Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear Submarine Engineer Talks Life In US Navy

Written by Marco De Novellis | Nuclear Engineering | Thursday 25th February 2016 19:26:00 GMT

Aaron Hoyles moved on from an engineering career to study an MBA

Aaron Hoyles worked as a nuclear power technician aboard USS Albuquerque

Aaron Hoyles worked as a nuclear power technician aboard USS Albuquerque

For almost a decade Aaron Hoyles worked aboard USS Albuquerque, a nuclear submarine based on the US east coast and deployed on operations throughout the Atlantic.

As a nuclear power technician, Aaron lived and worked in the cramped confines of the US Navy submarine for months at a time.

He joined the Navy after graduating from high school and endured a vigorous two years of initial training which combined classroom and practical experience operating a nuclear reactor based on land. This was followed by further training in general military skills, seamanship and security.

Eager for a new challenge and after taking advantage of the post-9/11 GI Bill which helps fund the post-service education of US military personnel, the ambitious American moved on from the navy to pursue a career in business.

He worked for the Allstate insurance corporation in a management consulting role before relocating to Europe to take an MBA at EMLYON Business School in France.

How was your experience working as a nuclear submarine engineer in the US Navy?

It was a pretty incredible time for me.

An experience that always stands out in my memories was the time my submarine surfaced above the Milwaukee Deep, which is the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean.

The entire crew took turns swimming in the water around our submarine and sunning ourselves on the deck, with over 8,000 meters of water underneath us.

What challenges did you face?

The work was very challenging; when you’re not operating the reactor plant or standing security watches you train constantly.

We actually received training on sleep deprivation in order to deal with sleep deprivation caused by long hours of training!

It’s really another world. You’re crammed into a very small space for months at a time with about 130 other people so you have to learn how to live in that environment while performing at your peak.

How did your experience prepare you for a career in business?

The strongest connection is my ability to keep a clear head under extreme pressure and the lessons I’ve learned from providing leadership in a high-stakes environment.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

I was ready for a new challenge.

An MBA was the right avenue to develop myself further; to gain a formal business education and to move my career beyond the US.

Why do you think so many engineers go on to take MBAs?

An MBA provides a great way for engineers to broaden their perspective.

I think a background in engineering lends itself to creativity and adaptability in problem solving and this is a good fit for the rigors of business school.

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