Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy
Graduate: MS in Operations Management
"My only regret was that I didn't pursue this degree earlier in my career."
“As a Naval Aviator, I originally decided to pursue a Master of Science in Operations Management through the University of Arkansas primarily because of the flexible schedule and convenience of classes on campus here in Millington, Tennessee, where I’m stationed,” O’Brien said. “Naval officers are expected to earn a master’s degree as they grow in seniority, and I thought OM would provide a more well-rounded education, over other courses of study, such as an M.B.A. Truthfully, the program exceeded my expectations.
“The various jobs I’ve held in the Navy are all heavily involved in the 10 strategic operations management decisions. I was able to correlate the concepts learned in the classes to my previous work assignments, and it led to some great retrospection and learning in hindsight. Specifically, when I was the leader of the maintenance department in a helicopter squadron, on a daily basis my team was making decisions in quality management, supply chain management, human resources, scheduling, maintenance and inventory.
“The concepts learned throughout the program have also helped me catch up to speed after I moved wholly out of my comfort zone to my current, HR-intensive job at Navy Personnel Command. My only regret was that I didn’t pursue this degree earlier in my career. I especially thought the instructors were great, and I appreciate how many were able to relate the coursework to their personal experiences in the workplace.
“When I eventually depart the Navy in another 5-6 years, I believe much of the insight gained from these lessons will assist in easing my transition into a civilian career. The diverse knowledge garnered from the program gives me confidence that I can pursue a myriad of job options and be poised for success when that time comes.”