Archive for the ‘Military Leadership’ Category

In-Flight Magazines, Career Conferences and an MSGL Success Story

August 27, 2013 1 comment

In 2009 I was on a Delta Airlines flight back to the Midwest. During the flight I quickly flipped through Delta’s Sky Magazine and lo and behold, I came across an advertisement for the MS in Global Leadership (MSGL) program at my alma mater, the University of San Diego. This was the first time I had ever heard of our unique program. At the time, I didn’t think I would eventually enroll in the program and I certainly didn’t think I would end up joining the MSGL staff as the Manager of Marketing and Recruitment. The advertisement was incredibly well done and one could argue, was successful in yielding at least one student, myself.

Sean Kelley (MSGL '04) featured in Delta's Sky Magazine in 2009.

Sean Kelley (MSGL ’04) featured in Delta’s Sky Magazine in 2009.

The advertisement, which was included in a special “Distance Learning” section of the magazine, profiled one of our Alums, Sean Kelley (’04). Sean was a prior Naval Submarine Logistics Officer, Supply Chain Operations Manager at Starbucks, Product Operations Manager at Microsoft and today he remains at Microsoft as the Director of Staffing. In the advertisement, Sean offers his praise of the program and discusses what he has been able to do with the degree. The ad states that, “[distance] learning was a big selling point for Kelley, but the program’s appeal went far beyond that. The ‘remote-team’ approach was similar to working in a global corporation. He completed projects from the Seattle area with a couple in Japan, a guy in Italy and a guy in Northern California. Sean explained that “it was validating for someone like me who has lived all over the world.” He was successful in leveraging his previous professional experience in combination with his MSGL degree. “In the final month of completing the degree, I met with the head of Microsoft Diversity and she opened the door to a job for me,” he says. A lateral move, he went from Director of Operations to Director of Diversity. Two years later, he leveraged his education even further when he took the the reigns of Microsoft’s international diversity strategy. “I was able to put my deep studies to work around the world,” Kelley says. “I needed the degree to open the door, which it completely did.”

Fast forward four years from that issue of Delta Sky Magazine to this last Friday at the Service Academy Career Conference (SACC) here in San Diego. Both the MBA and MSGL Program were participating in the SACC Job Fair – I was of course representing the MSGL Program. Once we were setup at our table I noticed we were immediately across from the folks at Microsoft. Long story short, there was Sean Kelley representing the Microsoft Corporation. At this point, I had only seen Sean in the Delta Sky Advertisement. I had never met him. As the Marketing Manager, I have seen that advertisement countless times and I always think back to that flight and how his story, his experience in the Program and his success has impacted my professional trajectory. 


MSGL Graduates, Sean Kelley (left) and Brian Storjohann (’12) at the San Diego SACC Job Fair.

At SACC San Diego, there were a handful of MSGL Alums and current students who were looking to find a good fit at one of the military friendly companies that were on exhibit. I was pleased to find one of our Alums, Brian Storjohann (MSGL ’12), having a lengthy conversation with Sean. Sean was once in Brian’s shoes as a transitioning Naval Officer and there is nothing more valuable to our transitioning military folks than an established and impressive network of professionals who have ‘been there and done that’. Participating “military-friendly” companies include: Amazon, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boston Scientific, Cardinal Health, Chick-fil-A, the CIA, Coca-Cola, Dell, Inc., Deloitte, Edward Jones, Facebook, the FBI, FDIC, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, HP, Intel, L-3 Communications, Life Technologies, Lockheed Martin, Macy’s, McKinsey & Company, Microsoft, Northwestern Mutual, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Sears Holdings, Shell Oil Company, Target, The Clorox Company, The Hershey Company, U.S. Secret Service, UTC Aerospace Systems, Walmart and many other incredible companies and academic programs.

MSGL is going to be participating in all of the SACC events in 2014. We’ll be in Savannah, Georgia (March 6-7), Washington D.C. (May 29-30), San Diego (August 21-22) and San Antonio, Texas (November 20-21). If you graduated from one of the Service Academies and you are looking to make a transition, either from Active Duty to civilian or from another company, you need to be at one of these events. If you do attend, please stop by our table and say hello. You never know who you might meet.

