Rising to the Top through an MBA

Dominic Valentini has been around the world and back. As an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Officer in the US Navy, he has been deployed to Afghanistan, the Middle East and is now stationed in Nevada for the next 2 years. His higher education journey started in 2006 at the US Naval Academy where he earned his Bachelor's of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Following graduation he focused on explosive ordnance disposal and furthered his understanding on that through the Navy School Explosive Ordnance Disposal program.

After returning to the US from his most recent deployment, Dominic heard radio ads about Arizona State University’s online MBA program. Knowing that higher education equates to faster advancement in the Navy, and that an on-ground program wasn’t an option, Dominic took the GMAT and was accepted into ASU’s Masters of Business Administration program in November 2015. He hit the ground running the following January.

“I thought about getting a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering since that is my background, but I didn’t want something so narrow or to feel boxed into one specific area. I was looking for a degree that has the widest application while still being useful and business permeates everything we do. This way I’ll have my Naval experience and formal education credentials.”

Dominic’s day starts at 3:30AM, he heads to swim practice, works a full day and then starts on his school work. Many nights he will have virtual meetings with his 5-person group from class, which helps him feel connected. He advises that there is a lot of group work in the MBA program and his group has established a good system, that includes frequent meetings, assigning a group lead and using Google Docs, to ensure everyone does their part.

This is Dominic’s first online-only learning experience. He enjoys how sequential the program is and that he is in a cohort, so has the same group of classmates throughout the program. The intense 5 week sessions, followed by a week off, allow him to plan ahead and know exactly when he’ll have a break. He likes the discussion boards because they help him understand different perspectives and he loves that the professors go out of their way to encourage dialogue between classmates and to make sure everyone understands concepts.

“With an online program you really need to have focus and drive. There is no professor to lecture you, and no where you have to physically be, it’s 100% on you. Online learning has a lot of advantages. My schedule is very busy and having the ability to watch the lectures whenever I want makes me successful in this program.”

This program will make Dominic at the top 10% of his peer group in The Navy. Upon completion of the program he will be able to to more effectively communicate with civilian contractors, negotiate contracts and work with small business owners. Dominic is also a Pat Tillman Scholar and will travel to the Tempe campus to present on explosive ordinance disposal to ROTC students in November, 2016.

His advice to students considering ASU’s online MBA program?

“Do it! Manage your time, remain focused and be prepared to sprint.”

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