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Photo credit: Morgan Dodge
November 24, 2019 |

Vet Translates Skill Set to Business World

Simon Lee, MBA 2020, gained valuable professional experience serving in the Air Force. GGU provided the leadership training he needed to leverage his skills in the corporate world.

By Jenny McKeel

As an adventurous boy, Simon Lee once scaled a tree, descended a neighboring Oak, and taught the neighborhood kids to execute the maneuver. He loved teaching others how to play games he invented. But it wasn’t until he enrolled in GGU’s MBA program that Simon discovered there was a business term for creating processes and systems that benefit teams: Project Management. And that’s how Simon found his career direction.

Process Improvement

Simon had always gravitated toward process improvement—he just didn’t know it. In the military, he managed budgets and learned about operations and mission planning. He used this knowledge in the Air Force to implement a supply chain between a biotech company’s main warehouse and a smaller parts warehouse—a satisfying achievement that solved an important problem.

Transitioning to civilian life, Simon enrolled in GGU’s MBA program. He was attracted to the practice-based curriculum tailored to the needs of working professionals.

“My passion is advocating for vets looking to leverage their military experience in the corporate world.”

“I’m using my post-9/11 GI Bill to go to school, and so many people have helped me along the way,” explained Simon. “The University Registrar, Veterans Affairs, and my academic counselor have always been willing to take a meeting, email, or phone call. The relationships I’ve built have been awesome.”

Project Management

Marie Spark, Project Management Program Director and Lecturer, helped Simon tailor his studies to what he discovered he enjoys most—operations and process improvement.

“The MBA courses especially have been so impactful,” said Simon, reflecting on his GGU experience. “I’ve learned that the more you understand yourself, the more you are able to lead authentically. I’ve learned about different leadership styles, how to work on teams, how to build trust, resolve conflicts, and build contingency plans. These courses have brought everything together, built my confidence, and given me direction.”

Advocating for Veterans

Simon hopes to help other veterans navigating the transition from military to civilian life.

“I’ve learned that many companies are seeking experienced project managers. It’s hard to translate what we do in the military, but much of it is project/program management. Through interacting with companies I’ve had my eyes opened to opportunities. Many companies offer hugely helpful resources to veterans, and my passion is advocating for vets looking to leverage their military experience in the corporate world.”


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