15 Nov 2016
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Transferring Skills From The Military to the Private Sector

Re: Matt Eby (MBA 2002)

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Rebecca Greenbaum (photo by Ann Hermes)

It was the “opportunity to be part of something bigger than myself” that drew Rebecca Greenbaum (MBA 2017) to the US Naval Academy. After graduating and earning a master’s degree, her early career was marked by a series of growing responsibilities. On the USS Decatur, a guided missile destroyer, she led 18 sailors on the Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles team. She then studied engineering at the Naval Nuclear Power School and served on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, ultimately becoming a Reactor Maintenance Officer with 110 sailors under her command.

“I found the increasing leadership opportunities to be the most fulfilling aspect of my career,” Greenbaum says. “What I enjoyed most was the impact I had, not only on my organization, but on the individuals I worked with.”

Her military experience, she says, “gave me the confidence to transfer my skills to the private sector. What’s at stake may be different, but I hope the impact will be just as great.” She saw earning an MBA as the “bridge between being a leader in the military and being a leader in the business world.”

Receiving assistance from the Sharyn and Matt Eby Fellowship at HBS, she says, allowed her “the freedom to come to HBS rather than attend a school based solely on cost.” Meeting donor Matt Eby (MBA 2002) at the HBS fellowship dinner was a very powerful experience. “He is a fellow graduate of the US Naval Academy and very accomplished. It meant a lot to meet someone with a similar background to me who was helping fund my education.”

Greenbaum’s HBS experience has been exactly what she’d hoped. “I really enjoy being exposed to different perspectives. It’s helped me see how others view the world,” she says, noting that since she was 18 she’s mostly been surrounded by people in the military. “The case method challenges me to speak up; it forces me to be a contributing member of the class,” she says. “I’ve been extremely impressed by my fellow classmates, and I really appreciate their willingness to help me in subjects I hadn’t been exposed to before.”

After a summer internship at DaVita, a health care company in Denver, Greenbaum intends to pursue a career as a general manager, possibly in the health care sector. Her time at HBS has helped her to focus on her future career. “I definitely want to work for a mission-driven company,” she concludes.

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