University of Kentucky MBA Career Success Story features Wright Patterson Air Force Base

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), located in the northeast of Dayton, Ohio, has been a proud partner and employer of the University of Kentucky MBA program at the Gatton College of Business and Economics. WPAFB is one of the largest, most diverse, and organizationally complex bases in the United States Air Force with a long history of flight tests spanning from the Wright Brothers into the Space Age. With over 27,000 employees, including military, civilian and contractors, Wright-Patterson is the largest single site employer in the state of Ohio with an economic impact of $4.2 billion per year.

Over the years, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has consistently shared positive feedback on the value and skills that the UK MBA talent bring to their organization. 

U.S. Air Force Program Management Recruiters Amanda Jenkins and Mindy Skinner say, " When interviewing UK MBA students, they are very prepared. They give real world experience or examples in their responses, and they demonstrate problem solving skills. It is a true reflection on the academic advisors and career staff on how prepared the candidates are from the moment they walk through the door. They display maturity and ambition. As a result, many of the UK MBA students that we've hired are first to secure advancement and leadership opportunities." 

The WPAFB base is headquarters for a vast, worldwide logistics system, a world-class laboratory research function and is the foremost acquisition and development center in the U.S. Air Force. Dozens of associate organizations representing a broad spectrum of Air Force and Department of Defense activities call Wright-Patterson home. 

"Our program develops and grows the graduates into future United States Air Force (USAF) leaders," says Amanda and Mindy. "They rotate through 3 different systems giving them experience on managing the USAF acquisition process including cost, schedule and performance on programs ranging from $5,000 to $50M or more. Some of our current trainees travel all over the world supporting the USAF Warfighter. Once they complete the program, they can apply for promotions, relocate to another state or country or move within the Federal Government and take their benefits with them." 

Many alumni of the One Year MBA program at Gatton have found their beginning and continuing at Wright Patterson AFB, like Taylor Corbett. Taylor was a graduate of the highly competitive Engineering/MBA Dual Degree program, which is a joint program between the College of Engineering and the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky. 

“Being a program manager in the Department of Defense is a unique and exciting way for me to serve my country," says Taylor. "My UK MBA equipped me with the tools to manage all stakeholders involved in delivering vital capabilities to our nation’s war fighters. Finding strategic ways to improve the schedule and performance of our projects while executing taxpayer dollars accountably is crucial to my role. In addition, I’ve gotten the opportunity to travel all over the country (including Los Angeles, Boston, San Antonio, Phoenix, and New York City) to support our missions.”

Taylor also benefited from utilizing the in-house career management services team at Gatton called the Graham Office of Career Management. Graham is dedicated to assisting students in their career development process and employment success by working closely with employers from Kentucky and beyond who seek world-ready UK MBA graduates. WPAFB is one of many organizations/companies that Graham works with to support students in their career success. 

Regarding how to best prepare for a career with WPAFB, Amanda and Mindy say, "Students interested in a career with Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) need to demonstrate leadership abilities. That can be as easy as taking an active role within your group projects, volunteering to be a leader in your extra-curricular activities, or just going above and beyond by taking on an extra assignment or helping when it is not expected. In addition, strong public speaking and presentation skills is essential. Finally, students need to focus on being good role models, mentoring others and demonstrating self-motivation. By practicing and perfecting all of these skills, you can be the next distinguished USAF leader." 

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base's is home to the Air Force Materiel Command, one of the major commands of the Air Force and is also the location of a major USAF Medical Center, the Air Force Institute of Technology and the National Museum of the United States Air Force (formerly known as the U.S. Air Force Museum). It is also the home base of the 445th Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserve Command, an Air Mobility Command-gained unit which flies the C-17 Globemaster heavy airlifter. Wright-Patterson is also the headquarters of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and the Air Force Research Laboratory.  The base covers more than 8,000 acres of land (12.5 square miles) and provides operational support for more than 100 associate units located at Wright-Patterson. The major units at WPAFB include 88th Air Base Wing, Air Force Materiel CommandAir Force Life Cycle Management CenterAir Force Research Laboratory, National Air and Space Intelligence Center445th Airlift WingAir Force Institute of TechnologyAir Force Installation Contracting Agency and the National Museum of the United States Air Force.