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Kevin Lachat

Program: Online
Graduation: MBA 2018

Current title/organization: Civil Engineer Corps Officer, U.S. Navy

Q: Why did you choose the NC State Jenkins MBA program for your graduate education?

A: I was stationed at Camp Lejeune for two years, and wanted a program that I could complete with a mix of online and weekend face-to-face courses. Really enjoyed the flexibility of the program and ability for me to not be just another online student, but truly immerse in campus life and all resources available.

Q: What did you enjoy most about your time in the Jenkins MBA program?

A: My experience had immediate impacts on my Navy career and my side woodworking business. As a Navy Civil Engineer, I am constantly leading diverse teams, negotiating, communicating across multiple platforms and venues, and maybe most importantly, public speaking and briefing engagements to seek funding, program support, and resources. The Jenkins MBA added numerous tools to my kit, and empowered me as an engineer to truly think with a business mindset in everything I do. Additionally, while studying for my MBA I launched Kev’s Woodworking, LLC, where I get to put some of my marketing skills to work on Instagram and Etsy while refining my craft.

Q: What did you enjoy most about your time in the Jenkins MBA program?

A: Traveling to Raleigh for weekend courses was hands-down my favorite part. I enjoyed getting to break away from the typical online student norm, and get to immerse and network with other local and online students face-to-face. Being able to complete a majority of the program online was critical to my success, but the flexibility to take electives in Raleigh really made the program personal and intimate.

Q: What do you miss most now that you have graduated?

A: The camaraderie and networking aspects. As an active duty military member, majority of my days/weeks are spent with other military members. Rarely do I get to truly interact with men and women outside the armed forces on a professional or social aspect. The Jenkins MBA provided a great avenue for me to widen the aperture and gain a global business perspective.

Q: What are your lasting impressions of the Jenkins MBA program?

A: 100% Positive. I’ve recommended it numerous times to friends and military colleagues. The program truly met my needs and has change my overall outlook as an engineer, military officer, and entrepreneur.

Q: What are a few of the most impactful classes/lessons you learned during your time at NC State?

A: Study Abroad (Negotiating course in Nice, France) with Prof. Henard provided a fun and insightful opportunity to learn key negotiating skills with an international lens. I also thoroughly enjoyed Prof. Kirkman’s leadership courses and insightful research.

Q: What advice would you give for prospective and current students who are interested in your industry/profession?

A: Widen your outlook and perspective. Engineers must understand business on a global scale, and an MBA is truly the best way to capture that mindset and develop critical skills to succeed in the ;eld. As a military officer it’s even more important to have a wide base to learn from, so the ability to soak in as much leadership, management, and ethics courses as you can early in your career will pay off.

Q: What advice do you have for prospective Jenkins MBA students?

A: Take advantage of all opportunities the program affords you. Go on a study abroad, take a night or weekend class. Network and attend social events. Engage with faculty and colleagues on more than just coursework. Get the Wall Street Journal and follow the news as you go through the program…the laser-focus you’ll have on your coursework will materialize as you widen the lens and better understand major headlines throughout the world.

Q: Could you give a brief explanation of your current line of work, and what has led you to it?

A: Active Duty U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps O]cer. Responsible for all facets of construction, contracting, public works, capital improvements, utilities, infrastructure, and environmental initiatives across all Navy and Marine Corps bases worldwide. Navy Civil Engineers also lead the Navy Construction Battalions (Seabees), a distinguished group of builders and tradesmen who operate worldwide through disaster relief and humanitarian aid missions, including partnerships with the State Department in developing nations. Simply put, I was an engineer who wanted to serve and make a difference in the world, big or small. The Navy continues to provide that opportunity, and the mission of Seabees continues to be relevant and impactful across the world.

Q: What do you believe is your most interesting accomplishment since graduation?

A: Led a multi-year planning study to revitalize and rehabilitate over 265,000 square feet and $400M worth of critical facilities, infrastructure, and real estate development to meet Navy operational requirements and enhance mission capabilities in Virginia.

Q: What are your goals and plans for the future?

A: Continue my Navy career and working towards retirement and transition back to the civilian world. Goal is to operate an engineering consulting business, and dedicate more time towards my woodworking hobby.