Skip to Main Content

School of Professional Studies Celebrates Those Who Serve

SPS is proud to share stories and lessons from faculty members and students who are currently active in the U.S. military or veterans

Mohamed Desoky knows the path from military work to graduate work. 

Desoky, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, served around the world – from Ft. Lee, to Japan, to Ft. Benning and Ft. Bragg – as an Officer in the U.S. Army from 2001 until 2006. After leaving the service honorably, he was faced with some big life questions – one, what would a civilian career look like now? And, two, how could academic advancement post-military service support his professional vision?  

Desoky would go on to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School as a way to begin his career in financial services and capital markets. In 2012, he returned to graduate school. This time, to pursue a PhD program in Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University. 

Today, Desoky serves as the Academic Director for the Master of Financial Technology & Analytics Program at Wake Forest University School of Professional Studies. 

Mohamed Desoky
Mohamed Desoky

Although Desoky chose to pursue graduate studies after completing his military service; today, he recommends a different path. “SPS is a great opportunity for men and women who are currently serving in the military,” he said recently. “The industry-relevant curriculum and the asynchronous schedule of classes allows those currently serving to work academics into their current life balance of service, professional advancement, as well as home and family.” He notes, as well, there are a number of ways in which current military members or veterans can have the academic advancement paid for – such as the G.I. Bill – which means no student loans upon graduation. (Desoky shared more advice for veterans in his 2021 article in the Military Times available here.) 

What skills cross over from the military to graduate studies? 

“There’s so much overlap,” Desoky notes. “From the regimented structure and discipline required to manage the workload, to grasping the dynamics of leadership and teamwork, to being able to adapt quickly. Veterans are a great asset to our SPS programming and community.” 

 Meet Tom Berry, U.S. Navy Serviceman & School of Professional Services Student

Tom Berry and his child
Tom Berry is a student in Wake Forest University School of Professional Studies’ Financial Technology and Analytics Master’s Program. He also currently serves in the United States Navy. *

Adult learners come from a variety of backgrounds, both personally and professionally. Regardless of what brings them to the classroom, many know well the balancing act of managing their time, attention, and energy across priorities for work, family, school as well as other commitments that are important to their hearts and souls – such as military service. 

This Veterans Day we honor those who have served our country – and those who are currently serving. We also acknowledge the generations of military families, spouses, and children impacted by military service. 

Tom Berry is a student in Wake Forest University School of Professional Studies’ Financial Technology and Analytics Master’s Program. He also currently serves in the United States Navy. 

In this Q&A, we talk to Berry, who has been deployed around the world three times in five years, about the pull on his heart that he felt to join the Navy and how the experience impacts his perspective today as an active and proud member of the military. 

Wake Forest University School of Professional Studies (SPS): Was a military career/experience something you knew you wanted to pursue?

Tom Berry (TB): Do we consider your mid-twenties an early age now?! I chose a different career path than most of my military peers. I went to college, entered the workforce and worked  professionally for a few years before then decided to join the military. 

SPS: How, when, why inspired or drove you to pursue it? 

TB: In the years after college, I worked in a retail environment, coached youth basketball, and got involved with the local CrossFit community. During this time I met and interacted with people from all walks of life – including many veterans. 

Eventually I gained a perspective that life in America is an incredible and awesome opportunity, but it isn’t free. I began to feel a debt that I needed to pay to our country. 

SPS: Do you come from a military or service-focused family? 

TB: My family is almost as far as you can get from the military, but a service-focus is something we hold in abundance. My parents, who both work as healthcare practitioners, always set examples of an ‘others-first’ mentality. I have strived to adopt in my own way.

SPS: What were some of the first and/or most timeless or memorable lessons from your service? 

TB: One day, I’ll look back on all of my sea stories – but not yet. However, from three deployments in five years, I can say right now that we have it so good here in America. So good. 

Let’s please not tear each other apart because I promise you our problems are not that bad in comparison to 99% of the world. 

Also, military spouses deserve their own special holiday.

SPS: How does your experience in the service impact your daily work and/or career as a whole today?

TB: I’m thankful for the honor to serve our country and provide my best efforts to protect our freedoms – both at home and overseas. I owe an immense amount of gratitude to all veterans of previous generations who have paved the way for the opportunities we all have today.

To learn more about SPS programming and to connect with a staff member about options for members of the military or veterans, please contact us


*The appearance of U.S. Navy visual information does not imply or constitute DOD or Navy endorsement.

Related Stories