David Hatchett

Miami Vice. The Deadliest Catch. What’s next? The Apprentice?

Coast Guard officer David Hatchett gets ready for the next episode of his career

Hometown: Houston
Former career: Ship commander in the Coast Guard, including conducting drug extraditions in Miami, and captaining a patrol boat in Alaska.
Current Career: Return to Coast Guard for budgeting and procurement appointment in Washington, D.C.
Cool fact: He tailgated at TCU football games and played on the MBA intramural football team.

Personal touch: David says TCU’s small classes focus on achieving your personal best, not posturing. “At a smaller school you lose some of the pompous elitism that comes with everyone trying to act so ‘professional’ all the time. ‘Small’ might not be the right word to describe TCU, but ‘personal’ is.”

Speak up: TCU students don’t sit silently in giant lecture halls. They’re an active part of every class. “Our classroom discussions were always great. People talked and asked questions. We didn’t just sit there and listen to the professor.”

Group think: Working with the same teammates for a full year amplifies the strengths each person brings to the group. “Our group did a good job with open communication. It could be an issue since we all had a tendency to get off track, so somebody had to pull us back. That was usually me. After 10 years as a military manager, I’m comfortable steering a group through conflict or uncomfortable situations.”

Sage advice: His MBA studies took David to business centers as far-flung as Prague, Santiago and Omaha, home base of investment guru Warren Buffett. (The Neeley School has sponsored more than 120 TCU MBAs to meet with Buffett in Omaha over the last three years.) After hearing from Buffett, what’s the key factor an investor should focus on? “It’s the importance of the CEO on an investment decision.”

Career impact: TCU has an entire team of career coaches, professors and administrators working to help each student reach his or her goals. For David, this led to a mentoring connection to TCU alumnus Gordon England, former Secretary of the Navy and former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security. “I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Gordon for dinner, to hear a candid behind-the-scenes account of the formation of the Department of Homeland Security and some incredible stories about being Secretary of the Navy during 9/11. He’s the highest-ranking person I’ve ever talked to!”

Ambition, great and small: David's plan was to return to the Coast Guard to work in budgeting and procurement in Washington, D.C.  But he knew he would need a comprehensive business understanding to be effective. “My goal for my MBA was simple: I wanted to be able to read The Wall Street Journal and understand it from cover to cover. I wanted to read every word and chart and graphic and really comprehend it all.” And now he can.

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“Our classroom discussions are always great. People are talking and asking questions. We don’t just sit there and listen to the professor.”

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