Maurice Kenner, MBA alumni of UC Riverside's A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management, describes his unique and rewarding MBA experience.
Name: Maurice Kenner
Profession: The Southwest Regional Commander and International Admissions Officer at the United States Military Academy at West Point
What were some activities you were involved with outside of class? How did you balance your time?
I was involved with the UCR Veterans Association and AGSM Student Association. Balancing out of class activities revolved around focusing on academics and taking on larger and larger roles in organizations until it became enough to fill enough time without a drop in performance in any area.
While attending UCR, I was the AGSM Student Association Vice President as well as part of the UCR Veterans Association and activity helped to recruit those who have served our nation. Finally, I held an internship with the Mayor of Riverside’s Office. In order to balance my time effectively, I kept a very detailed schedule of my assignments and duties both in school and in the organizations that depended on me. Keeping an up to date schedule allowed me to balance my time so that I always gave a consistent performance and my execution of tasks were never compromised.
Did you come from a non-business background? If so, how did this affect how you approached the application process and how did you highlight your achievements to tell your personal narrative?
I came from an engineering background and I had never taken a business class before. To highlight my achievements, I studied how to transfer the skills and accomplishments that I garnered in an engineering capacity as well as military service and convert those skills into applicable business skills.
What has been your favorite classroom experience?
My favorite classroom experience was a class in advertising. In that class we took a real world company that was suffering from a public relations crisis and built an advertising campaign designed to address it. It was enjoyable because my group and I were able to compare our strategy with the company’s real world strategy and witness the results.
What do you think makes your MBA program and experience unique?
As an Active duty Army officer, I have been able to use the skills that I have learned in a business context and apply them to how the military operates. I am able to examine problems through the lens of an Army officer as well as an MBA graduate. I have learned that my skills are transferable and if you look at each and every organization as a business (even the Army), you can apply your MBA skills to help you in all endeavors.
Did you do an internship during your MBA? How did that experience influence your education and career?
I was an intern in the local Mayor’s office. The experience was invaluable as it was a chance for me to examine politics from a completely different level. I was able to better understand how being in municipal government is a lot like running a business. I saw that tough decisions had to be made and interaction with the public was very much necessary. In the Army, trust is the bedrock of our profession and trust with the American public is vital to our continued success defending our nation. Working in the Mayor’s office in Riverside allowed me to see first-hand how another government entity established and maintained trust with the American people and Riverside constituents. These skills allow me to implement certain techniques and skills with my current job and throughout my Army career.
Advice for Future Applicants
What was it like to transition back to school after being out for a few years? What advice can you offer students returning for their MBA?
Transitioning into school was difficult after having graduated 6 years earlier. My advice for someone in a similar situation would be to set up a schedule. Like starting a new job, the more that you can anticipate and budget your time, the more successful and productive you will be.