The link mentioned by aglages is helpful. Unfortunately there is no dual major program anymore (where you would get both a 3rd mate and 3rd a/e license)...that would be the ultimate for a wannabe SWO. The Shopper program will give you the 3rd mates license (big for SWO stuff) and an understanding a shipboard propulsion plant...plus some time actually in the engineroom. It would be very beneficial to you in the Navy.
I want to thank "Davygravy" for his comments and thoughts on KP. When I first heard my son was appointed we weren't as informed on the options and culture of USMMA. I think "suzzannegra" was a little defensive in her initial response. My son has identified the USNA as a direction at the age of 13. Since attending Academy nights throughout his high school years he has learned more about all 5 Academies. When applying and interviewing for his Congressional nomination he had listed the USNA as first choice and USMMA as 2nd, West Point as 3rd. In the last week we have researched and spoken with people that are more aware of the advantages of KP and are thrilled that he has selected KP as an option. This is a huge commitment for any young man/woman and when making these decisions it is definitely important to have a back up option, and sometimes that back up position can turnout to be the best, time will tell. Both Academies will prepare their Midshipmen for a wonderful future with lots options, My son is excited and so are we.
USMMA should not be considered a fall back school. Many cnadidates who wanted USNA from the time they were little may have never heard of USMMA. That being said there are students at USMMA who were accpeted into other academies and made USMMA their first choice. My DS was one of them. USMMA will give your DS many options upon graduation. I know of graduates that are going Air Force, Coast Guard my DS was thinking about SWO and now is rethinking SeaBees but who knows. No other Service Academy can offer that choice.
The "Shopper" Program is the USMMA slang expression for the Maritime Operations and Technology major - Per the USMMA catlog its a marine transportation program enhanced with marine engineering studies. Upon graduation and successful as a "shopper" you have your USCG Third Mate, Any Tonnage Upon Oceans Liscence, as well as an endorsement as a "Qualified Member of the Engineering Department" QMED on you merchant mariniers document, which is the highest endorsement for unliscenced personnel in the engine department.
Of course you also have your BS degree, and your Commision as an Ensign, USNR, assuming you haven't petitioned to change and commission in a different service.
When you take the "Shopper" program you also spend ~90 days of your 300+ days sea time as an engine cadet, so as noted, you are familiar with the conduct of operations both on deck as well as in the engineering spaces of merchant ships.
Last edited by jasperdog; 03-16-2010 at 02:45 PM.
Reason: Added details
The two academies shouldn't and, to some degree, can't be compared. Yes, you can be an ensign out of either school; the same could be said, however, for a Harvard or Rice Univ. ROTC grad. The both become ensigns, but you wouldn't and can't compare the two to USMMA or, in fact, to USNA.
Facilities? No comparison. USMMA has an apparent problem. Whether it gets fixed in the next three to five years will be interesting. Facilities are MUCH better at NA.
Faculty? Not much to compare. USNA has a richer, more diverse faculty. [And I don't mean dollar-wise or in terms of ethnicity.] It might beinteresting to compare--and those o fyou who will be quick to attack this post should do it--the academic standing of the civilian instructors.
Degrees? A wider variety of academic disciplines available to USNA students. Fewer option available to MMA students.
Budget? Not even close.
Sports? Not even close.
Sea Going Experience? You have to give this edge to USMMA.
Options upon graduation? USMMA
Books, supplies, allowance while in school? USNA
Prestige? Depends on how you define it but prestige is a function of public awareness and recognition; USMMA lags behind the other service academies.
The point is: USMMA offers a very specialized education. They are good [by all accounts] at offering that specialized eduction. [AND, their graduates, on average, make a whole heck of a lot more money than do USNA graduates AT THE TIME OF GRADUATION.]
If you want to be a commercial seaman, you CANNOT beat the deal offered by USMMA. Free ride, more or less, by the taxpayers AND a six-figure salary at graduation? Can't be beat.
BUT, IF YOU HAVEA CHOICE BETWEEN NA AND MMA AND you want to serve in the Navy/Marines, you can't beat the overall advantages of the NA.
IF you DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE, then MMA is a pretty good second IF YOU WANT A SERVICE ACADEMY EXPERIENCE.
