McDonough School of Business
Ron Ruffin (EMBA'24) on Utilizing Grit to Set Up Veterans for Success
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Ron Ruffin (EMBA‘24) on Utilizing Grit to Set Veterans Up for Success

Our veterans represent a significant part of the Georgetown McDonough community and hail from every branch and role within the United States military. They have honed valuable skills in leadership and conflict resolution through their unique experiences that create a great path forward to a successful career in business.

Ron Ruffin (EMBA’24) came to Georgetown after his time in the military to explore life beyond service and continue his education in a way that would help him leverage his skills while expanding his relationships and connecting with others. From his time of service to now, Ruffin understands the importance of leveraging the Georgetown network to help reach your goals. 

Learn more about Ruffin’s experience on the Hilltop and how his time of service continues to shape who he is today both in and out of the classroom.

Why did you choose to pursue your EMBA degree at Georgetown McDonough? 

I have lived in the Washington D.C., area for over 20 years now and continue to love the city. When you think of the most renowned place for an executive education in the city, it’s Georgetown. The choice was a no-brainer.

How did your experience as a veteran prepare you for your time at Georgetown and your postgraduate career?  

There are countless skills the military gives you that prepare you for your career. When asked this question I like to highlight a crucial, yet often-overlooked skill: grit. A mentality that emboldens a person to produce results regardless of the barriers that lie ahead. The proverbial military attitude to “get stuff done” is not only important for military life, but it sets up veterans for success wherever their journeys take them.  

What would you like people to know about the life of a student veteran? 

We’re quite a diverse crowd! Veterans come from all walks of life. We are made up of immigrants and natural-born citizens, each with their own belief systems, cultures, political alignments, and experiences. A veteran could be sitting right next to you and you might not even know it. A veteran might converse with you about a topic and give an opinion or perspective that may surprise you. At the end of the day, we’re just people like you.  

What is one of the most important lessons you have learned while at Georgetown?  

More than anything, Georgetown has taught me that I have the power to effect major change. I considered myself somewhat of a cynic when I came aboard but I must say that the amazing people I’ve had the opportunity to meet in conjunction with the amazing experiences I’ve had here have made me a true believer of my own potential. Secondly, Georgetown has taught me the power of connecting with others. One of us is never as strong as all of us, and through Georgetown, I’ve learned to never be ashamed to ask for help. If anything, I know now that if you’re not utilizing your partnerships and networks for your objectives, you’re not doing it right!  Lastly, the ethics and values that have been emphasized in the EMBA program have touched me deeply. In this program, as we continue to arm ourselves for success, we are taught that we also have the responsibility to change the lives of those around us for the better. It’s a beautiful sentiment that I now carry with me in all my work.

What advice would you give to veterans who are thinking about pursuing a college/graduate-level education?  

Go for it! The military is a great place, but it’s a big world out here and there are so many places and people to learn from. I truly believe we all should continue to educate ourselves from a variety of perspectives. Graduate school is just one of the many education opportunities I encourage my fellow veterans to take advantage of. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Georgetown community? 

Take advantage of every opportunity you can. This university has so much to offer. See the other campuses and buildings, attend the many fascinating lectures, and take advantage of the many groups that you can exchange ideas with. I know I am! 

Class of 2024
Executive MBA