Hybrid MBA Celebrates Student Veterans

In honor of Veteran’s Day, the Hybrid MBA Program is recognizing our students who have served or are currently serving. Among the Class of 2019, 8% have military experience and from the Class of 2020, 18% have military experience. For many reasons, the Hybrid MBA program is a great fit for those who are active duty or transitioning out of the military. Over the next week, we’ll feature a few of our students with military experience and they’ll share their background, goals and how they are able to leverage what they learned in the military to be successful in the Hybrid MBA Program.

Matt Childs, former Army Engineer Officer

I am a former Army Engineer Officer with two deployments to Afghanistan. While deployed, I ran a route clearance team which means I looked for and diffused bombs – think the movie “Hurt Locker” and, yes, it was intense at times. I later created the bomb disposal program within the Afghan Army and grew it from 3 to over 1,000 individuals.

Current Role: Business Development at OneAccord

Why did you choose the Hybrid MBA Program? What about it fit your lifestyle?

The HMBA program provided me with a fantastic education in the comfort of my home. Even though I am in the greater Seattle area, the drive time alone to attend classes and group meetings in a traditional MBA program would be close to 10 hours per week. Since I have a wife and two kids, I needed an MBA program that allowed me to maximize the precious moments I have with my family in between work and school.

How does your military experience lend itself to a mostly-online MBA format?

The military helped shape my work ethic and my team skills. These two characteristics are critical for the HMBA program because I need to prioritize my coursework while balancing both my personal and work lives. The military taught me to plan, execute and follow through which are keys to being successful in a self-driven academic setting. Additionally, collaboration is woven into the fabric of both the military and the HMBA program, therefore being intimately familiar with teamwork through the military has set me up for success for the HMBA.

Matt Childs with his team at the Hybrid MBA Welcome Reception, Autumn 2018

What are your career goals?

I aspire to run my own business. For me, the HMBA program has taught me how to be more business-minded and to identify ways to run a healthy business. I have already seen the benefits of the HMBA program in my professional life and am using the things I’ve learned on a near-daily basis.

How have you been able to leverage your military experience in the corporate world or private sector?

The military is one of the best leadership training programs in the world. The soft skills of leadership I learned while in the military are some of the most valuable assets I bring to a corporate organization. I was fortunate to lead large teams and projects early in my career and, probably more valuable; I failed in a safe environment. While in positions of leadership, I quickly developed my personal leadership style, based on both successful and unsuccessful decisions, which greatly helped prepare me for the private sector.

James Michels, former Army Captain, Field Artillery Branch

I graduated from Gonzaga University and commissioned in the Army out of their R.O.T.C. program in May of 2011. I commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer and moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma that following summer to attend the Basic Officer Leadership Course. After graduating from that in February of 2012, I attended the Army Airborne school and Pathfinder school at Fort Benning, Georgia. In May of 2012 I moved with my wife to Fort Polk, Louisiana where I served in the 10th Mountain Division as a Fire Direction Officer, Platoon Leader, Executive Officer and Fire Support Officer. I deployed to Afghanistan in the summer of 2013, two weeks after my first son was born. In March of 2015 I moved back to Fort Sill, Oklahoma to attend the Army Captain’s Career Course where I was promoted to the Rank of Captain. In October of 2015 after completing the course, my family moved back to Washington state where I served for 2 1/2 years at Fort Lewis as an Assistant Fire Support Coordinator for the Army 1st Corps and then as an Assistant Operations Officer, Logistics Officer and Fire Support Officer for 2-17 Field Artillery Battalion. In June of 2018, after completing 7 years of active duty service, I decided to leave the military and pursue my MBA and passion for business in the private sector.

The Army gave me the opportunity to lead some of the finest men and women serving this great country. I got to travel to many different countries, work with people from many different cultures and experience some of the most amazing and unforgettable opportunities that have made me a better leader today. I loved every minute of my time serving in the Army and know that those experiences and challenges will leverage me to succeed not only in this program, but in my personal and professional life beyond  graduating from this esteemed program.

Current Role: Chemical Technologist at Veolia Nuclear Solutions

Why did you choose the Hybrid MBA Program? What about it fit your lifestyle?

I chose the Hybrid MBA Program because as a transitioning Service member, this program offered me the best opportunity to achieve my MBA from a top ranked program while still allowing me to work and provide for my family. Earning my MBA from a top ranked business school has always been a goal of mine since completing my undergraduate degree in business. When I found this program and saw the versatility it offered for working professionals, I knew it was too good of an opportunity to pass up!

James Michels with his team at the Hybrid MBA Welcome Reception, Autumn 2018


How does your military experience lend itself to a mostly-online MBA format?

One of the strongest lessons learned in the military is discipline. Soldiers and the American people count on military leaders to be disciplined in their actions and decision making to ensure successful outcomes.  In a mostly-online MBA program, discipline and determination are required in order to achieve success. Without the constant interaction and oversight of a resident program, it can be easier to get complacent or let your school work fall behind. My experiences in the military helped me to  become more disciplined in my decision making and I am confident that will help me achieve greater results in this program for not only myself, but also my fellow teammates and classmates that depend on me to give my best efforts and contributions to group work.

What are your career goals?

My goal is to help develop leaders in the private sector in order to make organizations stronger and more influential. I want to apply the leadership lessons I learned throughout my military service to this program in order to get as much out of my MBA as possible, enabling me to better understand how my skills and experiences can benefit the corporate world. I am passionate about people and helping them become the best possible version of themselves. Earning my MBA can help me take positive steps towards achieving that and I am incredibly excited to see where it takes me!

Learn more about what makes a strong candidate for the Hybrid MBA Program

Read more Hybrid MBA student experiences

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