Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA
Undergraduate University: United States Coast Guard Academy
Class Year: 2010
Major/Minor: Business Administration/Finance
Current Employer: United States Coast Guard
After four years of academic and military rigor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Virginia Beach native Matt Keith headed out to sea for a multiple-year assignment chasing drug runners and protecting the shores from adversaries. When he returned, he was assigned to a unit in New Orleans where he coordinated search and rescue operations, organized incident command systems for federal response to natural disasters and national emergencies, and participated in antiterrorism and law enforcement operations. He then moved to Baton Rouge, where he served as a department official responsible for the pollution and law enforcement-antiterrorism divisions. It was at this juncture that he pursued admission into a full-time MBA program.
"To be competitive to make commander in the Coast Guard, you need to have a master's degree. I knew I would learn a lot more and establish a much better network, and I'd rather the experience of being a full-time college student really for the first time in my life—so all of those things factored into my decision to do the full-time program," he says.
As a native to the area, he knew William & Mary's reputation and had even been accepted as an undergraduate, but chose to attend the U.S. Coast Guard Academy for financial reasons. When it came time to apply to graduate school, Matt only applied to one full-time MBA program—William & Mary's. His acceptance into the program fulfilled a long-time dream to attend the university and afforded his wife and three children the opportunity to move closer to home.
Though he describes the program as a lot of work and challenging. Matt credits the faculty and his fellow students for an overall positive experience thus far.
"The methods [the faculty] use really helps the knowledge stick for the long term. I'm not just cramming a bunch of information, then taking an exam and forgetting it," he says. "Everyone at William & Mary has a positive outlook on life. Everybody is optimistic about their future—the world is their oyster. It's refreshing to see smiling faces. Everyone is pleasant, networking and talking to each other, actually making genuine connections."
Matt incurs a four-year commitment to the U.S. Coast Guard upon graduation. His next assignment will send him to a budget office working as either a comptroller or to the budget management division, where he will work in a headquarters or district office. He plans to leverage his combined active duty service experience and MBA after he retires from the military into a position in private wealth management.