Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Undergraduate University: United States Military Academy at West Point
Class Year: 2009
Major/Minor: Applied Science/Life Science
Current Employer: United States Army
In early 2017, Lynn Jones received a call from his branch manager recommending that he apply for a master's degree program at William & Mary through the Major General James Wright (MGJW) fellowship program, a partnership between the business school's full-time MBA program and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). At the time, Lynn and his family were stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. He had never heard of William & Mary, but his interest was piqued.
"I asked all of the questions. I asked my wife if she would support me. I applied and then eight months later I heard back that I had made it through the first two gates," he says. "I didn't think much of it and then finally I got the email saying I was accepted into the program."
Though he describes the MGJW fellowship as intense, Lynn sees the value that an MBA can bring to the operational Army.
"Everything that we learn in the military can be applied to the civilian sector. But sometimes some of the stuff that we think we learn in the civilian sector can't be applied to the military, so this program helps bridge that gap," he explains.
Since joining the full-time cohort, Lynn has particularly enjoyed the different speakers the program has brought in to share their career breaks, losses of faith, and regained momentum. He cites former General Motors CEO and U.S. Naval Academy graduate Dan Ackerson as a specific speaker whose story left a lasting impact on him.
Lynn also cites the overall diversity and perspectives of the cohort members as well as the support of faculty and staff for enriching his experience.
"We have students from all walks of life. Every individual in this program is going to be a leader in some type of capacity, whether it's for a small start-up business or CEO of a Fortune 500 company. It's helped me to get out of my comfort zone a little bit because for the last ten years, I've been living military," he says. "It's good to take a step back. There are people in our country who really appreciate the military and there's people who really want to develop the leaders for tomorrow, not only professionally, but personally, intellectually, physically, and mentally."
His experience in the MBA program as a MGJW fellow has allowed Lynn to draw parallels between civilian business practices with the military. As he moves into more senior management and leadership roles in his future assignments, Lynn feels the program will give him the skills necessary to not only be successful in solving complex problems with his military colleagues but with the civilian workforce that supports the daily mission.
"I think that what you put in to the MBA program is what you get out of it," he says. "What I want to know is that when I leave here, I will be confident in the skills that I've learned, I'm in a position where I know that I am a lifelong learner, and that I can impact someone else and grow their spirit and influence based on my experience," he says.