Air Force veteran Jordan Waiwaiole saw the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program as the perfect way to make a post-military pivot back to civilian life.
Military veterans already immersed in the world of business often choose part-time MBA programs to build on their leadership skills and to take their business expertise to the next level. This week, we're exploring what brought some of our post-military MBA students to Berkeley Haas and what they hope to do with an MBA. Here are six questions for Jordan Waiwaiole (below, 2nd from left):
1. How did your military experience develop you as a leader?
What was most formative in becoming a leader was being put in a difficult situation with people I don't know and coming to a resolution. You learn to work with people who are different than you to accomplish something important.
2. What did you want to learn or do with an MBA, and why was this important to you?
Personally, I was at a point in my military career where I was looking at what was next, and an MBA was a perfect pivot tool to be back into civilian life. I knew an MBA would offer an education on things that aren't part of the military experience, like marketing, building a financial model, and understanding the market and your competitors. I wanted to gain those hard skills.
3. Why did you choose Berkeley Haas?
The Bay Area has a family tie for me. My wife is a resident at Stanford and I wanted to be together after many years of being apart while I was on duty. I also wanted to pursue a top tier education while working at Dodge and Cox in downtown San Francisco.
4. What does your military experience contribute to the MBA program?
This isn't specific to me, but I've had the chance to work and live in almost every region of the U.S., as well as abroad. This has exposed me to a range of perspectives that I can share.
5. What would you tell other vets or active duty members who are considering getting an MBA?
I'd tell any vet to consider what you want to do afterward and select an MBA program that will help you get there. Understanding who you are and where you want to go, because there are many different MBA schools, programs, and cultures, will be valuable.
I'd also encourage vets to leverage the network of other vets who are always happy to help.
6. How has the Berkeley MBA made your goals more possible?
What I'm learning at Haas now is valuable for me both immediately and long-term. For example, I just finished Microeconomics, where I learned how to move a consumer down a price point. As I build a career in the financial services industry, this was immediately relevant to what I'm doing in my job. I could apply it the next day.
I'm also learning how to give negative feedback in a constructive way through my Leading People course. In the military, feedback is largely direct and comes in one style. But what I'm learning about feedback now–how to deliver it and specific skills to make it constructive–will help me interact with and mentor people in a positive way.
You might also like these interviews with other military MBA students:
- Six Questions for Air Force Reservist Ricky Cornejo
- Six Questions for Military Surgeon Jane Alston
- Six Questions for US Navy Lieutenant Nick Stoner