For more information regarding the MSGL Program, SACC, USD/SBA Career Services, the MSGL Network or anything else related to the MS in Global Leadership (MSGL) Program, please feel free to contact me (Scott Handley) at


MSGL in Austere Places All Over the World

August 19, 2013 Leave a comment

ALUMNI UPDATE: Last July we wrote a post about John Boyer (MSGL ’08) and current MSGL Student, Eli Abbott and the work they were doing for Afghan Vision Group (AVG). Since then, life has changed quite a bit for John and Eli. The two global entrepreneurs are now running KVG. KVG, in short, “is a proven provider of goods and services in austere places around the world. With a presence in the most unforgiving locations, KVG leads in expeditionary procurement with a diverse global supplier network, accurate sourcing, and superior customer service. From Myanmar to the Kyrgyz Republic, Afghanistan to Libya, KVG is the force multiplier you need to support your operation.”. Check out their new website and facebook page. John and Eli, keep up the great work!


My Toastmasters Experience

June 3, 2011 Leave a comment

I recently joined Toastmasters in order to work on my public speaking, however to my surprise I am receiving an education on life.  Tuesday morning I was fortunate enough to hear Bob Tauber a fellow Toastmaster and a World War II Veteran give a seven-minute speech on an experience he had during WWII.

Bob began the story with how his former wife asked him to go see a German film with English subtitles. To his surprise the film was not only about WWII, it was about his platoon.

From right to left Bob Tuaber WWII Veteran, Richard "Dick" Maches WWII Veteran, Duane Trombly Vietnam Veteran, Rachael Hoagland Iraqi War Veteran.

During WWII Hitler recruited young boys to fight in the war. An officer in the Germany Army began passing out uniforms and weapons to these young boys, when he realized he was sending them out to die. In an effort to protect the boys he sent them deep into farm country faraway from the war and told them to protect a bridge, which had no strategic value.

After recognizing it would take longer to catch-up with the Germans driving down the autobahn, due to landmines, Bob’s platoon was diverted onto backcountry roads. Tauber was in the lead vehicle when he came upon a bridge leading into a small town, he sensed something was wrong. No one was working, no animals where grazing, and no kids where playing.  As Bob tried to figure out was going on a U.S. sergeant drove up in his vehicle. The sergeant was insistent nothing was wrong and drove towards the bridge. The juvenile and eager German boys shot the U.S. Sergeant.

Without knowing how well the bridge was defended Tauber called for tanks to clear the area.  The tanks did their job shooting every house and soldier within reach. After the tanks cleared the area Bob’s platoon drove across the bridge. What they saw next was baffling. The enemy soldiers now dead and severally wounded had all been children.  For years this particular incident haunted Bob, what were those kids doing at that bridge?

Years had passed since that day on the bridge and when Bob sat in the theater, he finally understood why those kids were there. It was only the second time Bob told this story and was the first time his son heard his father talk about the war. When Bob finished his speech many of us were holding back tears and you could hear a pin drop. Toastmaster No. 624 is more than a public speaking group —  it is living history.

Thoughts from Singapore

November 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Every year military officers face the end of their obligated service and have to make a decision about what to do with the rest of their lives – this is where I was in 2004.  I was an instructor at HSM-41, and was facing my end of obligated service in 2006 and had to decide what I was going to do.  A number of my fellow instructors had taken MSGL, so I looked into it and decided to enroll.  Little did I know at the time, that decision would shape the rest of my career and ultimately result in me staying in the Navy.

MSGL was a little bit of a culture shock for me, as my undergrad degree was in Aerospace Engineering – not exactly a degree that requires a lot of writing.  Fortunately, I was able to turn on the liberal arts side of my brain, and I graduated from MSGL Cohort 14 in November 2005.  The course opened up new possibilities for me, and I was fairly certain I wanted my future career to be with the State Department or at least involve having an impact on U.S. Foreign Policy.  My fear was the same as most facing leaving the Navy – I would be leaving a very comfortable position as an O-3/O-4 and taking a significant cut in pay and responsibilities to become a desk officer and work my way up in a brand-new system.  Fortunately, the Navy came to the rescue by resurrecting the Foreign Area Officer community.

In 2006 I applied for lateral transfer and successfully transitioned to FAO.  This transition afforded me the opportunity to go to Naval Postgraduate School and earn a second Masters in Regional Security Studies (the FAO community now accepts MSGL as a compatible International Relations Masters degree, but I am not complaining about the extra education – and location!).  Following NPS, I attended the Defense Language Institute for the 50-week course in Mandarin.  I highly recommend DLI for anyone who has the opportunity to attend, however it is without a doubt the most difficult course of study I have ever undertaken.  Of course, I was learning a language that does not have an alphabet, and was already in my mid-30s – and any education expert will tell you learning a language becomes exponentially more difficult the older you get.

