Nov 06, 2020

Forging a New Career Path after Military Service

By Brian Ries T’00

I will be honest, when I matriculated into Tuck in 1998, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career, or even what my options were. Having graduated from Annapolis, I always envisioned that I would retire as a submarine office after 20 plus years and become a high school physics teacher. After my first tour in the Navy, I decided I did not want that lifestyle for 20 years, but I did not know what I wanted to do.

I came to the conclusion an MBA was necessary to enter the public sector. I had never seen financial accounting, and credits and debits were foreign terms to me. But what sort of program was right for someone like me? Not knowing what I wanted to be, I knew I needed a program that covered a wide spectrum of business functions, and I also wanted a community that was tightknit—where my professors knew me personally, and if I needed help, I was not a random face in a crowd.

Truth be known, my knowledge of Tuck came from the fact that my brother earned his master’s degree from The Thayer School after he graduated from Annapolis. The more I investigated Tuck, the more it seemed to fit my needs and desires for an MBA experience.

Tuck did not let me down. I was exposed to a broad range of business disciplines. I even had the opportunity to study operations and logistics in Germany my second year, and my capstone was a tech startup case study. Spring of my second year at Tuck, I still did not know quite where I fit in the business world. In the process of explaining business strategy to a Boston startup, the CEO offered me a job right after class. My professor let me know this is the sort of person I should be working for. My experiences there and beyond have led me to my current role in technology strategy at Toro.

It does not often happen that way (getting a spontaneous job offer), but it worked out. And, I had great professors who gave me guidance about where my skills fit. I love all my classmates who understood the Naval nuclear engineer who had no business knowledge. My first term study group still keeps in touch, which speaks to the bond and closeness of the Tuck community.

To not know what you want to do when you transition from the military is okay. Tuck is a great place to find your place, and the closeness and support of the community cannot be overrated in helping you navigate a new career path.

Makena Timmins

Brian Ries T’00 graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1993 and spent five years in the U.S. Navy as a submarine officer. Currently, he is a senior manager for data technologies at The Toro Company in Minneapolis, MN where he helps drive enterprise strategy for Smart Connected Products (SCP).