From the military to Disney: A big dream fulfilled

TMMBA alum Sarah McCaffrey

Sarah McCaffrey
Online Advertising Analyst, Disney ABC Television Group
Technology Management MBA (2014)

What do the US Marine Corps and the Disney ABC Television Group have in common? Sarah McCaffrey, whose passion and skill with data analytics led her from active duty to an MBA to a promising career with Disney.

You could say it began when she joined the Marines and got her Military Occupation Specialty (MOS), which turned out to be in aviation data analytics. As McCaffrey puts it, “you don’t choose your MOS, but you can certainly make the most of it and create future opportunities.” While serving in the Corps, she did undergraduate work at UW in information/networking technologies and web development. One of her dreams was to come back to UW for graduate school—”a stretch goal” and “big dream.”

Eight years later, as she’s crossing the bridge into the private sector, she found out about a work-compatible MBA program called the Technology Management MBA. Run out of UW Foster School’s Eastside Executive Center in Kirkland, and aimed at a broad tech audience, the program fit McCaffrey’s needs perfectly.

“The teaming that happened in the program was amazing,” says McCaffrey. “Learning to assess how a team can work toward its highest potential in business felt like a familiar goal, which helped a lot in the transition to civilian life.” A transition, not incidentally, that she likens to moving to another country.

Equipped with a deep understanding of core business disciplines, empowered by a strong network, and able to call synthesize the training she received in the military with her MBA, McCaffrey hired on at Disney ABC Television Group. While her role focuses on analyzing site metrics for the visual media publishing industry, she’s been adding ad-specific knowledge to her portfolio.

In the meantime, as far as her two young daughters are concerned, having a mom who works at Disney makes McCaffrey a bit of a rock star in her family.