He Started to Prepare Early

**TRIDENT UNIVERSITY INTERNATIONAL** [www.trident4military.com] (http://www.trident4military.com) “My transition was easy,” said Emanuel “Manny” Sepulveda, a military education liaison for Trident University International and a 20-year veteran of the United States Navy. Before you jump to any conclusions, Manny was not being arrogant. Talking to him, even for the first time, is like starting a conversation with a high school buddy you have not seen in years. And that approachability helped make his transition so smooth. Trident, regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, is an online university that was founded in 1998. Its growing student population consists of a diverse set of adult learners. Roughly two-thirds of them are current members of the active-duty military, National Guard, and reserves – in addition to those students who are veterans. Sepulveda’s personality and planning made his transition into the civilian relatively stress-free. Knowing that he would be starting a new chapter in life, he began to prepare early. All of the little things that he thought about before it was time to transition enabled him to have a comfortable, post-Navy landing. His Navy career included submarine duty in the Mediterranean and the Arctic, and time as a counselor recruiter. His awards include two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, nine Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and various unit and campaign awards. Sepulveda was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New Jersey. He holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration, with a concentration in human resources. “It’s never too early to start networking,” he stressed. Networking was key for him. He was able to leverage his people skills to meet a lot of people who were able to share advice about what he should and should not be doing. When asked what was the best advice he received, he responded without hesitation: “It was to go to school.” But his preparation reached further than that. He learned all he could as a Navy recruiter, and he spent time as a mentor. He also developed key soft skills such as becoming a better manager and communicator, and increasing his understanding of the importance that culture plays in an organization. Sharing an anecdote from a previous professional role, he said he was dismayed at seeing colleagues who were unwilling to help each other out. “I didn’t like the lack of camaraderie, the lack of a team spirit,” he recounted. “If something needs to be done, it’s our job. We all need to pitch in.” Since stepping into his current role at Trident, Sepulveda has had a totally different experience. He feels that he is part of the team – and that all of his early preparation is still paying off. For those men and women who are preparing to step away from the military and are looking for a smooth transition, he offered, “The most important thing to remember when you’re preparing to transition is that, no matter where you’re networking or who you seek out for advice, you’re always on an interview. If you treat it like that and maintain a positive attitude, you’ll do a lot of good for yourself.”