UW-Platteville grad student uses education to prepare for life after military

Christopher Gordon

Christopher Gordon knows the importance of preparing for a mission – his 18-and-a-half years in the military ensured that. Now, he's training for a mission that will take him outside of his comfort zone – life as a civilian.

"I'm just preparing for uncertainty," Gordon said. "And preparing to do well."

Gordon currently works as a recruitment specialist for the Wisconsin Army National Guard. His military career will come to an end in 2024, and Gordon is turning to education to prepare him for the next step in his journey. So despite juggling a wife, four kids, and a career, Gordon worked hard to earn his Master of Science in Organizational Change Leadership degree.

"Education is extremely important. I enjoy reading and learning anyway, so I might as well get credit for it," Gordon said. "It does make it hectic at times, does make it stressful. But as long as you keep pushing forward and stay focused on what you need to do, you find ways to get it all done."

Gordon originally set out to gain his MBA, even taking a few courses in a program, but found it was not the right fit. He said the learning style and content focus did not mesh with his educational and career goals, leading him to seek more specialized programs. 

"An MBA is a quality education, but it's very status quo orientated,” he said. “In the world we live in today, the status quo is constantly being challenged and changed. I like the strategic portion of it to where there's still learning the status quo, but you also learn to employ management styles, systems and procedures in a strategic fashion that is going to enhance an organization."

Despite completing a master's degree, Gordon wants to continue to expand his knowledgebase and marketability. So he decided to continue his education by enrolling in the Master of Science in Strategic Management.

"Through the program, I became so much more mentally and emotionally agile, and it really showed me some weaknesses I had," Gordon said. "If all you have is management, then you don't have growth. But if all you have is leadership, then you have direction, but you also have chaos. The combination of both disciplines and knowing when to implement them is very important. I think these are really good programs, and I'm getting a lot out of it."

Gordon believes the two degrees will give him a well-rounded set of skills that will make him an asset to any organization. He plans to graduate with his strategic management master's degree by 2024, just in time to begin his life as a civilian.