Backpack Benji

My MBA Portfolio

Introduction

NOTE: This entire page was a project for school and will be boring for most people!

With my intention to retire from the military and move into business, I knew that I wanted more than an undergraduate degree. I chose to pursue an MBA for the broad knowledge base it would give me, for the interaction with fellow learners from diverse fields it would allow, and for the specific business training that I would receive. I chose to time my degree completion to coincide with my departure from the service, so that I might have a firm grasp on the latest information and ideas. I was happy to discover that my instruction was not just from paid PhD’s, but came from caring professors who were currently employed in their area of expertise.

This profile illustrates what I learned during my two-year MBA program at Southwestern College and also illustrates my knowledge of key business concepts and theories and demonstrates how I was recognized by my employers for my contributions based, in part, on what I learned during the pursuit of my MBA. This portfolio also communicates my understanding of the legal and ethical implications of conducting business in a global environment, showcases some of my verbal and interpersonal skills, and demonstrates the fact that I am, and continue to be, a lifelong learner.

Financial and Accounting Course Work: 

Instructed by Cindy Lynch, a Certified Internal Auditor who holds an MBA with an emphasis in accounting , Financial Accounting (MGMT 510) focused on interpreting financial statement information, using account information for decision making and evaluation, and examined current trends in accounting that are relevant to managers. As part of the course, I prepared income statements, and retained earnings statements. The principles learned in the course allowed me to gain a deep knowledge of the key business concept of accounting including calculating return on equity, return on assets, financial leveraging, and quality of income and profit margin calculations.

Ms. Lynch also instructed Managerial Accounting (MGMT 515) where I studied accounting information designed to assist me, as a manager, in planning, analyzing and implementing, business decisions and activities. The course focused on strategic and operational performance analysis and evaluation; and I gained an appreciation of the role of accounting in business, the relationship between accounting theory and the practice of accounting, and the special requirements of accounting related to statements, reports and vocabulary. I conducted cost classification exercises, profitability analysis, developed balanced scorecard strategy maps, and prepared operating budgets and cash inflow statements.

Under the tutelage of Petra Spillman, who holds a tri-lingual MBA from the International Business Academy of Bod Homburg, Germany and a second Master of Arts in Management and Leadership, I explored Marketing Strategies (MGMT 530).  I investigated several different marketing concepts related to business management including product and brand development, price determination, distributions strategy, and advertising and promotion management.  I developed an entire marketing plan for a real-world company which included goals and objectives, a review of organizational resources and anticipated issues, a complete customer analysis, a target market breakdown as well as a SWOT analysis, strategic focus and a strategy for the new firm.

Dr. Joel Light instructed me in Financial Analysis and Management I and II (MGMT 565 and MGMT 575) where I learned the time value of money, the difference between finance and accounting, macroeconomics, and studied supply and demand.  I also learned forecasting techniques, capital budgeting, and learned how to make investment decisions.  I came to understand T-bills, foreign investments and the cost of capital, financial analysis and planning, and ethical issues involved in finance.  I studied budget evaluation, net present value and internal rates of return and conducted a group case study on an investment banking case.  I also worked with a group in preparing a financing option paper and presentation.

In Statistical Analysis and Quality Management (MGMT 580), I was instructed by Dr. Michael Corriere, a retired Naval Officer with degrees from the US Naval Academy, the University of New Mexico, the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and from American University.  I learned various tools and methods for analytic study including probability and statistics.  The culmination of this course was a case study presentation that included a force field analysis, a cause and effect diagram, mitigation and corrective action plans, and a management summary.

During the Financial Accounting course, I mastered the calculation of cash, cash coverage, debt to equity and price to earnings analysis, current and quick ratios as well as cash flows and asset management.  I also studied how users of financial information use ratios to analyze organizations, how cash flows affect business viability, and learned various analytical techniques used to evaluate financial statements.

In Managerial Accounting I came to understand accounting in manufacturing situations, the power of measurements in motivating employees, and learned to analyze reports as to their effect upon internal and external clientele.

While studying Marketing Strategies, I mastered several different communications techniques as I developed a real-world case-based integrated marketing strategy.  I understand the process of strategic marketing planning and know how to apply critical thinking in making marketing decisions.  I learned how to set an atmosphere for creative brainstorming and was able to get hands-on experience in creating a marketing plan.

In both of my Financial Analysis courses I became very familiar with complex financial tools and their role in managerial decision making.  I am confident in my ability to measure risk, determine the opportunity cost of capital, investigate corporate financing alternatives and make short and long-term financial decisions and am able to use this knowledge in business ventures.   Quality Management and Statistical Analysis taught me to understand quality definitions and concepts and I now know about individuals who shaped the quality movement. I understand how to graphically and analytically study a process by using statistics and understand how to interpret statistical information related to quality and process improvement. 

