Lieutenant Commander Christopher W. Petro has served in the US Navy since 1993. Seeking a wider range of skills, critical thinking and experience to enhance his leadership ability in the military, he applied for the Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) MBA program. Lieutenant Commander Petro was accepted into the program in 2006 as part of his shore duty and completed his Rady School MBA in 2008. Since then, Lieutenant Commander Petro has served as an executive officer on the USS Gladiator and USS Champion and is now currently serving as a commanding officer on the USS Champion. Lieutenant Commander Petro reflects below on why the Rady School was the right fit for him and how he leveraged his Rady MBA to advance his career within the military.
Out of the eight schools in the Navy’s SWO MBA Program, why did you select the Rady School for your MBA?
Apart from the desirable location, I had confidence that the quality of education would be high based on the history of both the reputation of the UC school system and Ernest Rady. The Rady School’s classes were relatively small in comparison to other schools, and Rady’s faculty and staff seemed top-notch. With high-caliber educators and small class sizes, I believed I would receive a more personalized and deeper learning experience than I would elsewhere.
How did Rady contribute to your military advancement?
My Rady experience made me a better leader, a better person and was ideal for my professional development. I have been on active duty for almost 22 years now. I spend just about all of my time surrounded by like-minded military personnel. While we are a diverse bunch, we have the tendency to think and act quite a bit alike. Rady was my first opportunity as an officer to interact with civilian/business professionals for an extended period of time. The personal interaction both in and outside the classroom with such a diverse group really opened my eyes to the different perspectives people bring to the table. This has improved my ability to respond to the differences in those I interact with in the military.
What was your most memorable Rady experience?
For me, it is always about the people. They make or break every duty assignment. The faculty and staff at Rady were genuinely invested in each and every student’s success. My peers made my Rady experience even greater. Everyone looked out for each other and everyone was willing and able to assist their fellow classmates. Students were encouraged to form their own groups and clubs based on their professional and personal interests. This provided a great opportunity for us to share new ideas and experiences.
What skills from your Rady MBA do you use for your new command?
Currently, I am charged with mission accomplishment coupled with the continued improvement in mission readiness of the ship and crew. My command is subject to every sort of manning, training, logistic and material issue you can imagine. I use a piece of just about everything I was exposed to at Rady, especially as the Commanding Officer of a ship. Each and every day provides a new challenge and a new leadership opportunity.
What are the greatest benefits your combined military and Rady MBA skills bring to the Navy?
My Rady MBA enables me to apply critical thinking to military operations. My combined skills give me the ability to take a complex problem, identify the desired end state and the variables that impact that state, make sound decisions based on limited knowledge in a time-restricted environment, and then utilize various feedback mechanisms to measure the success and ultimately achieve the desire goal.
Want to learn more about Rady’s MBA for military? Find out how Rady can help you transition from the military or advance your military career by downloading our MBA Insights eBook.
Aleena Karamally is a student writer for the Rady School and a freshman at UC San Diego. She is a Human Development major and a member of the UC San Diego Equestrian Team.