Alexander Pierre- U.S. Navy to Darden School of Business

Full Name: Alexander Pierre

Anticipated graduation year: MBA, University of Virginia, Darden School of Business; Class of 2023

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Fun Fact About Yourself: In undergrad, I was an avid powerlifter and placed at multiple competitions 

Intended Major: Masters in Business Administration

What did you do in the military: I was a Supply Corps (Logistics) Officer in the US Navy

What was your proudest accomplishment in the military? Mentoring one of my junior Sailors on his journey to becoming a Commissioned Officer. Helping my Sailors was the most gratifying part about being in the Navy

How did you hear about S2S? I learned about S2S through a colleague at my current firm, JPMorgan Chase. He was a Veteran who’d recently gotten his MBA and when I told him that I was studying for the GMAT and intended on going to Business School, he immediately told me about S2S.

What was the best part of S2S for you? In the Navy, I learned a lot of “soft” business skills but when I transitioned into the civilian world, and especially the financial services industry, I noticed that they were gaps in my knowledge that I would need to fill to get ahead. Also, I want to expand my network and potentially use an MBA to pivot into new and different career paths. 

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA? It was a tough decision. I loved my job in the military. I had responsibilities that were light-years ahead of my peers from high school. But I am obsessed with personal growth and development and I knew that as enlisted I wouldn’t realize my potential while in the Air Force. I realized that leaving the safe career path of the military for the unstructured civilian world would push me to grow in new and challenging ways.

How has the transition been from the military to civilian life? There were certainly good days and bad days. As a Junior Officer transitioning into the civilian world, there were so many directions I was being pulled in. “What do I want to do? What am I good at? Where do I see myself in a decade career-wise?” There were so many questions

Navigating the civilian hiring structure and deciphering what job descriptions actually mean were points of frustration early on in my job search.

Deciding not to use a JMO recruiting firm and finding my first civilian job on my own was a big decision as well.

Not only was I transitioning from the Navy, but my fiancée (now wife) and I were moving across the country. I had a lot of things going on at once on top of with my life after leaving the Military. 

There are certainly times when I miss the camaraderie and esprit de corps of the military but I certainly believe that transitioning was the right decision for me and my family.

What are you most excited about in regards to starting your MBA program? What’s your favorite part about the school you chose to matriculate at? I’m looking forward to getting back in the classroom and using parts of my brain that I haven’t accessed since I was an undergraduate. I also look forward to the case studies we’ll be learning in classroom and hearing the different perspectives that my classmates bring to the discussion. UVA has a beautiful campus that I look forward to exploring.

What advice would you give to future applicants? Be prepared to put in a lot of work and do a lot of work throughout the application process. I worked with my S2S ambassador through multiple rounds of essay revisions and numerous mock interviews. 

Also, I reached out to at least three or four people from every school I was applying to in order to get their perspective and learn as much as I could about each program. 

Obviously, rankings and prestige play a role in the MBA admissions process but there’s so much more to it than simply going to the highest ranked school. Every MBA program is different and has their own specialties and careers that they place into. Go to every school’s website and look at their core curriculum and electives and see if they line up with your post MBA goals.

What are your goals post-graduation? Post-graduation, I would like to transition to a program management role at a major tech company.

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