After graduation from DLI I was transferred to Singapore, where I am currently stationed at the U.S. Embassy in the Office of Defense Cooperation.  I am in charge of the Navy Programs in Security Cooperation which affords me the opportunity to interact with the Singapore Armed Forces on a daily basis.  Singapore is also a great location from which to see the rest of Southeast Asia, so personal travel is definitely on my agenda during this tour.  The USD Global Leadership conference in Beijing in June 2010 allowed me to reconnect with fellow MSGL alumni, and brush up on my Chinese speaking – always a humbling experience.

MSGL Graduate Stacey Prescott

I truly love where I am living and the job that I am doing, and cannot wait to see what opportunities await.

Four Leadership Lessons from the Chilean Miner Rescue (via (Not so) Deep Thoughts)

October 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Written by MS in Global Leadership alum, John Ruzicka.

Four Leadership Lessons from the Chilean Miner Rescue Watching this week's rescue of 33 Chilean miners who had been trapped underground for 69 days, I was reminded of the tremendous leadership lessons demonstrated throughout the entire ordeal.  From the rescue effort from volunteers around the world, to the miners themselves – there's a lot to be learned by watching the rescue.  Here are four of my observations. 1.  Success is a team effort. I haven't found total numbers  in terms of people, resourc … Read More

via (Not so) Deep Thoughts

Reflections on Our Cyber Selves

June 7, 2010 4 comments

“Just Google it.”

You’ve probably said it a thousand times (more if you’re prone to arguments over who pitched Game 6 of the ‘86 World Series or which 90210 star had a reoccurring appearance on Saved by the Bell), but have you considered the implications of your actions? Since the inception of Google in 1998, the world defined by the term “internet” has exploded into every corner of our lives. The internet is instant knowledge at our fingertips, and it gives us the ability to share anything to anyone at any time. This is good, right? The answer is…who really knows? The speed at which humanity’s methods of communicating and learning have changed so quickly that there are massive moral and societal questions that are just being asked now, a full forty years after what became the internet was created. The Cyber Revolution brings with it philosophical questions that are at least as pressing as those that accompanied the Industrial Revolution, and that little societal upheaval spawned everything from socialism to mass urbanization. We are rapidly approaching a crossroads in which some really difficult questions must be addressed, and as USD-christened “global leaders,” I think the Cyber Revolution is an area where our unique blend of ethical, global-oriented business decision making can have a lasting, positive impact. There’s a few areas I’ve found particularly interesting, so I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts and a truckload of links to give some food for thought, and perhaps even generate some Schoultzitian debate.

Google=Dumb (?)

Nicolas Carr, the author of the seminal Atlantic article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” has expanded the premise of the piece to a book, The Shallows. Basically, he asks if the incessant flow of information available online, and our relentless jumping from page to page, is rewiring our brains and preventing us from the long-term, contemplative thinking necessary for major endeavors like reading War and Peace. (As a personal aside, after reading this article I freaked out that I might be becoming dumb(er) thanks to my whippet fast web surfing. I purchased, and read, the entirety of War and Peace. I’m not sure if doing so saved my brain, but I mention it in every job interview since.) While we all know that widespread internet use hasn’t been around long enough to conclusively (read=scientifically) prove that our brains are being fundamentally rewired by the web, even the idea, coupled with your own personal experience, should be enough to make you reassess how you are reading, thinking, and understanding since the Cyber Revolution. You might decide to take a few hours a week and hide the iPhone, instead challenging your brain to some old school heavy lifting.

Links=Dumb (?)

Mr. Carr also has a fantastic blog, which I highly recommend. Recently, he posted a piece on hyperlinks, “Experiments in delinkification.” He, among others, posited that the ubiquitous hyperlink is both a symptom of, and contributor to, our web-based shorted attention span. The post created quite a dust-up (in internet dork terms) about the worth of mid-sentence links. If you’ve read this far (thanks!), you know I love links. Love them. Nothing upsets me more than when an article references something (anything- be it book, article, work of art, whatever) and fails to provide a link. I agree hyperlinks can create a scattershot reading experience, but it is reader-controlled. Personally, I generally hover over the link to find out where its sending me, and, if interested, open it up in a new tab to review at my leisure (generally when I’m done with the original article). Mr. Carr recommends positioning all relevant links at the end of the write-up, though I think you’ll lose some utility with that compromise. Having it mid-stream creates a mental link (wordplay!) between what you’re currently reading and the new page you’re being sent to. Although I disagree with Mr. Carr’s poor opinion of links, it is another example of how, often without us noticing, the easy availability of information is changing how we learn. In undergrad (lo, those long nine years ago!) I found a certain pleasure in searching though the dusty stacks of the Holy Cross library to find that one book I needed, an experience that is now largely superseded by a quick web search. We’ve replaced passionate persistence with careless ease, but what have we gained- and lost?

