Officer in Canadian Armed Forces completes MBA courses while deployed halfway around the world
Alexander Landry is an Engineering Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces with a passion for lifelong learning.
It was a combination of his passion for learning, and the recognition that management and administration play an essential role in a military officer’s deployment that inspired him to earn his MBA.
He chose UFred after it was recommended to him by a peer upon his arrival at 2 Combat Engineer Regiment in Petawawa, Ont. The flexibility of all coursework being 100% online was a selling point for Alexander, especially considering the potential he would deploy.
“I was able to complete a series of classes while deployed halfway across the world, mostly due to the flexibility instructors offered and self-paced learning environment,” he said.
As a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, Alexander chose the Global Leadership stream because he saw the value of being able to lead and work within international teams in the future.
“Particularly considering I already had been on an expeditionary deployment to Ukraine in 2018,” said Alexander. “Accordingly, this specialty stream provided me with further insight into the development and sustainment of global networks, be they on small scales of virtual teams, or at the larger level of globalizing organizations.”
Alexander believes his peer groups fostered an environment of personal growth through discussion and teamwork while exploring the various topics covered throughout the program.
“Working with people from across a plethora of industries and from differing backgrounds offered me the ability to look into different work cultures and organizations that I would not have otherwise likely been privy to in my military career,” he said.
He appreciated that the instructors have strong academic backgrounds and offer perspectives from a wide variety of organizations and industries.
“The common characteristic they all shared was their ability to challenge students in a positive manner, which was a proponent to the learning environment at this institution,” Alexander said.
He added that knowledge development is fostered through a self-made learning plan that includes discussion posts, learning forums, individual assignments and team projects.
“Throughout the entire experience, instructors were only an email or call away to provide insight on the material with their vast array of experience from their personal lives.”
The highlight of Alexander’s experience was the Enterprise Integration Project, a team effort that serves as a capstone to the entire program. This guided process offers a real-life evaluation of an organization, which allows the team to provide constructive advice to the leadership of a real company.
“Throughout the final presentation, it was evident that the leadership was incredibly receptive to our analysis, and that we, as a team of students, had potentially spurred sustainable, positive growth for a real industry leader.”
Although Alexander says he learned an abundance of knowledge throughout the program, the biggest takeaway is the ability to look at an organization using a systems approach.
“By understanding the intrinsic systems that make up any organization – be it within the military or any civilian corporation – you can then identify what works and where the bottlenecks are causing inefficiencies,” he added.
Most recently, Alexander was posted back to the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering, where he works as an Engineer Instructor.
“Within my organization of the Canadian Armed Forces and Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering, I have consequently been able to use this approach and understand the various workings of subordinate organizations within the entire structure and how they interact with each other.”
While Alexander is aware that his education from UFred will not enable immediate advancement, he recognizes the benefits to his overall progression as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces.
“Continuing education and lifelong learning are both important components of being a leader, and I look forward to being able to continue building my management knowledge on this foundational base of information I now have from this program.”
In the immediate future, Alexander is hoping to achieve the Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute, which he says will be supported by the base of knowledge he built from his UFred MBA. He aims to seek opportunities to apply his knowledge within his community continually, and may even attempt to deepen his expertise in the Emergency Management field.
“It is without a doubt that the skills I have acquired from UFred, particularly those of communication, management and the systems approach, will support my continued learning,” he said.
Alexander graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 2016 with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering, and subsequently posted to the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering to complete training.
He is also a volunteer firefighter with the Oromocto Fire Department and a medical first responder with St. John’s Ambulance in Saint John. Alexander is actively involved with the mountaineering community in the Adirondack and White Mountains.