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Darla Moore School of Business

  • Image of Sterling Davidson in his graduation cap and gown with his wife and son

From the army to aerospace company

MBA recent graduate and Army vet launching finance career with multinational conglomerate

Moore School recent MBA graduate and U.S. Army veteran Sterling Davidson (’22 MBA) is combining the skills from his military background and MBA courses to begin a finance career with an international Forbes 500 aerospace company.

After his May graduation, Davidson will begin working with Raytheon Intelligence and Space, an aerospace and defense company, as a finance manager working remotely in Houston, Texas.

Davidson said the Moore School’s Full-Time MBA program has prepared him well for a new career path after his military service. While transitioning from the military to a full-time graduate program, Davidson said it can be especially challenging when candidates need to balance their coursework with family responsibilities, but balance is possible.

“I am a husband and a father to a 1-year-old son, and a good balance between the MBA program and your family is definitely achievable,” he said. “The MBA program is just like working a full-time job, and the better you manage your time, the better you’ll do at achieving a good balance with the family.”

Before joining the Full-Time MBA program, Davidson was a company commander of the 82nd Airborne Division in the Army. During his time with the division, he served at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in Iraq.

As he transitions from active-duty military to his career outside of the Army, Davidson said the experiences he had in the MBA program set him up for success. Davidson utilized several Moore School and military-focused networking and career readiness programs to help him make the most of his move from the Army and the Full-Time MBA program to his new position with Raytheon.

“Enrolling in the Moore School MBA program gave me a competitive advantage, time to evaluate what career path I wanted to take and helped sharpen my business acumen,” he said.  “I am extremely thankful for the support I received from other transitioning veterans, the 50-Strong career readiness platform, the Veterati mentor platform, the Moore School Office of Career Management and the Veteran MBA Conference and Career Expo.”

Along with the resources the Moore School provides, Davidson chose the Full-Time MBA program thanks to his previous experiences with a joint program between the Army and USC’s Center for Executive Education.

“I fell in love with the Moore School when I earned my Enterprise Resource Planning Systems Graduate Certificate and Business Analytics Graduate Certificate through the partnered Army and USC joint program,” Davidson said. “The professors and entire experience was amazing, and I couldn’t wait to come back and complete my MBA.”

Once in the MBA program, Davidson says the soft skills he took from the military helped benefit him and his peers in their coursework.

“I relied heavily on my ability to efficiently manage my time and the time of others, to lead meetings and take ownership of assigned projects, communicate effectively and consistently contribute your best individual and group work,” he said.

While strengthening his soft skills, Davidson said the many hard skills he gained in the MBA program have helped him prepare to enter a corporate career.

“I’ve learned to look at finance, supply chain, marketing, economics and strategy through an international business viewpoint,” he said. “I’ve also improved my technical skills with Microsoft Excel, Power BI and Tableau applications.”

As he neared the end of his coursework, Davidson also took advantage of the resources the Full-Time MBA program provided to help him in his job search.

“I received a lot of valuable advice and support from the Moore School’s Office of Career Management, especially from Doug Hanslip and Louis Dessau, during the job hunt and made sure to attend all the offered career fairs until I landed the job I wanted,” he said.

In the future, Davidson said he hopes to continue to climb the corporate financial ladder while also finding time to give back to those who served in the armed forces.

“I see myself as an experienced and highly marketable employee in a corporate finance and strategy position with room for continued career growth,” he said. “I also see myself giving back and supporting other veterans with their career transition.”

Davidson intends to continue serving in the Army Reserves when he begins his position at Raytheon.

-James Culbertson

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