U.S. Army National Guard Squad Leader Justin Butler acquired many valuable skills in the military, and these proficiencies are helping him to excel as a student in the first cohort of UNC Charlotte’s Master of Science in Management degree program.
A 2006 graduate of West Rowan High School, Butler joined the Army National Guard in 2009, where he was assigned to the infantry.
During his nearly 10-year stint, he was deployed to Jordan where he oversaw the training and preparation of more than 500 Jordanian soldiers. Beyond language barriers and the oppressive heat of the Middle East, Butler dealt with equipment challenges and gaps in skills level. Yet, he learned collaboration, decisiveness and tenacity—all, which combined with the business acumen he is learning as a graduate student, will serve him well in virtually any industry.
His ability to lead teams of individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures represents how military training is applicable to civilian life. As one of 27 students in the inaugural group pursuing an M.S. in Management, Butler is helping to build cohesion among his classmates, which enables all students to work toward their academic goals.
Another military skill, decisiveness, was key to Butler’s career as a guardsman. Quick action is required in various military scenarios, and being able to think swiftly and authoritatively is of immense help with team projects and presentations. Also, he is building the capacity to transfer this skill set in preparation for a corporate setting.
Tenacity is another quality that Butler honed during service stateside and abroad. He is comfortable with the M.S. in Management’s organizational structure, and like most veterans, he is disciplined and self-reliant.
During his undergraduate years at UNC Charlotte, Butler sought out leadership opportunities; he served as new member educator for his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, and he volunteered with the nonprofit Miracle League and the Ability Experience, a philanthropic effort to support individuals with disabilities.
After completing a bachelor’s degree in political science in May 2018, Butler explored pursuing a graduate degree in business. He was working at Best Buy and became enthralled with sales analytics. He learned how the M.S. in Management was designed for young professionals without prior business education experience and decided it would be the perfect complement for his career aspirations.
“Belk College’s M.S. in Management is a structured program, which makes it a nice transition from military to graduate school,” said Butler. “I really recommend other veterans consider it as an option because of the many correlations between military service and the degree program. And don’t be intimidated, because the student/professor ratio is ideal, and you will be learning in a small cohort, where everyone works together.”
Butler also appreciates how the program leaders structured the program to focus on career exploration.
“I really like how tailored and targeted the professional development is within Belk College,” he added. “I’m considering a career in the corporate environment, and the college excels with support around the job search process.”