Profiles of Current Students and Alumni

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Lt. Maggie O'Brien

Maggie OBrien

Program of Study:

Master of Business Administration

Year of Graduation:

2009

Hometown:

Oceanside, NY

Previous Education (degree and institution):

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, with a minor in History.

Tell us about your work history before Marist, including years of experience, industry, companies, and positions.

I attended UNC- Chapel Hill on an Air Force ROTC scholarship. Upon graduation in the spring of 2005 I entered Space and Missile training at Vandenberg Air Force base in California. From there I was given my job as a nuclear weapons officer. After nearly a year of training I made the jump from Coastal California to Minot, North Dakota. I am currently fulfilling a four year commitment to the Air Force where the majority of my month is spent underground monitoring missiles and waiting for a call from the President (I have yet to hear from him). My current title is Missile Combat Crew Commander, and I also serve as the Security Manager for my unit.

What are your career goals?

Eventually I would like to transition the tools that I have learned in the military and in my MBA program to the "civilian world."  I have learned a lot about endurance from the strenuous hours that my employment calls for. Once I make it out into the real world I feel as if the eight hour work day will be a breeze! I would like to take the drive that has made me successful in the Air Force and the Top Secret Clearance that I have gained from being a missileer and either do private contracts or work for the State Department.

Why did you choose Marist?

I wanted to get back to my New York roots as my grandmother loves to remind me that the New York college education system is the best in the country! I had also read a lot of good things about Marists online MBA program, I liked the large selection of classes to choose from and the idea that you are truly in a class, with constant communication with classmates, not just reading along in a textbook.

How do you balance school demands with your work and/or family life?

While work keeps me underground, we are fortunate enough to have internet (albeit a restrictive government version) down in the capsule. Many late nights are spent typing up papers and posts, as it is the only thing that can keep me awake! While sometimes the work can become overwhelming, I feel that it has given my time up here in Minot a purpose; I am using my downtime in the capsule to the fullest.

What do you like best about your program at Marist?

I like the camaraderie that comes with the large amount of classmate interaction. I have spent many nights on conference calls discussing projects and though we are situated all over the country, you become invested in other people's lives. Everyone takes their studies seriously; their MBA is not just a box they are looking to check off for their employer. That being said, I know that I can reach out to others when I have a question and I will receive an encouraging and helpful response. For instance, I had been working for the past year to implement a military discount at Marist. I shared my ideas with a classmate, also in the military, and he consistently followed up with me and even let me know when he was appointed to a recruiting board and that he planned to bring it up in that forum. It says a lot that there is a strong bond formed among classmates at Marist even in the online forum.

Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningfully to your professional development.

In Professor Joanne Gavin's class, "Managing Organizational Change," I learned a lot about what it takes to institute change in a workplace and the reactions from both employers and employees. Just in the past year, the Air Force has faced a lot of heat in the media and seen a lot of changes in leadership. It was interesting to apply the ideas from Managing Organizational Change to what has been happening right before my eyes in the military.

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