BUT, consider that if you do not intend to become a commercial seaman, there may be better educaitonal opportunities [see Harvard, Rice, and other schools] available to you that result in that Ensign's title.
There is no comparing the NA and MMA; it's like trying to compare Oranges and Tangerines. Close, but not exactly . . . .
Now, this should juice up the MMA thread a little bit.
I agree with you on a couple of points. FIrst USNA and USMMA are two very different animals from their mission to their size, etc. Further, from your numerous other posts over on the USNA Board, I suspect you either attend or are a graduate of the USNA. I won't hold that against you however, I'm fairly sure your comments were meant to spark debate and illicit a response from the Kings Pointers on this board and of course it surely will starting with me. (As Sinatra sang it: "I gotta be me")
If I'm wrong and you have any actual first hand knowledge from having spent time at USMMA either as a Midshipmen, Staff member or otherwise, please speak up and I may retract some of my statements.
First, in your general characterization of the USMMA, which some may construe from your statement : "BUT, consider that if you do not intend to become a commercial seaman, there may be better educaitonal opportunities [see Harvard, Rice, and other schools] available to you that result in that Ensign's title." is in my opinion very misleading and likely to drive people in the wrong direction. Fact: The USMMA is a fully accredited college offering BS degrees in six different majors, yes all do indeed have applicability to the commercial maritime industry as well as the transportation industry. Per the Transportation Research Board, an arm of the National Science Foundation, 1 in 7 employed in the US have carrers that are in some way directly related to or affected by said transporation industry. The USMMA is fully accredited by the Middle States Association, which is a very respected higher education accreditation body. Further two of the engineering degrees are ABET accredited and also highly rated/ranked. In fact, per this year's US News and World Report Rankings: USMMA's Engineering Programs are tied for 26th nationally among all Baccalaureate Colleges. The USMMA is also ranked third overall among Baccalaureate colleges in the North behind #1 Cooper Union and #2: USCGA.
RE: "The two academies shouldn't and, to some degree, can't be compared." ... On this we agree but for differring reasons. To me USMMA and USCGA are basically small colleges while USAFA, USNA, and USMA, are at ~5,000 students quite large. Sure if you know today you ABSOLUTELY want to spend 30 years in any one particular service I'll agree the logical first choice for you should be THAT SERVICE'S Academy - that is indeed their primary mission. Of course the career paths of numerous four stars did NOT start at their particular service's academy and that's because the rigorous selection process for the "Up or Out" policy of the service values a lot of things that are over and above the ability to "knock your ring on the table."
"Facilities? No comparison. On this we will agree." USNA has larger facilities, and a far bigger budget to support them. For your information, the SecTrans' Blue Ribbon Report clearly bears out the issues you allude to and clearly indicates a 15 year planned effort is needed to ensure the USMMA facilities reach the world class standards all our nation's service academies should be at. Further as you allude fedral budgets flucutate and we'll see how that goes for USMMA. BTW where in the budget approval process is the USNA's $41M request to moderize and upgrade your dining hall's galley? My point, this is a true statement at ALL federal facilities.
"Faculty? Not much to compare. USNA has a richer, more diverse faculty. [And I don't mean dollar-wise or in terms of ethnicity.] It might beinteresting to compare--and those o fyou who will be quick to attack this post should do it--the academic standing of the civilian instructors." Sure do including a malcontent or two with tenure who author numerous diatribes on every problem at your institution as well as any professor at KP ever even thought of doing. As for diversity, yes you have more majors, etc. but to what end and why, I'll never understand and I say that not as a blast but as a taxpayer. Why on earth the service needs so many history majors or Poly Sci majors I'll never understand. I'll certainly never understand why they need any from the USNA when as you rightfully point out places like Harvard and University of Pa - Ivy League Schools, as well as UVA a great Public Institution of National Stature have NROTC programs. That said since as far as I know neither of us make those kinds of deceisions what's the point here. The question was far more specific relative to becoming a SWO out of USMMA for someone who doesn't yet or at least didn't at the time they asked the question have USNA as a choice?
"Budget? Not even close." Granted however, both are federally funded academies so what's the point here? In the end I'd agree with you though, KP needs more money again see the Blue Ribbon Report for detaisl at least as far as the physical plant. However the current 2010 GFY budget proposes increases to only two places in the Department of Transportation Budget from the President to Congress - USMMA is one of them.