I know how to perform the necessary calculations for creating a business plan and am able to perform various accounting methods for a company.   I am comfortable in demanding team environments with mutual dependencies, deadlines and responsibilities, and know how to simplify communication with color.  I know how to present and communicate material in a professional manner using outside the box thinking and am able to profit from constructive criticism.

I understand options and derivative applications and am familiar with agency theory and capital market efficiency tests.  I understand capital market structure and am familiar with the role of investment banking and capital budgeting. I understand the value of Quality Management Systems and am able to use my knowledge of statistics, variable control charts, and quality improvement techniques to maintain a constant improvement process.

Ethical and Legal Course Work:

Greg Walker. Esq. was my instructor for Business Law (MGMT 525).  Besides being a member of the State of Texas and the American Bar Associations, Mr. Walker, a former Federal Agent, was an experienced trial attorney in the office, security, investigative, and administrative areas of law.  The fact that he was a current practicing attorney helped to solidify my degree as a “real world” MBA and greatly increased the value of my learning experience regarding many areas of the legal concepts applicable to business.

The fact that Dr. Walker held a Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law in Houston made learning the various forms used in business organization, the legal aspects of organizing and operating a business and Uniform Commercial Code easier to understand as he was able to teach not only from the book, but from experience.  I wrote several short papers regarding legal reviews and how best to handle certain legal and ethical situations.

Studying bankruptcy, securities regulations, antitrust law, consumer protection, torts, criminal business law, social and political influences, management rights, powers, and responsibilities, ethical considerations, and a brief overview of the structure of the judicial system were all a part of Business Law.

During Ethics in the Global Marketplace (MGMT 560), Dr. Roger Fuller instructed me on the role of business in society.  The course coverage of company values, actions, and outcomes that affect employees, investors, business partners, communities, and the natural environment was exceptional.  I was presented with a thorough examination of business ethics in relationships and ways that I, as a leader, can improve corporate citizenship.

Since completing Business Law, I am better able to recognize and discuss legal problems related to common security and business matters, whether existing or potential, and would feel comfortable if asked to participate in strategies to prevent, or mitigate, the effects of common legal problems at a company. I know that I will be able to have a meaningful consultation on legal matters with upper management and/or in-house or outside counsel and will have confidence when applying the advice I get on legal matters from qualified counsel. Upon completion of Global Ethics, I have a better understanding of the role of business in society and critical managerial issues from historical, theoretical, social, and ethical perspectives. I have a better appreciation for business ethics and ways that leaders can improve corporate citizenship and I appreciate the challenges of a global society and the potential benefits and pitfalls of cosmopolitanism.

Business Communication Course Work:

My poise in public speaking began when I was a member of the debate club in high school, followed by studying communication and speech in college. My father, a parliamentary procedure and speech professor and university debate coach, helped guide me in my speaking abilities. In college, I was both an on-campus deejay and a professional deejay for a local radio station. As a recruiter and trainer in my military career, I have spoken to thousands of people in hundreds of individual, classroom, conference, and group settings including a live broadcast presentation made at a university convocation with about 7,000 people present. I am a certified Army instructor and have given presentations at numerous staff, inter-office and inter-agency meetings.

In my written communications, I have worked hard to hone my skills as a writer and to present a professional and personal approach to my writings. During my training in Project Management Fundamentals (MGMT 505) I was instructed by Tony Sines, MBA, and certified Project Management Professional (PMP). During this course, I was a member of a team that analyzed three separate projects. My job was to communicate the written project data into a visual product. I also completed a portfolio project where I conducted a complete analysis on an assigned project and communicated the outcome via both a portfolio paper and a unique PowerPoint presentation.

Arthur Smith, who holds an M.S. in Management, facilitated my Strategic Management course (MGMT 585). An extensive analytical paper was written as the culminating feature of this course, depicting a fictional company that I managed with a fellow learner. This project provided a sample of my professional writing in APA format style and also depicted several studies I performed in excel which I incorporated into the study using the notional data that was analyzed during a month-long computerized business simulation.

Based on these artifacts, my previous training, and the skills learned during my tenure at Southwestern, I know that I met the outcome of demonstrating poise and confidence in various modes of communication. To me, communication is of utmost importance in any business relationship, project, or management skill set. I will continue to seek out ways to become a better communicator of both the spoken and written word as I also continue to improve my listening skills.

