Hometown: Burke, VA
Undergraduate University: United States Military Academy at West Point
Class Year: 2009
Major/Minor: Systems Engineering
Employer: United States Army
After commissioning in 2009, Steven Hojnicki served over nine years with U.S. Army units in Oklahoma, Colorado, Hawaii, and Germany, including one combat deployment to Afghanistan. An artilleryman by trade, Steven was looking for his next professional opportunity when he came across William & Mary's Major General James Wright (MGJW) fellowship program.
"A business degree, especially an MBA, offered a mix of what I was looking for, being advanced leadership techniques, different approaches to complex problems, a diverse classroom, and managerial skills to improve processes," he says. "These are important to the Army, and they're things I can learn and put right back into practice in my current career field."
After reviewing the criteria for the MGJW fellowship and speaking with his branch manager, Steven submitted his packet for consideration. Shortly after, he connected with Amanda Barth, Director of Admissions for the Full-Time MBA program, who emphasized the program's high-quality education, the new concepts and tools he would acquire, and how the Executive Partners program would help refine his leadership skills to take back to the military upon completion of the program.
"It's inclusive. It's career-enhancing. There's a great opportunity for mentorship through the Executive Partners program," he says. "You can learn fundamental courses anywhere in the world, but you won't get this hands-on experience, help, and mentorship anywhere else."
Once he was accepted into the program, Steven and his family quickly moved from their duty station in Germany to Williamsburg so he could begin summer classes with the 2019 MGJW fellowship cohort. After orientation with the rest of the incoming class, Steven was assigned a learning team and quickly delved into the rigorous first-year curriculum.
"What William & Mary has offered me is time and focus to really work on these skills and improve them," he says. "Every day, I come and get to learn from a diverse set of classmates. I've been able to broaden my perspective on leadership and how different people can approach it. I've enjoyed very much the discussions in class and the learning team process."
Upon completion of the MBA portion of the MGJW fellowship, Steven will be assigned to Army Futures Command. His future roles will be less about direct day-to-day contact with soldiers and more so will involve driving organizational change by using the knowledge, skills, and tools he's acquired in a civilian graduate program and applying them to solve complex problems in the military.
"I want to be someone who is able to look at problems and systems and refine them to produce optimal solutions. I think that William & Mary has given me a solid foundational understanding of approaches to do that, and they are different from what I've learned through my military education and career experiences," he concludes.