the beat with a gun, a badge ... and an MBA?
McKim '93 takes due diligence to new levels by rooting out
crime as one of San Jose's finest
drug dealers. Arresting drunk drivers. Investigating homicides.
McKim '93 has found some unexpected new applications for
his Kellogg MBA.
is a great job — every day you go out and it's different,"
says McKim, a rookie cop on the San Jose, Calif., police department.
workdays used to be a lot more predictable. Four years ago,
he was a vice president of product marketing and business
development at Open Harbor Inc. He enjoyed stock options,
a six-figure salary and all the perks that accompany the classic
also endured a killer commute and frequent business travel
that ate deeply into his home life. His wife, Janice Austin
McKim '94, was pursuing her own career as a chief financial
officer for a San Jose company. The two enjoyed all the trappings
of success, but the long hours were taking a toll.
kids were 2 and 4, my wife was working as a CFO and I was
driving 40 miles to work each day," he recalls. "It
was ugly. We were picking the kids up after work and they'd
fall asleep in the car. We would put them to bed and talk
to them while they slept: 'How was your day?'"
decided to take a two-year sabbatical to bond with his children,
while Janice became the family's sole breadwinner. They agreed
that she would take her turn at home once Brent returned to
spent the next two years as a stay-at-home dad, shuttling
his sons to the playground and preschool. He also pondered
his next career move.
opportunity cost was going to be time with my kids, so the
bar was a lot higher than if I had been leaving a business
position," McKim says. "I wanted something more
community-oriented than I had been doing before."
had a few relatives who worked in law enforcement, one of
whom spoke of the "fun" of police work. A previously
unimaginable idea — that he could become a cop at mid-life
— began to take root.
Kellogg alum performed his due diligence, interviewing veteran
police officers about their work. Riding with them on their
beats, McKim was struck by the job's spontaneity and challenge.
say, 'What are you doing? You've got an MBA, you're making
good money,'" McKim recalls the officers asking. "'Why
would you want to become a cop?'
when I asked them if they wished they had done something different
with their lives, none of them said yes," says McKim.
He took note, and decided to apply to the San Jose Police
40, he became the academy's oldest student, and the top-ranking
graduate in his class.
McKim works the night shift, trolling San Jose for bad guys
while the city sleeps. He's home during the day to take his
sons to soccer practice and have dinner with his family. He
says he's happier than he's ever been.
really enjoy the problem-solving and the strategizing,"
he says. "My favorite thing is to catch a criminal who
is walking or driving on the street, not thinking he was going
to be caught that day. Basically, I like to hunt."
business training has been an asset in his new career, says
Sgt. Steve McEwen, a former supervisor. He describes McKim
as "balanced, mature and intelligent."
we have to make split-second decisions, and Brent is someone
who will get people to talk and relax," McEwan says.
"He has a calming effect both on his colleagues and people
on the scene."
credits his Kellogg training in teamwork and communication
with helping to build that composure. He knows his MBA will
be a useful credential as he advances through the police department
goals are now to stay safe, get to know the department, learn
about what opportunities I might enjoy down the road, and
to try to learn something new every day," he says.