Ryan Martin, Professional Evening MBA

Syracuse, New York

“I feel that bringing in diverse business backgrounds is vital to an MBA program, at both the faculty and student levels, and Dean Freeman’s vision is spot-on in achieving this.”

Navy officer makes the most of shippin’ up to Boston

Whatever work experience you might bring to Boston University Questrom School of Business, Ryan Martin probably has you beat. That’s because he spent almost 900 days underwater (143 of them consecutively) as the operations officer on a US Navy nuclear submarine. After that, he did what any seasoned submarine officer would do: he made a radical, daring move out of the navy. To Ernst & Young.

“Although it doesn’t seem like a clear fit,” Ryan admits, “many of the ‘hard’ skills and every single one of my ‘soft’ skills I learned in the navy are applicable at Ernst & Young. My current role truly does seem like a blend of my education and career since college. I’ve mixed the technical, IT skills learned at college with my leadership, management, project management, and operational risk skills learned from the navy.”

Even if it’s a long way from the chilly waters under the Arctic Ocean to Commonwealth Avenue, BU was always on Ryan’s radar, so to speak. “I actually chose BU during my time with Ernst & Young in New York, before I ever came to Boston,” he says. “My choice of BU was quite simple: I was looking for the best part-time program in Boston. Of primary importance was the school rankings. I looked at a handful of publications to see how BU was perceived in the market, both historically and looking forward. I also felt it important that a business graduate school both leverage the strength of its students, yet give the flexibility to maintain a career at the same time. Finally, I considered the school’s outlook and vision. I was immediately impressed with Dean Freeman’s vision for Questrom, and the energy he exudes in getting students involved in making it happen.”

Now that his MBA is well underway, Ryan has had a wealth of positive experiences, one of which came in his accounting and financial reporting course, taught by Dr. Nishi Sinha. “The course directly applies to my daily job,” Ryan says, “as I assist with the IT controls side of financial audits. However, Dr. Sinha took it a step further and explained why we were treating financials in a certain way, and the impacts it would have when viewed as an outsider. It was very interesting, and Dr. Sinha did a superb job of guiding us through it.”

Moving forward, Ryan is very clear about the course he wants to take. “I’ve focused on an MBA for two primary reasons,” he explains. “I recognize that my engineering-heavy education to date has clearly lacked in providing a business and finance background, and one of my main goals is to continue to grow at Ernst & Young and ultimately help lead the company as an executive. Second, I’m interested in satisfying the requirements for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) examination.”

Full steam ahead.