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Darla Moore School of Business

  • Image of Col. Richard L. Williams at the Moore School

Gaining new opportunities

Professional MBA program opening doors for administrative and entrepreneurial ventures for U.S. Army dental scientist and medical acquisition officer

Already a well-respected Army clinician and scientist, Professional MBA graduate Col. Richard L. Williams (’22 MBA) chose to acquire his MBA to help him pursue administrative roles in either the Army or a dental school and consider entrepreneurial ventures with some of his colleagues.

Williams has served in numerous roles in the past 34 years with the Army in active and reserve roles. Some of the positions he has held include commander, brigade dental surgeon, wound healing scientist, acquisition manager and principal investigator.

Currently, Williams’ assignment is deputy commander, professor and periodontics mentor for the Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency Program at the Dental Health Activity at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

The need to gain a better understanding of the constant innovation in today’s market was a big reason why Williams decided to go back to school to pursue an MBA.

“Although I was privileged to have served on many U.S. Department of Defense-level decision boards, I knew a deeper understanding of what really drives successful management of innovation and technology transfer was still needed,” he said. “This is especially important given how quickly new technologies are introduced every year.”

Since joining the Professional MBA program, Williams says he has enjoyed his interactions with peers from other fields.

“My favorite experience has been interactions with people from various business communities — marketing, production and other backgrounds,” he said. “The group projects, of course coupled with an amazingly comprehensive curriculum, leaves me confident to engage with leaders in any business environment to move our organizations forward.”

After his first two semesters, Williams decided to get his Business Analytics Graduate Certificate to compliment his MBA concentration in entrepreneurship and innovation. He says it was one of the best academic decisions he has made and that it immediately provided him with in-demand skillsets.

“I was introduced to many powerful tools, programs and techniques, which will enable me to bring added value to the military medical enterprise,” Williams said.

In June 2022, Williams will relocate to Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he will be chief of the Division of Dental Science and senior instructor at the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence.

“I will oversee a staff of 34 instructors, responsible for the development and delivery of all dental-related content and Programs of Instruction, including the dental management development course, dental laboratory technician course and more,” he said. “Moreover, the job comes with ex-officio/voting membership on the Army Dental Corps Executive Committee-Strategic.”

In the future, Williams says he plans to continue his service with the Army Medical Command at the strategic level and possibly utilize his new skills to pursue a role with the Defense Health Agency’s Office of Business Transformation. He has also not ruled out other personal business ventures thanks to the concepts he has learned in the Professional MBA program.

“Thinking forward, I anticipate joining the full-time faculty of a medical or dental school and serving at the administrative level,” Williams said. “My background in science and education, combined with the training I received in the Professional MBA program, has prepared me to perform well in various leadership posts. Furthermore, I have not ruled out business opportunities with a few of my colleagues, which did not seem realistic before I enrolled in the Professional MBA program.”

For students considering joining the PMBA program, Williams advises them to just go for it.

“You can never go wrong with reinventing yourself just as successful businesses must do, constantly,” he said. “The Professional MBA program will allow you to set yourself apart from your peers and bring more value to your organizations at the same time.”

As his time with the Professional MBA program comes to a close, Williams reflects on the growth he encountered during his time at USC.

“I believe the Professional MBA program functioned as a critical leader development opportunity for me,” Williams said. “Not only did I grow intellectually, but I learned important concepts in collaboration, teamwork and establishing strategic partnerships. I am truly grateful for the education and experiences.”

-James Culbertson

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