Tim Feldman with his Great Dane

Master of International Business degree prepares alumnus for director role at General Dynamics

Timothy Feldman (BBA ’06, MIB ’10) is Senior Director, Subcontracts – Defense Division at General Dynamics Information Technology. One decade out from his Master of International Business (MIB) degree, he still keeps in touch and hired four Warrington students last year. Read more about Feldman and how the Master of International Business program helped him expand his understanding of non-U.S. economies, business strategies and cultures.

Tim and his wife Melissa standing in front of a mountain range.

Tim and his wife, Melissa.

Q: Tell us about your background. 

Feldman: “I was born in Danbury, Connecticut but moved around a bunch in my youth due to my parents own career growth. I attended eight different schools K-12 including two in Connecticut, two in California and four in Florida (Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Melbourne areas). Constantly moving wasn’t fun in the moment but it taught me how to build and maintain relationships, how to communicate and find common ground to fit in and open my mind to new experiences. It also helped shape my two favorite hobbies: video/card/board games and sports! ‘Hey, I may have just met you and we may be from entirely different walks of life, but I bet we can both bond while talking about the referee’s terrible call in the big game last night.’

Ultimately, I found myself enrolling at UF in 2002 to obtain my bachelor’s in business administration. Following graduation in 2006, I worked for 3.5 years full time at defense contractor Northrop Grumman in Melbourne, before deciding to pursue my master’s via the then-MAIB (now MIB) program in 2009.”

Q: Why did you decide to do the MIB program?

Feldman: “Having left a full-time job to attend school again, time equaled money so I was interested in an intensive one-year program that captured all the major elements of an MBA. I also view increased globalization as an inevitability and recognized how little I actually knew about non-U.S. economies, business strategies and cultures. It certainly wasn’t for the football program, as I enrolled one year A.T. (After Tebow). Dark times indeed.”

Q: What are your best memories from the MIB program at Warrington?

Feldman: “The obvious answer here is the relationships, from classmates-turned-colleagues to professors-turned-mentors, but allow me to give a more specific memory: the 5-way graded negotiation in the Negotiations course. Negotiations class at UF follows the Wharton School theory of grading the student based in part upon the success of the negotiation in conjunction with effort (this is opposite the Harvard theory where only the effort itself is part of the professor’s evaluation, not the outcome). Pros and cons of each for sure, but one thing for certain is the UF model adds stress to the equation. I loved it, and one of the most complex negotiations involved five students in a multinational oil company simulated negotiation each representing different parties with different secret objectives. Exercises like that one left lasting experience and still today shape my thought in such situations. They made me think differently.”

Q: Please tell us about your career journey after graduation and how business education helped you.

Feldman: “Following graduation, I returned to the defense industry where my broad knowledge of multiple facets of business helped me take on a variety of roles not just of increasing responsibility but also in different fields within the same industry. I have held positions in finance, contracts (think business law), project management, internal audit and supply chain. The MIB program will leave you well rounded and able to apply your skills to a diverse set of roles, which will only help your career. It also teaches you something critical: how to study. Sometimes the content itself is less important than learning how to learn.”

Q: Tell us about your current job.

Feldman: “I currently work for General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), which is a ~$8B business unit within the overall ~$40B GD corporation. Our company provides IT solutions and services to a broad array of customers including the U.S. Department of Defense and federal and civilian agencies and are involved in large scale endeavors such as taking portions of the government into the cloud and IT cybersecurity. In my role I currently serve as Senior Director of Subcontracts (think supply chain) within GDIT’s Defense Division, leading a team of 52 professionals that purchase in aggregate over $800M of solutions and services per year in support of our project/program requirements. Two of those 52 are recent Warrington grads; in addition to three more MIB grads that we’ve recently recruited to work for my colleagues within the same company and field.”

Tim Feldman with his dog

Tim and Xaria.

Q: Life advice from a very successful Gator?

Feldman: “Never miss an opportunity, everything is an interview, and always keep in touch. 

The biggest opportunity of my career, the chance to jump into a Director level position, came when I was covering for my boss at a conference he couldn’t make out on the West Coast. I practiced like crazy and focused on being the best possible representative I could be. Upon arrival I quickly realized several executives were using the conference as an opportunity for a free quasi-vacation in San Diego and the networking opportunities were going to be just as important than the content, but I didn’t get lax and focused on giving a great presentation.

One executive wanted to grab a drink after the conference and dinner were over, and the rest of the attendees from our company declined. I was tired but didn’t want to throw away my shot (shoutout ‘Hamilton’) so I stayed, and we wound up speaking for hours. As it turns out my gut sense was wrong!  Though some weren’t taking it seriously, others were actually very focused in, and this particular executive was actively engaged in the conference and liked what he heard from my portion…not about the content, but about my presentation and communication abilities. Our subsequent dialogues opened a door that I didn’t previously know existed, and two months later I had landed a career altering promotion. Never. Miss. An. Opportunity. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred nothing comes of it; trust me I could tell those stories, too. But when that one time does hit? You find yourself writing a piece for the Warrington newsletter.”

Q: Tell us three cool facts about yourself.

Feldman: “I met my wife Melissa—who has three degrees from UF herself, including her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine—at a Gator basketball watch party during March Madness in 2011, a year after I graduated from MAIB. In a critically important aside, we won the game that night.

I mentioned enjoying games earlier and I wasn’t kidding, I actually am co-author on U.S. Patent number 7,044,854 Entitled Area-Based Resource Collection in Real-Time Strategy Games. We never made any money on it, sadly. Looks good on the resume though?

We have two pets: our cat Superman and our dog Xaria. Superman is a three-legged Himalayan cancer survivor and Xaria is a rescued Great Dane who when she stands on her hind legs can comfortably rest her front paws on my shoulders.”

Want to expand your international business skillset like Tim? Request information about the Master of International Business program today