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Jenkins MBA Student and Deputy Chief of Police Takes Classroom Learning to the Real World

Ken Quinlan headshot

While it was blind faith that brought him to NC State, more than 25 years later, Ken Quinlan is a member of the Wolfpack through and through. 

Born and raised in New Jersey, Quinlan’s first day in North Carolina was the day that he moved into Turlington Hall. And although he knew of NC State’s reputation, he’d never visited the school before enrolling. “Though I knew very little about Raleigh, it soon became my new home. Between cheering on the Pack at football games to meeting friends who would become family,” says Quinlan. 

He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in criminal justice, and today – as Deputy Chief of Police for the Cary Police Department – still remembers the moment that he knew he wanted a career in law enforcement. “During my senior year at NC State, I participated in a ride-along with the Raleigh Police Department. That day I witnessed how the men and women served their community with bravery and humility, and that was the day I decided to become a police officer.”

After graduating, Quinlan accepted his first position as a patrol officer with the Cary Police Department. Throughout the years, he has served in various roles including field training officer, detective, training coordinator, hiring and recruiting manager, field operations supervisor and commander and professional standards division commander, to name a few.

In addition to his role as Deputy Chief of Police, he is also a part-time online Jenkins MBA student.

I knew an MBA would help me to advance in my current career and hoped it would also help me find new passion for my life’s next chapter.

“Through the program, I’ve developed strong interests in data analytics and a renewed interest in lifelong learning and development,” says Quinlan.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Quinlan has also played a key role on the department’s COVID Response Team, as planning section chief in the Emergency Operation Center. In this role, he is responsible for creating incident action plans and facilitating meetings to cover situational awareness, command period emphasis and goals and objectives for the center’s four sections (finance, logistics, operations and planning). 

Quinlan credits NC State’s MBA program in helping him to support organizations and the community while serving in this role. 

“From the focus on innovation and adaptability, to adjustments to the department’s service delivery supply chain and critical decision making in rapidly evolving situations, I was able to apply what I’ve learned in my MBA courses to the real world,” he says.

And the decision to pursue his MBA at NC State was a simple one:

“NC State’s flexible online program allowed me to succeed in my classes while managing my demanding work schedule.”

“And the ultimate driving factor was the program’s focus on innovation, ensuring my education would empower me to support my community in rapidly changing times with immediate practical applications from the courses.”

Beyond the coursework and the lessons learned in the virtual classroom, Quinlan has gained more from the MBA program than he ever expected. From workshops to bootcamps to coaching sessions, he has found that the resources available through the program have helped him to identify his strengths and guided him towards his personal and professional goals.

“Beyond the great faculty and fellow MBA candidates, there are a host of added benefits to the Jenkins MBA program that have exceeded all expectations.”

This post was originally published in Jenkins MBA News.