July 07, 2009

Co-op Experience: Jeffrey Nolan

"I already have valuable experience and I have started to build a professional network that students who have a purely classroom education do not have."

Management (BSM) ’10
Co-op Employer: Raytheon 
Position: Finance Analyst

Student, Soldier, and Success

Jeffrey Nolan, staff sergeant in the Army Reserve for over six years, is a squad leader whose main role is to train and prepare his soldiers for their next mission. When deployed, Nolan is responsible for mission planning, running the day-to-day operations of his team, and the development and general welfare of his soldiers. When he is not fighting for our country, Nolan spends his time at Wentworth or Raytheon Technical Services, a division of Raytheon Company, where he has completed three co-ops.

Being able to attend Wentworth, work at Raytheon, and participate in the Army has contributed to Nolan’s success in all three roles. Nolan admits that it is very challenging to balance the life of being a reservist with the life of being a young college student in Boston. He has made sacrifices like having to leave mid-semester freshman year to deploy to Iraq, but he sees the benefits of his involvement with the Army in both his education at Wentworth and his co-op experience. The military is a customer of Raytheon, so having the in-depth knowledge of how the military functions has given Nolan an advantage with his co-workers, as they frequently seek his input and advice.

“The programs I support at Raytheon cover the operation and maintenance of radars and interceptor missiles that are part of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System. They are used to help track and destroy incoming ballistic missiles that threaten the U.S. and our allies. Raytheon field engineers operate, maintain, and train the military on these radars at domestic training facilities and deployed active sites around the world.”

A Range of Roles at Raytheon

Raytheon has supplemented Nolan’s classroom experience by giving him real examples to relate to his course material. Raytheon treats interns and co-ops like full-time employees and gives them substantial work, providing Nolan with a sense of accomplishment and a feeling that he is adding value to the company.

Nolan has been able to experience the whole spectrum of the company, working first in a program management position, second in logistics engineering, and finally as a finance analyst on a missile defense program. He was able to participate on a different level at each phase in the development of a program or product, which showed him how to adapt his management style to suit different situations. The most important thing he learned from his experience at Raytheon was about the full cycle of a government program, from startup, to execution, to shut down. This gave Nolan perspective and prepared him for a management position because he has gained a better understanding of how the different departments interact.

“I was able to see what different functions of the business I was interested in and wanted to work in, but also what I was not interested in. This helped me determine where I wanted to start my career.”

Looking Ahead

Nolan’s career is off to a very good start with a solid foundation of experience, education, and training. He plans on staying with Raytheon following graduation and working in a program management office. After being in the Army Reserve for six years, Nolan knows this will be a part of his future—with plans to continue working in the defense community, either in the military or in contracting.

“The skills, discipline, and leadership experience I have gained in the Army have proven very valuable at Wentworth and are largely responsible for my success as a student.”

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