MSBA Graduate Ascends to US Army’s Top Finance Role

17 January 2020

Jonathan Moak (MSBA ’19) found himself interviewing for the position of principal deputy assistant secretary (financial management and comptroller) of the United States Army just weeks after earning a Master of Science in business analytics (MSBA) degree from the University of Virginia.

While he was a compelling candidate for a variety of reasons, Moak said the MSBA program — offered in partnership by the Darden School of Business and the McIntire School of Commerce — surely aided his candidacy.

“I just happened to have the right resume at the right time for the job,” said Moak, whose new job is considered to be the chief financial officer of the Army. “I also believe this degree made me more competitive.”

Moak is an infantry officer who earned the highly coveted Ranger tab, and has served in the Army National Guard since 2005. He is a currently serving reservist in the District of Columbia Army National Guard, and in 2015 deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom — Spartan Shield.

His professional career path has included positions with the U.S. Army, Grant Thornton and, until October 2019, Deloitte Consulting, where his work often supported the U.S. Department of Defense.

As analytics tools and programs advanced and became increasingly useful, new hires often had proficiency with tools that were not commonplace when Moak was working toward his academic degrees.

When UVA began advertising the MSBA in the UVA Darden DC Metro location, it seemed like an ideal way to stay current and also prepare for the future.

“I saw it as an opportunity to go and learn how to use these tools myself,” said Moak, who described the program as existing at the “nexus of business intelligence and financial management.”

Moak said he graduated with a new suite of tools, ranging from the ability to code with confidence to new ways of leading and interacting with teams. All are put to use in his role as senior official performing the duties of the assistant secretary of the Army (financial management and comptroller), which is the equivalent of the CFO of the U.S. Army.

Moak offered several key takeaways from his career journey so far:

  • Position yourself the best you can to be a competitive candidate for the things you want to do in life by continuously learning.
  • Be willing to take risks and take on even more than you think you can handle because you will be surprised at your ability to grow.
  • Grow your network and build real relationships with people, and go out of your way to help others as relationships are everything.

Said Moak, “If you do those things day in and day out, positioning yourself to be depended on and treating others with the same respect that they require or ask of you, I tend to think the moon is really within reach.”

Read more about Moak’s career in his profile on Darden’s Alumni Spotlight.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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Darden School of Business
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