OCTOBER 13, 2016, MONTEREY, Calif. (NNS) – A growing number of senior naval officers are turning to the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) degree program.
They are looking to meet their graduate education needs, despite the rigorous demands and back-breaking tempo that can come with serving in the Navy’s most challenging leadership positions.
Since the notion of a senior officer taking a 18-month leave of absence to attend graduate school is rarely an option, the NPS Graduate School of Business and Public Policy (GSBPP) offers a EMBA with a short-term residency requirement coupled with distance learning tailored to meet the advanced education needs of mid- to senior-level naval officers.
Senior Lecturer retired Cmdr. William “Bill” Hatch is the EMBA program manager, and has been with the program since 2004. He welcomes one cohort every 36 months, with new enrollments taking place in the spring and fall.
“It’s part of a professional military education continuum,” said Hatch. “You can give a flag officer a graduate degree, but the O-7 level is not the time in your career that you send someone off to school for 18-24 months. You do that at O-4 through O-6 levels, and more and more promotion boards are looking for people with graduate degrees.”
“Many O-4s, O-5s, and O-6s are recognizing that this is their ticket toward reaching their next promotion milestone if they do not have a graduate degree,” continued Hatch. “The goal of the program is to provide graduate education to officers whose career milestones do not afford them the opportunity to come to NPS.”
The program addresses the myriad issues senior officers are asked to address, many of which have little to do with the specific job the Navy trained them to accomplish.
“The more senior you become in the Navy, particularly at the O-5 and O-6 levels, the less you work within your designator and the more you become a resource manager, running people and material,” explained Hatch. “That’s what the program provides. It has a little money, a little risk management, some contract and program management, and acquisitions. In fact, students come out of the program with Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) Level II certificates of completion.”
DAWIA is an important part of a senior naval officer’s professional development. It was signed into law in 1990 and has been modified several times since with an eye toward arming acquisition professionals, and those who supervise or work with them, with an understanding of a host of acquisition skills including program management, cost estimation, and auditing.
“NPS works very hard to have DAU (Defense Acquisition University) equivalent courses,” said Hatch. “The business school is current on all the DAU courses, and is able to offer equivalent course work embedded within our educational programs.”
The Navy’s current Program Executive Officer for Submarines, Rear Adm. Michael E. Jabaley, is a graduate of the EMBA program.
“I would recommend the Executive MBA to anyone who is considering a career path in acquisitions, especially, but also to anyone who is interested in dealing with business within the Navy,” said Jabaley. “The most valuable part of the Naval Postgraduate School’s Executive MBA program would be the opportunity to take classes with a group of students who are looking at the same future, the same career path [you are].”
“There is clearly something for everyone in this course,” he added. “If a junior officer is interested in a career in business, either within the Navy or post Navy, this is a very helpful degree to earn. If the officer is more advanced in their career, as I was, it is useful to use this program to put the finishing touches on their education.”