FRANK GOERTNER, EMBA '17: FROM U.S. NAVY COMMANDER TO SMITH SCHOOL VETERAN AFFAIRS

Frank GoertnerFrank Goertner, EMBA ’17 is serving double duty as both a Smith alum and a Smith employee! He recently joined the Smith School as Director of Military and Veteran Affairs in August of 2018, just one year after graduating from the business school himself. After earning an MA in International Relations from the University of Maryland (more Terp pride!), he embarked on a career as a Naval Officer where he worked his way to the rank of Commander

Growing up, Frank always asked himself “How will I serve” not “Will I serve” this country, and he quickly learned that the U.S. Navy offered the greatest opportunities to achieve three of his goals: Continue learning new skills, see the world and learn to fly. His 21 years of service involved roles as a naval aviator, foreign area officer, personnel chief, political-military affairs advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and leading analysis in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations on future Navy missions and requirements.

As he neared retirement from the Navy, Frank, still eager to expand his knowledge and skillset, sought out an EMBA. He knew Smith had a great reputation, and to him, Smith felt like the obvious choice. “Smith and the University just felt like home to me,” said Frank. “And the school had the most diverse and most inclusive environment for cohort-based study offered by any business school I considered.”

With an undergraduate, masters and executive MBA degree, along with 21 years of service with the U.S. Navy, Frank then decided to explore the next step in his career. He looked at positions in the private sector, public sector consulting and government agencies, but was thrilled to see this opportunity pop up at the Smith School. “I stepped back and thought this is the perfect opportunity for me to stay engaged with the veteran community,” Frank said. “There was also the added bonus that I would be able to work with young people who are still studying and eager to make a difference in the world.”

Being in his role just eight weeks, he knows this is where he belongs, and he believes the Smith School has everything it needs to be the country’s premier business school for military and veteran students. He just wants to leave current Smith students with one piece of advice: “There are a million and one ways to serve your country and your community. Explore as many as you can, and respect them all.”