How Business School Can Help You Become Chief of Police

How Business School Can Help You Become Chief of Police

By Aaron Francis Chan,

Most graduates of top business schools end up packing spreadsheets and briefcases, not badges and guns. However, for those business graduates (also known as MBAs – Masters in Business Administration) who choose to protect and serve the public instead of their shareholders, a career in the police force can be incredibly rewarding.

How to become a Police Officer

But why do an MBA to become a police officer?

First, it builds up the skills necessary for anyone to become a top officer. As one moves up the ranks in any organisation, whether it’s the police or the mob, he or she is increasingly called upon to make strategic choices and management decisions. In going from a detective to a lieutenant to a chief of police, one will end up having to read balance sheets, HR profiles, and project plans.
Simon Bate, OBE, was once a colonel in the British Army. He finished his MBA at the Open University and is now the Chief Executive of the Derbyshire Police Authority in the UK. As he put it, “the MBA gave me confidence…that when I went for a chief executive role I understood strategic planning and decision making, stakeholder management and communication strategy, HR and finance and balance sheets…my MBA helped me understand the questions I was being asked at the interview, to respond in a similar style and also to help demonstrate my enthusiasm for the appointment.”

Second, MBA programmes are also a great training ground for police officers interested in learning the ins and outs of white-collar crimes like financial fraud, insider trading, or money laundering. Complementing the deductive skills honed by police training and experience on the beat, a formal education in business can help police officers crack down on criminals using Excel and MATLAB instead of guns and batons.

Craig Gregory, formerly with the Australian police, now applies his MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) to lead the Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services unit at Ernst & Young. As he explains it, “understanding fraud requires understanding roles in business relations…even though data analysis was the module I was least fond of, I am able to see better how it can be manipulated in the corporate world to suit fraudulent purposes.”

Business Schools are beginning to respond to the challenge. Saint Xavier University’s Graham School of Management is already offering a special MBA programme with the Chicago Police Department in the United States. How soon before one of their graduates is heading up the force?