Bonus link: Mr. Carr interviewed on the Colbert Report

Extra super bonus link: NPR has a chapter of The Shallows for your perusal

Privacy=Dumb (according to Facebook, maybe?)

I’m on Facebook, and I’m willing to bet you are too. A major concern for the social networking site has always been the privacy of its users, with an oft-heard complaint (heard by me, anyway) being the site’s propensity for forcing you to share info with someone you would rather not share it with (or having that person share a little too much for your liking). Facebook’s privacy policies came to head over the past few weeks, as those policies became ever more byzantine and privavy control functionality more complex. This blog had my favorite graphical analysis of the shift in sharing over time. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, felt the need to answer criticism in a rather bland Washington Post Op-Ed; meanwhile, privacy policies and controls have continued to shift. The debate over what user information Facebook should either force you to share or be able to monetize with advertisers remains far from over. What I really find interesting is that any info Facebook has on its users has been voluntarily submitted to their site for free. With that in mind, do we the users even have a justifiable expectation of privacy? If you upload a picture of yourself binge drinking at work, are negative repercussions Facebook’s fault when your boss (who is in your network) sees it? What’s more, for Facebook to remain a free service, it has to make money somehow. Its one “tangible” resource? The massive amounts of user data that resides on servers Facebook paid for, and users voluntarily submitted.

Privacy concerns aren’t limited to your Farmville needs, of course. As the once wholly unregulated internet becomes more of a shared societal resource, akin to the radiowave spectrum or Antarctica, government regulation and monitoring becomes more and more of a necessity. (Probably.) That, of course, brings with it a whole new set of problems, from the level to which federal agencies should monitor web usage to the degree to which companies should cooperate with national security agencies. The Threat Level blog (another one I really recommend) had a good look at private companies using (or being coerced into using) the National Security Agency’s Einstein systems, which help detect cyber intrusions and then alert the government. In particular, “critical infrastructure” systems, like the power grid and internet itself, are both vital to the nation’s functioning and vulnerable targets- but are largely in private hands. As the government attempts to move into monitoring private networks, basic questions concerning ethics, oversight, accountability, and legal jurisdiction remain unanswered. Ultimately, these are long-term policy concerns that deserve measured, deliberate thought- but in the meantime, the problems at hand continue to grow.

Bonus link: Interesting Discussion of privacy concerns from a “small government” DC think tank

Cyber Threats: Overblown?

Speaking of growing problems, it’s not just privacy that needs to be secured online…it’s everything. Particularly since Google was hacked by probable Chinese actors, the vulnerability of everything online has gained visibility outside of network security circles. (Personal note: I entered those circles six months ago with absolutely no IT background. Suffice it to say I now have strong doubts about anything you consider “secure.”) As people open up more of their lives to the internet,  they are more at risk; somewhat more troubling, as governments grow to depend on web connectivity to get business done, they are more at risk from other nation-states both during times of crisis and (relative) peacetime. However, the nature and extent of even this elemental problem is still up for debate. Literally.

Tomorrow night in DC, Intelligence Squared is hosting a debate on the motion, “The Cyber War Threat has been Grossly Exaggerated.” Some heavy hitters are taking part, including former Director of National Intelligence, VADM (Ret.) Mike McConnell. VADM McConnell bemoans, in particular, the United States’ lack of a cohesive policy on the cyber threat; even action that could be taken now is not, since legal and politic concerns remain. Personally, I think we need to come to terms on some terms first; is cyber espionage the same as Cyber War? Can a line between the two be drawn? My initial response is yes, but things become much murkier when attempting to draw that line. Uploading malware on an adversary’s network, after all, can be seen as an offensive (wordplay!) act, but is it really an act of war? Does it depend on what the malware does? When it’s difficult to discern even what you’re talking about, you know you have an interesting problem on your hands. In this case, it’s a problem that has massive repercussions for the level of government intrusion in citizens’ lives, foreign policy, the nature of warfare, and international finance, just to name a few affected arenas. Problems are, of course, made to be solved- and that’s where we MSGLers come in.

TJ Mayotte was a member of Cohort 41 and is now an analyst for the Office of the Secretary of Defense Damage Assessment Management Office, charged with conducting damage assessments after Cleared Defense Contractors are victims of cyber intrusions. He lives in Elkridge, Maryland and currently blogs here. He enjoys adversarial comments and being longwinded.