"Sports? Not even close." Well depends on what you want. USNA is Division IA, while USMMA is Div III. For some that might meant they can participate at USMMA while they would not do so at USNA.
Re: "Sea Going Experience? You have to give this edge to USMMA." Yes if you want to know what you are doing on a ship's bridge or in the engine room when you get out of school, or know how to move either commercial cargo or some little military things like a battallion of Marines and their gear from two places like Cherry Point, NC and say Kuwait, then the education you'd get at USMMA will prepare you very, very well. Of course, no reason a naval officer needs to know that sort of thing.
RE: "History? USNA
Options upon graduation? USMMA
Books, supplies, allowance while in school? USNA
Prestige? Depends on how you define it but prestige is a function of public awareness and recognition; USMMA lags behind the other service academies."
On these items we'll also agree except on the prestige statement I'd add that within the smaller circle that know Kings Point "America's Best Kept Secret" it too is very well respected.
Re "The point is: USMMA offers a very specialized education. They are good [by all accounts] at offering that specialized eduction. [AND, their graduates, on average, make a whole heck of a lot more money than do USNA graduates AT THE TIME OF GRADUATION.] If you want to be a commercial seaman, you CANNOT beat the deal offered by USMMA. Free ride, more or less, by the taxpayers AND a six-figure salary at graduation? Can't be beat."
Here's my biggest disagreements with you all in one hairball of a statement by you.
- -First - USMMA really doesn't give you a "specialized education" - it gives you a great baccalaureate degree - any one of six and basicaly they are relatively general degrees. The 3 enginering degrees basically give you a Mechanical Engineering degree with exposure to and some depth in one of three areas. The Marine Transportation majors give you a general business degree again with exposure to and some depth in one of three areas. Many, many Kings Pointers then suppliment that with a graduate program when they choose to "specialize" and after they have started their careers.
--Second, further while it's (these sorts of decisions) not and never should be about how much money you are likely to make. On average across their lifetimes and on a per capita basis I'd be more then willing to bet that USMMA grads make more. In the long run when you look at the "private sector" where USMMA grads tend to end up sooner and again on a per capita basis end up in "leaderrship/executive" positions, such folks make more than the typical career officer who stays in the service for 25 - 30 years. It's really just math. However, I'd further add when you retire for the service as an O-5 or O-6 you have an excelllent and secure pension and good benefits. Something those higher paid guys might not get or might find themselves as enterprenuers having to risk "to stay on top" at age 50+.
My point is it's not usually just "at the time of graduation". In the end I agree with you, if you are realtatively confident you want to make a career of either the US Navy or USMAC and have the choie of going to USNA then that's probably the right place to go, unless there is some sort of extuniating circumstances I don't see.
However, if you don't have that option or aren't sure after looking at both USNA and USMMA that you want that path, then you needn't regard USMMA as any sort of second choice. It's an excellent institution and upon graduation you will likely find a solid road to "fame and fortune" ahead of you that is to your liking.
Not really meant to spark a debate; just expected disagreement.
Not really prepared to debate point by point. I did mis-state something: USMMA prepares you for a career in Sea Transportation; not just as a seagoing mariner.
ONe reason teh lifetime average earnings of a MMA graduate is higher is because of the early years, when they are making a lving and NA counterparts are not.
The MMA education is specialized in that it is directed towards maritime issues. One can obtian a physics degree at NA, but that doesn't make one a physicist to the same extent others who obtain a physics degree form a civilian school is. The same can be said about "engineers" graduating from MMA or, in fact, the NA. the orienttion is different; the emphais is not on beomcing a licensed engineer, i.e. a PE, but, rather, that the foundational educaiton will be used as applied to their circumstances. In other words, the educaiton is not the means to a traditional end. That's okay; that's not what the purpose is.
So, one cnanot quite compare the education received to that received at a civilian college. Nor can one quite compare the educaiotn between the NA and MMA, different objectives.
That doesn't take away, necessarily, from MMA. It's a smaller entity. It has been underfunded in recent years. IN part, this a problem resulting from erosion of its mission: the US "merchant marine" needs are being satisfied through other, cheaper, sources, ie. state maritime schools. But that is best left for a different forum.
