Global Studies Program Opens Doors for Loyola Grad
When it comes to cross-cultural understanding and global skills, Ford credits his success to his Loyola degree
April 14, 2014
Kenneth Ford, ’10, wasn’t thinking about the future when he entered the global studies program his sophomore year. His only thought was that he wanted to take courses that he loved.
Combining disciplines like history, economics, political science, and international business, the program “basically took a bunch of things I was interested in and turned it into one degree,” he explains. “It seemed kind of perfect.”
Ford went abroad to participate in Loyola’s 10-day Encuentra El Salvador service immersion experience, and later spent his final Loyola semester at the Alberto Hurtado University in Santiago, Chile.
After a side trip to Colombia and a short stint working at a Baltimore shipping firm, he struck gold: a three-year opportunity with the U.S. Naval Acquisition Development Program (NADP).
“Every three or four months, you change up and go work for a different command,” explains Ford. “If all goes well, you get hired into one of the programs you were with. I’d work on acquisition of ships, missile systems, radars, communication systems… I loved the idea of being able to learn all different stuff.”
Ford worked in a submarine office; he spent four months in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; he learned about multi-million-dollar contracting; he started taking classes to get a master’s degree in finance. Finally, he met a Loyola graduate who introduced him to an officer in Foreign Military Sales, the program that sells U.S. arms, defense equipment, defense services, and military training to foreign governments.
“I told him my background, and he said I’d be perfect,” says Ford. After a six-month stint selling equipment and training services in Kuwait, the program hired him full time.
Today Ford is a Foreign Military Sales Project Manager for the U.S. Navy, selling military equipment, boats, and rescue equipment to buyers; he travels to a new county just about every month to do business.
Thinking back to his Loyola training, “whether it’s the business classes, the sociology, the history, the political-science—they all come together when we do business,” he says.
“What are their customs? How do they operate? What will best suit them in their command, funding, how they operate, how they’ll use the equipment? We want to make sure they won’t be used in ways we don’t support. It includes everything from my education.”
When it comes to cross-cultural understanding, Ford has had it easier than many of his peers, and he credits that to his undergraduate education and experiences.
“The values I learned at Loyola have come to benefit me a lot, especially going to countries where you don’t fit into the culture. It helped me open my eyes, both the book applications and real-world apps from Loyola.”
Would he encourage others to try out global studies?
“I love to travel, love to see different places, different people, learn languages. I love learning new stuff. I love the emerging markets—everything’s new and fresh and constantly changing. Everything can be changed in a day, and you can be part of that.”