Virginia Tech and Pamplin:
Best career decision

“The single best career decision I ever made was to attend Pamplin,” says Doug Wagoner, an alumnus of the college's part-time MBA program in Northern Virginia, now known as the Evening MBA. “Almost immediately after graduation, I had new and exciting opportunities for which I was uniquely prepared,” Wagoner says.

Doug Wagoner
Doug Wagoner graduated from Pamplin's evening
MBA program in Northern Virginia.

“During my last semester, I completed an independent study program with Dr. Ghandforoush. Having that one-on-one interaction with him and having to learn how to present and defend my theories was invaluable to me as I was expanding my career.”

This past spring, Wagoner gave the featured talk of Pamplin's Ethics Symposium. His chosen topic was one that came close to the bone: the CityTime scandal that developed from a few employees' actions on SAIC's contract to build a new employee timecard system for New York City.

(SAIC agreed in March 2012 to pay more than $500 million to settle the case, which the Manhattan U.S. Attorney called “one of the largest and most brazen frauds ever committed against the City of New York.”)

Wagoner's lecture resulted from a meeting last year with then Pamplin dean Richard E. Sorensen. “We thought that SAIC's challenge with CityTime — where the actions of two employees had such a devastating impact on a proud company of 38,000 people — would be a good case study for the students and faculty of Virginia Tech. SAIC's senior leadership, including our ethics officer, fully supported me sharing the lessons learned.”

A member of the advisory board of Pamplin's business information technology department, Wagoner is interested in being more involved in how the program serves the emerging needs of large enterprises.

“I think the biggest challenge is also the biggest opportunity and that is to meet the rising demand in the program from students and employers. The other main challenge is to ensure that the program stays relevant to the constantly evolving needs of business, as technology changes so rapidly.” The greatest contribution that board members can make, he says, is “to communicate the trends we see, so the program is prepared.”

SAIC has invested about $1 million in the last five years and “countless hours of our executives” for programs and projects that support its relationship with Virginia Tech, Wagoner says. “We also work together on several contracts for SAIC customers.”

SAIC currently employs more than 1,200 Hokies, he notes — “more than any other school.” His company obviously wants the best and brightest technical and business minds. “But to solve problems on the scale that we do, you also have to be able to work in a team, be a very effective communicator, and have a tenacious work ethic.”


Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Magazine Fall 2013

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