Employer Recognition during my MBA:

Prior to beginning my MBA, I had been working as a member of the Virginia Emergency Response Team as the military liaison for the Department of Emergency Management, between civilian localities and responders, and the Department of Military Affairs.  This was an assignment to the Joint Staff in Virginia that I was selected for after having served faithfully for the previous sixteen years.  During each year in the military, I was given a performance review that detailed every aspect of my performance during the previous year.  It also outlined current successes and areas for improvement, and annotated my potential for continued success and future advancement.  Upon beginning my MBA, as indicated by my 2009 Annual Evaluation, I was a team player, making contributions for shared success, and was always dependable.  It was noted that I could clearly handle positions of greater responsibility. With documented excellent multitasking and planning ability, I decided to begin my MBA process as I researched schools and determined my best course of action.

In late 2009 an entirely new leadership team was in place and I continued to work diligently with my new team, expressing my desire to begin my MBA.  The management team agreed with my previous leaders, that I could handle the increased workload and two of my new superiors submitted letters of recommendation on my behalf to Southwestern College.   I was eventually admitted into the MBA program as I continued to work as the Operation Manager for the Department of Military Affairs within the Department of Emergency Management.   After beginning courses at Southwestern, my yearly evaluations improved from indicating an average rating of success to an average rating of excellence.  Documented by my leadership during my 2010 annual review, I am someone who works well under pressure, has an outstanding ability to plan large scale projects, and has the ability to find solutions to difficult problems.  My leaders also noted that I could handle positions of greater responsibility.

I conducted the bulk of my MBA coursework during my 2011 rating period.  Under the instruction of Dr. Susan Sasiadek, who holds a PhD in Organizational Management with an emphasis in leadership as well as two Masters Degrees, I studied Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management (MGMT 500) where one of my assignments included reporting on various theories of leadership. I was commended during my 2011 evaluation for my integrity, my continual improvement techniques, and my dedicated commitment to the organization.  My leaders also noted the difference that my MBA coursework was having at the workplace and I was commended on my 2011 evaluation for having completed the credit hours up to that date.  I was learning more about leadership through my MBA program, and was able to immediately apply the valuable traits I was learning to my workplace duties.

In 2010, I had deployed twice for short tours into a combat zone with a select five-man team to train foreign military leaders on U.S. military tactics, ideology and to foster relationships. During 2011, my entire leadership deployed for an extended period leaving me in charge.  I was commended in particular for the period of March through May of 2011 during which time I organized a very large inter-agency rehearsal exercise. The Adjutant General of Virginia presented me with a Commendation Medal for my efforts on this task. Since the Joint Staff was newly formed in Virginia (then just a few years old), this was the first award of its kind ever presented and was truly an honor to receive.

MG Long Presentation

My MBA courses were crucial to the increased ratings reflected in my annual evaluations.  I know that in working while studying, I had a better opportunity to realize models and theories of behavior, and management concepts and processes as they apply to managing individual and work-group behavior in the work place.  I know what leadership, motivation, and teamwork means and know how to assist in the strategy, selection, performance evaluation, reward systems, and development of employees at all levels. Using skills learned in this program I am better qualified to lead an organization from an organizational and human resource perspective and have had the opportunity to apply relationship management strategies to professional interactions and associations.

I will always cherish the leadership traits that I learned from the military and from the leadership at Southwestern College.  The course work I undertook, coupled with my military discipline and experience is unbeatable.  My MBA gave me confidence in my ability to manage time, lead projects, and perform strategic, long-term planning.  My military experience pushed the technical MBA skills to the next level and provided a great strengthening element to my education.  I know that I am able to better serve all clients and stakeholders now and in the future.

My degree in communications was my initial desire to complete a liberal arts degree, broaden my horizons and better prepare myself for a professional career.  Choosing a military career path in sales and recruiting led me to pursue a second degree in psychology, once I realized that selling at its core, is a combination of both communication and psychology.  My MBA granted me the ability to see an even bigger picture, allowing me to realize how I can apply my skills in the corporate world, while providing me with the financial analysis skills and business acumen necessary to succeed in a corporate environment. The military provided me a unique benchmark of leadership, strategic thinking, and performance that cannot be taught in a classroom environment.  The professors throughout my MBA program provided real world experience and leadership.  The robustness of my MBA program and its coverage of the many different aspects of financial management proved to be of great value upon leaving the service.  Being successful is more than accomplishing the mission; in tight fiscal times, it requires a balance between mission and efficiency. I know that the management and leadership skills that I developed during my military career provided me with strong assets in business and I strengthened them with my MBA.   My MBA program prepared me for a career in a leadership capacity or managerial level position.  I am prepared for today’s global challenges in the areas of management, marketing, financial analysis, human resources, and international business.  I know that my time management and project leadership skills were enhanced, and I earned strategic and long-term planning methods that were unique, due to completing my MBA while still actively engaged in full-time military service.  Obtaining my MBA was a great way to transition out of the military and certainly prepared me for future opportunities.

Leave a Reply