Home > Global Leadership, MSGL Classes, Student Life, Study Abroad > A Bubblehead-Triathlete’s Perspective of the MSGL

A Bubblehead-Triathlete’s Perspective of the MSGL


It’s Friday, September 24th, I’m currently sitting in seat 13F on a flight from Providence to San Diego, and cruising at about 35000 feet…going to see a few friends and attend the TEDx La Jolla event. The view is great. I’ve had some time to reflect a bit since the August 6th graduation with MSGL Cohort 48 (be patient, the link take a few seconds to load), and I’d like to briefly share some thoughts on my USD experience and more with you here.

First, why the MSGL? – I can honestly say that I found the perfect fit for what I was looking for in a graduate program – my priorities were met, my career interests have grown exponentially, and I’ve made some incredible friendships through it all. The entering argument for me was a program in or near San Diego, with a flexible schedule, and offered something different than a traditional MBA track. I have an undergraduate degree in chemistry and a significant amount of nuclear engineering training through my time in the Navy, so I sought intellectual balance through a business degree. My family and friends often asked me, “Why don’t you just get an MBA?” – and effectively answered their own question. While there is nothing wrong with that and I know many people who have an MBA (as I would bet you do too!), I sought a unique degree and curriculum that would not brand me as simply one of many. Well, I got everything that I wanted out of it and I look forward to answering that specific job interview question some day – “What’s this MSGL all about?” The study abroad options are phenomenal too. I chose to participate in two 2-week courses – one in Argentina and another in Spain & Morocco. Both of these expeditions were incredible, enriching, and have forever impacted my worldview. There are also tons of extra activities to get involved with around the program. I was a member of the USD Entrepreneurship Club, attended many of the GBSA events, was inspired by the action sports innovator panelists at IPJ, and sat in on guest lectures throughout the 16-month program. Without attempting to rewrite the official party tagline, the MSGL will provide you with a unique global perspective on business leadership and empower you to be a leader in your organization as well as in your personal life.

So, where am I now and what’s the next adventure? – I’m currently a student at Submarine Officer Advanced Course in Groton, CT. Yes, directly from one school to the next…this one is a bit different though. I’m a submarine Lieutenant and Navy SCUBA diver and I’m about to embark on a department head tour as the Navigation & Operations Officer on the USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) gold crew in Bangor, WA. This is a Trident-missile, nuclear-powered submarine. It’s the next step in my Naval career and I know without a doubt that my MSGL experience will add to this adventure and enable me to be a more capable leader. As for the submarine school, there are many recent and significant changes to mention here that can parallel with my graduate education experience. The class, which is comprised of 22 submarine officers, is the first to go through the newly designed curriculum model. The submarine leadership has decided, with the help of student feedback and several unfortunate and very publicized recent fleet incidents, to completely revamp the course. It’s now 6 months long (was ~5) and has shifted to more of an adult learning style. What this translates into is less direct instruction through the dreaded death by PowerPoint that too many of us have become so familiar with – and more towards self-study, practical application evaluations, discussions/seminars, and student-prepared presentations. Along with most change comes some growing pains with trying to find the correct balance, but I feel that this can only be a good thing for the future and I’m glad that our leaders have made this necessary adjustment. Actually, the submarine force is going through a great deal of change with the addition of women to the wardrooms and the cessation of smoking onboard all submarines by the end of this year.

While I don’t know how much longer I’ll stay on the “Navy train”, I do feel confident that the combination of the MSGL degree with my experience in the military has prepared me for many future opportunities. You don’t have to look very far to see that there’s a worldwide leadership crisis unfolding and there are many difficult issues to deal with that affect us all on a daily basis. I hope that I can somehow have a small impact on this in a positive manner and do what I can to help. Whether with my current employer or not, I ultimately want to return to San Diego. It’s the place that I love more than any other. I’m interested in alternative/renewable energy, mobile technology and the Internet, biotech, and finance. I also love competing in triathlons.

Finally, as for my advice to those reading this who are considering the MSGL – it’s challenging, rewarding, offers a unique work/life/school balance, has great study abroad options, brings together many intelligent military and corporate professionals in a classroom setting, and is absolutely worth it. The choice is obviously yours, but I hope this has helped to shed some light, albeit in a small way, on a little known but well worth the attention program. If you have questions for me or of my experiences in the program, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Best of luck in your endeavors!

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  1. David Livingston
    September 16, 2011 at 2:50 am

    Great article, Kyle. Having worked with you in the MSGL I know first-hand that you’ll succeed at everything you go after.

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