A U.S. Marine guides an MK-28 extended cargo truck during an exercise in Haramura Higashihiroshima, Japan.

Marine earns master’s degree in leadership online from Japan

Pictured above: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Dayshawn Franklin guides a cargo truck during and exercise at Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force Maneuver Area, Haramura Higashihiroshima, Japan, Jan. 10, 2018. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Marcus Campbell. *The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Stationed in Japan, United States Marine Corps Captain Will Greeson leads a team of photographers and videographers who are tasked with capturing footage of the Marines’ work – from humanitarian aid projects to active combat training – in the Pacific region including Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand. His team documents events for internal archives and external distribution to help the American public understand the value of the work being done. In addition to all of this, he’s a student at CityU who is preparing to graduate.

Will Greeson

Will Greeson

“I started going to CityU back in 2003 when I was stationed at the Pentagon as a sergeant,” Will said. “A buddy turned me on to CityU, and I got my bachelor’s in applied psychology. When you’re in an organization like the Marine Corps, you have to be personally involved in the lives of these very young people who join the service. As I transitioned into leadership as an officer, I wanted to be able to shift leadership styles so that I could adapt and be effective.”

Will is gaining that knowledge and experience through the Master of Arts in Leadership program.

“I realized that in order to take my leadership skills to the next level, I needed to learn other theories, techniques and strategies so that I can be more effective for my Marines,” Will said.

For his capstone project, his work for the classroom and his post are one in the same.

“The Marine Corps is going through a major change of merging several job fields into one new occupational field,” Will said. “This course is helping me create the mission statement for that job field, which will be used for the entire Marine Corps. It’s a perfect balance between the needs of the course and my personal goals. I’m taking the unique capabilities that each job offers and merging them together for the mission statement and presenting it to my commander.”

Balancing demands

U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Harry J. D. Walker communicates with his platoon while taking simulated fire during Korean Marine Exchange Program (KMEP) 17-14 on the North West Islands, Republic of Korea, August 11, 2017.

U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Harry J. D. Walker communicates with his platoon while taking simulated fire during Korean Marine Exchange Program (KMEP) 17-14 on the North West Islands, Republic of Korea, August 11, 2017. Photo By: Cpl. Aaron Patterson. *The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Just like with his bachelor’s degree, Will has completed his master’s degree online and on his schedule.

“I have 60 people who work for me, and I’m constantly thinking of their lives,” Will said. “I don’t always have the time to take classes.”

To make the degree program work for him, he took classes off and on over four years. He’s taken breaks while deployed in Afghanistan, Korea and the Philippines, and then resumed as soon as possible.

“I have been working with [advisor] Beverly Johnson it seems like forever, along with Nachelle Peña [veterans affairs officer] and Erin Thompson [accounts receivable accountant],” Will said. “All the staff have been killer. They’re always very responsive and helpful about keeping me on track. When I have to deploy and can’t take a class for four to six months, they help me reset and say, ‘here’s how you pick it back up.’”

U.S Marines with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, move along a rope obstacle during the endurance course, aboard Camp Gonsalves, Okinawa, Japan, July 7, 2017.

U.S Marines with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, move along a rope obstacle during the endurance course, aboard Camp Gonsalves, Okinawa, Japan, July 7, 2017. Photo By: Cpl. Aaron Patterson. *The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Through his commitment to his program, along with the support he’s received from CityU’s faculty and staff, he’s nearing the finish line of his program.

Reflecting back on his experiences, Will says he’d definitely recommend CityU to others:

“I would say do not hesitate. Begin immediately. Do not put it off. Get involved, be active and get after the program. If you’re nervous that it’s not a possible thing to accomplish, know that there are a lot of people here who want you to succeed. Even if you think it’s going to be a tough quarter, they’re there to assist you and want to help. You get so many people’s perspectives from other countries, it keeps you fresh and relevant. You have no excuses really.”

We look forward to congratulating Will on his graduation, and are grateful we’ve been able to support him in achieving his educational goals.

To learn more about CityU’s opportunities for military students or the Master of Arts in Leadership, visit the CityU website or request more information.