If my own child were interested in a maritime-related career, I would strongly advise them to consider the MMA. It's a heck of a bargain.
Given a choice, however, between MMA and NA (assuming the priority is a military and, specifically, a naval career), there should be no hesitation.
As I originally, stated: Maritme Career: MMA Naval Career: NA Military Career: MMA if you want to be a mariner who is, now, in the Army. (assuming you can't get into the rspective service academies for Army, Air Force, CG) It's an odd choice but the bargain is still pretty good.
At the end of th day, it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. Do whatever the heck you think is right; it's your decision.
Oh, yes, I've been there. Not too much as my engagement did not really rquire me to physically be there; I just happened to be in NY area and used it as an excuse to visit wiht the person I was advising.
@Bill0510: re: "The MMA education is specialized in that it is directed towards maritime issues. One can obtian a physics degree at NA, but that doesn't make one a physicist to the same extent others who obtain a physics degree form a civilian school is. The same can be said about "engineers" graduating from MMA or, in fact, the NA. the orienttion is different; the emphais is not on beomcing a licensed engineer, i.e. a PE, but, rather, that the foundational educaiton will be used as applied to their circumstances. In other words, the educaiton is not the means to a traditional end. That's okay; that's not what the purpose is."
The ignorance of your reply is only exceeded by the arrogance of the implied tone. Further, you truly have no idea whaqt you are talking about on either what the three "Deck" majors or the three engineering majors prepare or do not prepare Kings Point graduates for.
1) As I stated 2 of the 3 engineering degrees qualify the graduates to sit for the EIT in any of the 50 states. That, as you may or may not know is the first step towards obtaining a P.E. Liscence. After working in the field for 5 years as an EIT one is qualified to sit for their PE. So in so far as that's the same thing anyone else graduating from a "civilian school" can do, I'd say it's the same fully accredited engineering degree from any of the other top 50 "baccalaureate" schools in the nation that offer engineering degrees give out. As a former senior executive at a fortune 50 high technology company I can say without a doubt the engineers that graduated from KP with me and the ones I've seens since recieved excellent eduations and were as good on average as the guys I've hired and worked with from the likes of Berkley, Cal Poly and even MIT. I won't even bother to mention that a significant number of PE's are "stationary/operating engineers in the Utilities industry and the similarity to runing a ship's power plant are quite significant.
2) As far as being specialized degrees in "maritime issues." I'd point out that on a per capita basis Kings Point has and continues to produce "C" level executives on a pace that is, frankly, second to none. Those CEO, COO, and CFOs lead companies that range from Shipping Companies as you'd expect, to financial firms of stature, as well as engineering firms, and even consumer products companies.
3) Perhaps the reason we generally earn more in lifetime earnings really isn't because of the first five or so years of our careers when we aren't shackled to the O-1 through O-3 pay scale as I had initially pointed out. Perhaps it's really because we are likely to rise higher in "the civilian world" since we aren't predisposed to ill concieved paradigms and prejudices. Rather, most of us learn during our sea year experience to appraoch things with an open mind and that the best business cases and values to the enterprise we are part of or lead comes from situations that are "win-win" for everyone involved.
Finally, I'm truly impressed that you thought you needed to do a "drive by" as a person you were "advising" could make the right choice. I'm sure you gained as much in depth knowledge about the institution from those few hours as you can and do from reading these sorts of posts on this board. I'm done with this string/on this thread, it's frankly not worth any more time and I like most other Kings Pointers don't suffer fools all that well.
Last edited by jasperdog; 03-28-2010 at 01:44 AM.
Reason: hit send too soon
to put in a detail that Jasperdog left out,
every single engineer that graduates from here graduates with an Engineering License. i don't quite understand how you can say that the USMMA isn't valuable to the US Navy. that honestly baffles me. i'm a 1/C mid right now and i can promise you that if you put me and 5 of my classmates on any ship (excluding running a reactor, of course) with any of the conventional powerplants we could get the plant up and running in a few hours. you'd be hardpressed to find even the 15 most brilliant engineering mids at USNA that could EVER get the ship running.
so how can you say that running a ship is not valuable to a naval officer? that's like saying it's not important for a lifeguard to know how to swim, or it's not important for a pilot to know how to fly.