develop: He was a keen organizational strategist with excellent financial skills who was able to make sound quantitative analysis and comparisons. He was an MBA and urged me to take the opportunity to earn the degree myself.
How was the application process for you?
While it took a significant amount of effort and attention, the application process went fairly smooth for me. For quite a while, I was having trouble deciding on whether the timing of my choice to go back to school was right and whether I was going to stay in my job and pursue the degree on a part-time basis or become a full-time student. Once I composed the application—taking the GMAT was the most difficult aspect for me—the rest of the steps fell into place nicely. I had a very good dialogue during my on-campus interview and had also taken time to visit some classes throughout the application process.
Do you feel that your military background prepared you for the MBA track?
In certain ways, yes. I feel ahead of my peers in having what it takes to give strong presentations in front of large audiences or in high-pressure situations. I also think that when conducting group work, I’m well versed at keeping my peers on a path to accomplish our objectives effectively and efficiently. I think that the military has enabled me to quickly adapt to situations, to understand what is needed, and to drive results—and that can be very effective in the classroom setting.
What made you choose Boston College?
I chose BC for a few reasons. First, I engaged with veterans like Beth Marullo who were already in the program and I appreciated what they had to say about their experience and the quality of the program. Second, I appreciated the smaller class size and thought I'd like the "sense of community" that everyone at BC talks about. Third, I was drawn to the fact that BC was a Jesuit institution. Fourth, I appreciated some of the unique "extracurricular" opportunities the program offers such as the Diane Weiss Consulting Project and the Graduate Tech Trek West.
What’s your advice for other veterans or active-duty members considering an MBA?
I suggest visiting the schools you’re targeting, attend classes, and talk with current students. Understand that a move into a MBA program means that you’ll end up shedding or adapting some of the ways you operated in the military to fit a totally new environment and way of being. Also, it’s important to realize that while people respect what you’ve done in your past, you’re only as good as you perform in the present. And lastly, while the work will be different and more challenging than you may have expected, it’s important to bear in mind that the payoff in terms of your personal development and future career prospects is immense.