"I wanted to round out my existing skills and develop new ones, whether that was analyzing big data and learning design thinking and innovation processes. I knew these finance and analytics skills would help me be a better leader," says Nick Stoner, US Navy Lieutenant and Full-time Berkeley MBA student.
Many military veterans and those on active duty pursue an MBA as a way to advance both their personal and professional goals, bringing a wealth of lessons that find relevance and value in the classroom. This week, we're exploring what brought some of our military MBA students to BerkeleyHaas and what they hope to do with an MBA. Here are six questions for Nick Stoner, Lieutenant (Active-Duty) US Navy, Explosive Ordnance Disposal.
1. How did your military experience develop you as a leader?In the military I was put in positions where I had to make decisions using only the information I had. I had to evaluate what was in front of me and develop courses of action under uncertainty. You experience a lot of responsibility right out of the gate and it develops you quickly.
2. What did you want to learn or do with an MBA, and why was this important to you?
I wanted to round out my existing skills and develop new ones, whether that was analyzing big data and learning design thinking and innovation processes. I knew these finance and analytics skills would help me be a better leader. Just like any organization, there’s a lot of data that the military has, and learning how to leverage that data to make better decisions is something I wanted to learn at Haas.
3. Why did you choose BerkeleyHaas?
Haas is very diverse and I wanted to work and learn with people who would offer different perspectives than the ones I'd experienced in the military.
4. What does your military experience contribute to the MBA program?
I think that what I contribute is similar to what a lot of vets contribute: In some form, I've been involved with American foreign policy, and I think vets bring unique experiences through operating under pressure and serious consequences. I learned that my decisions affect others, especially my team, and this is also true at Haas (and beyond).
5. What would you tell other vets or active duty members who are considering getting an MBA?
I’d encourage it. For those transitioning out of the military, business school is a great steppingstone back into the civilian world. Especially at Haas, I think you’ll find a very supportive vets network and everyone is very welcoming.
6. How has the Berkeley MBA made your goals more possible?
Haas has so many speakers and alums who come to speak about experience in different industries. It has exposed me to the different possibilities out there and allowed me to see where these industries connect with my own interests. As a cyclist, I especially loved when the marketing director for Strava (Megha Doshi, a Haas alum) came in and discussed how she broke into the intersection of tech and sports. We got to ask any questions on the future of sports tech, and because many of my Haas classmates use Strava with me to track our rides, this was really interesting to me.
You might also like these interviews with other military MBA students:
- Six Questions for Air Force Reservist Ricky Cornejo
- Six Questions for Air Force Veteran Jordan Waiwaiole
- Six Questions for Military Surgeon Jane Alston