AJ Barron

A.J. Barron

Sr. Operations SME (A&AS)
AECOM, Reston, VA

Sr. Operations SME (A&AS)


Reston, VA

What’s been the most valuable learning experience you’ve had in the Online MBA program?
In the orientation in the very first class, we learned that what you think you knew yesterday may no longer apply today, and if it does, it probably won’t apply tomorrow. It was a very powerful insight that I hung onto throughout the program. The lesson is that you have to build upon your years of experience and continue to evolve your perspective to solve challenges.

What are you plans after graduation?
I applied to the Online MBA program with an aspiration and desire to learn about business and industry. But I figured out that I needed to know who I was and what I wanted as a professional. I now know that I want to stay in my industry, but I want to build upon my experience to move up vertically and be in a role that can contribute innovative solutions to complex challenges facing our national defense system like reducing costs and making our country safer. I worked with Patrice Lincoln from the Graduate Career Management Center, and she gave me an 18-month plan for how to accomplish this. Before the program, I was just guessing how to achieve upward mobility, but she really laid out a map to success.

What is your wicked problem?
East St. Louis is a pretty dysfunctional community. The poverty rate is extreme, the unemployment rate is extreme. It used to be a thriving industrial center, then industry left and the community is now shackled with all of these problems. It’s always bothered me that this community couldn’t figure out a way to spur growth and redevelop itself.