Hometown: Northborough, MA
Previous Position: Infantry Fireteam Leader, U.S. Army, Afghanistan
Previous University: Northeastern University
Undergraduate Degree: Electrical and Computer Engineering
Q: Upon completing your years of service in the U.S. Army, why did you choose to pursue an MBA?
A: I served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, one of them as an infantry team leader in a remote outpost. We had a counter-mortar radar system that gave us the few seconds warning we needed to protect ourselves in dangerous situations. A key part of my role was to understand how to fix and operate the system, and that experience gave me my first inkling that I wanted to devote my career to military technology. I knew that many of us might not have made it home safe if we hadn’t had the advantage of the best equipment, and I want to make sure the soldiers coming up behind me have that same advantage.
Q: You earned your undergraduate degree at Northeastern in engineering. Why did you decide to enter the Full-Time MBA program at D’Amore McKim?
A: My goal in coming to D’Amore McKim was to be the leader of an engineering team at a large company that serves the defense industry. I considered a master’s degree in engineering, but when I looked into my options, I concluded that an MBA would open more doors for me than a second degree in engineering. An MBA is a degree focused in business leadership, which gives me the background I need to achieve my goals.
There were two main reasons I chose this program—the corporate residency and the university’s excellent veterans’ services. When I began as an undergraduate, I struggled to adjust to civilian life. The strong veteran community was, more than anything else, what got me through.
Q: How do you expect your corporate residency at Raytheon to impact your career?
A: I can’t tell you how much it means to me to have secured such a highly competitive position in the defense industry. Accepting this corporate residency position has been a life-changer for me. It’s a reaffirmation that I’m doing the right things and moving toward what I’ve been working for all this time.
During my residency, I’ll be working in supply chain management, managing the efficient flow of materials. I didn’t know much about this field until I took a course in supply chain during my first semester. Now it’s one of my two concentrations. I love supply chain because it’s all about problem-solving—it’s like engineering for business.
Q: How has your experience in the Full-Time MBA program helped you to become a leader?
A: Leading people in the Army was the most satisfying thing I’d ever done. But in this program, I’ve learned a more collaborative form of leadership. In my group projects and during my global consulting project in Panama, I learned how to lead when I don’t have total authority. What I realized is that if you learn how to listen, understand what people want, and hear their concerns, people will follow your leadership.
In my mind, teamwork and leadership go together. The heavy emphasis on group work begins in the first semester when the program assigns you to a learning team with four strangers who are purposefully selected because they are not like you. The goal is to teach you to work as a team in a diverse environment. I firmly believe that teamwork skills are the foundation of leadership, and the emphasis on group work provides you a strong foundation.
“No other university offered a comparable option that would enable a career-switcher like myself to gain 6 months to a year of applicable work experience while at the same time working towards the completion of an MBA,” says Adarkwa.
“When I did my residency in finance, I was surprised by how much I liked the field…As a result of that experience, I have accepted a full-time job in finance.”
“This experience opened my mind to how people learn and operate differently. This is an important skill for someone like me who wants to become a leader in a smaller company.”