Meet Eller MBA Students and Alumni
Eller Evening MBA '11 (Tucson)
- B.S. Political Science
United States Air Force Academy
What motivated you to continue your education through an MBA program?
Through 2008 and 2009, I completed a master of arts degree in political science, with emphasis on international commerce, through Norwich University. The degree focused on international law, sustainability, and globalization; however, my professional background was strictly as an Air Force officer and I had no knowledge of how companies actually operated. I was left with an educational gap in my resume that I wanted to fill.
While earning the Norwich degree sparked my interest in earning an MBA, the quality of Eller’s program convinced me to pursue the degree. In 2008, I was coincidentally transferred from Moody AFB in Valdosta, Georgia, to Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson. After doing some research, I was impressed with Eller’s program and felt I would never have another chance to earn such a highly ranked in-residence MBA while serving on active duty. After that, my decision to apply was a no-brainer.
Why did you choose Eller?
I had already completed a master’s degree through Norwich University’s online program. While I have a high opinion of Norwich’s programs, there are limitations to online education, especially in classmate interaction, which has been a very important part of this program. I could have pursued an MBA through any number of online schools, but I valued a more traditional classroom experience for a professional degree of this nature.
As an Evening MBA student, how have you dealt with the stress of both a job and being a student?
I work ten to 12 hours a day and often feel like doing nothing when I get home from work. I usually take Thursday and Friday off from schoolwork to spend time with my wife and son, then spend several hours on Saturday with my small student group. Sundays are usually dedicated to preparing for the next week. On most Monday nights my group meets again to finalize any group projects. Tuesday’s are spent reviewing the next day’s material.
Where are you currently working and what are does your position entail? What about past work experience?
I am an A-10 pilot in the U.S. Air Force and have been stationed at Davis-Monthan since December 2008. I teach students new to the A-10 how to fly and employ the airplane. Previously I have been stationed at Spangdahlem Airbase, Germany; Pope AFB, North Carolina; and Moody AFB, Georgia. I have also been deployed twice to Afghanistan.
What are your career aspirations and how do you see the Eller MBA program benefitting them?
After graduating, I will be at a crossroads in my Air Force career, faced with the decision to get out of the service or stay in. If I leave, I would like to work in business development for any size municipality, ranging from a small city in the U.S. to developing economies in central Europe. While stationed in Germany, I was lucky to travel extensively in formerly Soviet-controlled states. The business expansion I witnessed in Romania and Slovakia in 2005 was amazing; however, many of those economies are experiencing growing pains today. I have looked into the economic officer opportunity offered by the U.S. State Department. If I stay in the Air Force, however, the MBA will definitely help me operate within my organization more efficiently — especially as the Department of Defense tightens its belt.
How are your studies with the Eller EvMBA program relevant to your current job or career goals?
Flying A-10s is only a fraction of my responsibilities. Much of my time is spent tracking training efficiencies and applying those findings to building a “smarter” flying schedule. There are a lot of parts that go into generating a flying schedule, from maintenance, to weapons loading, to assigning pilots. The MBA program has given me the analytical skills to specifically identify bottlenecks, for example, which affect our flying training efficiency.
What are you passionate about and how does the Eller MBA program help fulfill that?
I am passionate about serving. I want to make the world a better place, specifically by helping others succeed in meeting their goals. I go to school with a lot of very smart people, and it’s usually others helping me. However, an Eller MBA will equip me to move from encouraging someone to take the next step toward his or her goal, to developing an actionable, quantifiable plan that will succeed.
Who is your role model?
I used to have role models, but after peeling back a few layers I realized that they too were human. Everyone has qualities that are worth emulating, but ultimately it is you who succeeds at your goals, or learns a valuable lesson to take to the next opportunity. Living to please or mimic others can be destructive to your happiness and performance.
If I had to pick a role model, though, it would be my grandpa. He was a World War II veteran, owned a butcher shop in Philadelphia, and put five kids through college — an honest working man. Most importantly, he and my grandma had a loving 50-year marriage. Nothing is more important than family.