From Coast Guard to MBA Student

Class of 2020 full-time MBA student Matt Keith grew up in Virginia Beach, VA and earned a Bachelor of Science in Management from the United States Coast Guard Academy. He joins the School of Business family as a current Active Duty member of the Coast Guard with over 8 years of experience as an Officer.

I got into William & Mary as a senior in high school but could not afford the tuition, so I chose to go to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on a full scholarship instead. During Swab Summer (bootcamp), there were times I wanted nothing more than to quit. They took my cell phone, shaved my head, and for the first two weeks, my mail system was not working. In other words, I was completely cut-off from the outside world. At 18 years-old, I had to dig deep within myself to find the strength to go on without quitting. The rigors of a military academy were not easy, nor were the months at sea and the multiple relocations throughout the country that followed. However, 12 years later I am here at William & Mary and can assuredly say the journey was well worth it.

As an Officer in the Coast Guard, I had a strong desire to branch out from my current specialties in Maritime Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, and Pollution Response. I decided to pursue my MBA to open the doors to the finance and budgeting sectors of the Coast Guard. My diploma will also help forge a path for me into the corporate world when I retire or leave the service.

I will be at yet another crossroads in five years as I will be at the end of my service requirement in the Coast Guard. The choice will be between continuing to serve my country as an active duty member of the armed forces, or pursuing a different path in the private sector. Armed with over 15 years of leadership experience at that point and my William & Mary MBA, I am confident either path will lead to success

Fun Fact about Matt

I was the captain of a few sports teams at Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia Beach, VA, but I am most proud of the fact that I was a 3-year captain of the school's Oceanographic Science Quiz Bowl Team. We competed against teams from all over the state and took home multiple regional championships. I specialized in plate tectonics.