Susan Torres

Seas to Sales: How an MBA is helping a Naval Officer achieve her goals

Lieutenant Susan E. Torres always knew she wanted to serve her country. Growing up, she listened to her grandfather’s stories about being a Naval Officer, sailing on the open sea, and was inspired to follow in his footsteps.

Torres grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, but since joining the U.S. Navy she’s had the opportunity to live in many places. For four out of the six years Torres has been on active duty, she served aboard the USS Farragut (DDG 99) out of Mayport, Florida, and completed two overseas deployments. While onboard, Torres served first as the Auxiliaries Officer and then as the Fire Control Officer. Now, she serves in San Diego, California, as a Surface Warfare Officer. Her current role is to train ships and their crews tactically to prepare them for upcoming deployments.

In her many military roles, Torres has spent a lot of time dealing with technology. As she looks to transition out of the Navy within the next few years, Torres plans to make a career change that she can be excited about, pursuing opportunities that will further her work with technology and allow her to continue to be a leader in the workplace. To help her achieve this goal, Torres applied for the UF MBA Online program.

“I decided to earn my MBA because I know the MBA will help me bridge the gap between my military training and experiences and the civilian career force,” she said. “I hope to use my MBA to gain a leg up as I look to make the career change while continuing in a leadership role.”

Pursuing higher education while actively serving in the military can be difficult, but Torres has found a way to make it work. Through the UF MBA Online program, Torres has received the flexibility necessary to realize her goals. Several times during the past year, she was sent out to sea on warships, but with a bit of help she was still able to accomplish her coursework.

“My classmates have been super helpful during those times, sending me assignments,” she said. “And my professors have all been very accommodating, working with me and my unusual schedule to adjust due dates and ensure I can complete my studies on time.”

When asked about her favorite part of the program, Torres commented on her classmates.

“My classmates all come from such diverse backgrounds, rich in experience,” she said. “It’s been so interesting to hear about their career paths, how they influence their thought processes and their approaches to decision making.”

From her experience in the Navy, Torres shares insight on professional skills she’s learned and plans to bring into her next career. Above all, she says that she has learned how to make important decisions in a limited amount of time.

“In my profession we are not afforded an endless amount of time and the perfect set of data before making a decision,” she said. “I have learned how to process the information that I do have and make a decision in order to move forward. As more information becomes available, then you can course correct, but indecision is never an option.”

Although she has a few more years of service ahead of her, Torres is already applying her knowledge from the MBA program in her current workplace.

“The entrepreneurial mindset can be applied to all aspects of life,” she said. “Processes all around you can always be changed, or re-configured, for the better. It’s been quite interesting applying those academic concepts to real life situations.”

First through the Navy and now through her business degree, Torres is serving her country to make the world a better place.