Transitioning from the Marine Corps to Nielsen

Michael is a senior project manager for service delivery in Buy technology, based in the Global Technology and Innovation Center (GTIC) in Oldsmar, Fla. He currently works to provide the best experience for our clients through our knowledge portal, Answers on Demand. Before joining Nielsen in 2015, Michael served as a Marine Corps Communications Officer for 20 years.

As a child, I was fascinated with computers and business. I was the kid that sold floppy disks at school to make extra money to buy more computer stuff. I later attended the University of Virginia, and I graduated with a degree in Commerce, with concentrations in both Marketing and Management Information Systems. For some reason, life after college wasn’t what I anticipated.  While I found myself in a familiar settingsitting behind a computer screen every day programming COBOL and SQLI was completely unfulfilled. I knew right away that I needed to make a change. I needed more of a challenge.

So I decided to join the Marine Corps. This may seem drastic, but because my family had a very strong military tradition, it seemed the natural thing to do. Given my education, the Marine Corps made me a Communications Officer, where I was responsible for everything from handheld radios to giant satellitesand all of the data networks running over them.  Every day the Marine Corps provided me the challenges I was seeking.

I also got see to see a lot of the world. I deployed on a Navy ship, stopping at locations all over the Western Pacific. I visited places at the time I didn’t even know existed, like East Timor. Later, I did three combat tours in Iraq, and I traveled all over the Middle East. After all of this traveling, I was ready to settle down. Fortunately, one of the great benefits I received as a Marine officer was a chance to go to the Naval postgraduate school in Monterey, Calif. There, I earned masters degrees in Information Technology Management and Computer Science. Toward the end of my military career, I used those degrees when I managed IT projects that improved information management for the Marine Corps.

In 2015, as I was conducting my transitional job search, I met a Nielsen recruiter who was also a former service member. From our shared experiences, she recognized my strengths and experience from the Marine Corps and matched with me with my current role. Coming to Nielsen has been an incredible experience for me. I constantly use the education and skills I gained in the Marine Corps. I’ve had many opportunities to grow and learn new skills such as becoming a product owner on an agile development team.  

Nielsen has also provided many outlets for volunteering. As a veteran, I was drawn to our Employee Resource Group (ERG), Support and Employee Resources for Veterans (SERV). Eventually, I was recruited to be a co-lead for SERV in the southeast U.S. This provided me an opportunity to lead, and it introduced me to many different parts of the company.

Life at Nielsen is certainly different than life in the Marine Corps.  We don’t all have to dress the same, and I don’t have to carry a rifle. But, I am very thankful for my time in the Marines. It provided me a great foundation for my success at Nielsen. I am very proud to be a part of the Nielsen family and our celebrated diversity.