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The Cost of Managing Money

September 10, 2015 | Patrick Nevins

How much does the Department of Defense (DoD) spend on financial management? That’s probably not a question that many people ask themselves. I certainly had not entertained this thought prior to my summer experience working with the DoD Comptroller. However, when dealing with an organization in charge of a yearly budget over $500B, small percentages turn into large quantities of money.

I spent the first half of my summer thrown into the deep end of the budgeting/accounting/finance world; a nebulous area that is quite foreign to me. As a public policy undergraduate, military veteran, and public policy graduate student, it doesn’t come as a surprise that my background in these disciplines is limited. Getting up to speed and learning the terminology was a steep learning curve.

Even given my discomfort, I was able to work with my team to quickly provide value and be a contributing member. This is absolutely a skill developed during the first year at Sanford. Assignments such as the 48 hour memo and the spring consulting project were an exercise in just this. Through these projects, we were able to show ourselves just how much we can learn in a compressed timeline. For me, that was the greatest takeaway and provided me with the confidence to enter into areas that were foreign to me.