Anderson: “You can’t transition alone. Those who try generally fail or do it badly.”
F Branden Anderson
Service: United States Army, 20 years
Education: BS in Business Administration – Franklin University Class of ‘13; MA in Organizational Leadership – Gonzaga University Class of ‘16; MBA – Johns Hopkins Carey Business School Class of ‘19
FourBlock Cohort: Washington, D.C. – Fall ‘16
Current Employer: Legg Mason
Position: Senior Human Resources Business Partner
U.S. Army veteran F Branden Anderson is an MBA candidate and Senior Human Resources Business Partner at Legg Mason who completed FourBlock’s Career Readiness Program in 2016. We recently spoke with him to discuss his time with FourBlock and how the foundation played a role in his current academic and professional success.
FourBlock: What barriers did you face during your transition from active duty back into civilian life?
Anderson: The biggest barrier I faced was lack of a network. Everyone I knew two years ago had a short haircut and solved problems the same way I did… they were ALL connected with the military.
What drove you to join a FourBlock cohort?
I realized I needed to find a way to stretch and grow in ways that were going to be uncomfortable. In order to do that, I decided to pursue another graduate degree, but in person this time. I was accepted to Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and was introduced to FourBlock through my career development coach. When looking at the approach used by FourBlock—introspective, challenging members to establish a purpose, and developing a diverse network—I knew it would be a great way to supplement the work I was doing in the MBA program at Hopkins.
How did the Career Readiness Program impact your transition?
The way the program put me in a place to honestly evaluate my purpose and goals was really important. I really needed to be in a place where I could do that in a guided way and with a framework for assessment and action planning. This helped me to start developing a network of support outside the military. It also helped me refine my passion for mentoring others. This is one of the things that I enjoyed most about being a senior NCO in the Army, and I have been able to maintain a healthy level of mentoring since the program. Maybe more importantly, I have been able to develop three key mentors for myself, which is something I was lacking.
What were your key takeaways from the course?
Transition will be a life-long process for me. It’s important to hang on to the great aspects of the military career and it’s also to understand that that’s not what defines me. My desire to continually grow and learn will be the driving force in how I’m defined, which is an ongoing evolution.
What have you accomplished since you completing FourBlock’s program?
I have passed the halfway point in the MBA program at Hopkins, traveled internationally three times, and landed a new job at Legg Mason!
What do you love about your current company?
The culture! Legg Mason is full or authentic people who are all here because they want to build the best asset management firm in the world. I’m also given plenty of space to learn and grow and my leadership is 100% supportive.
Anderson says FourBlock’s program aided his professional, academic, and personal development in several ways, though he points to one overarching lesson that stands out above the rest: “You can’t transition alone. Those who try generally fail or do it badly.”