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Former Marine boasts score of eclectic talents

Hochiang Wang, DMSB’14, always knew he would join the military, but it was a high school trip to the Marine Corps Washington, D.C. barracks that helped solidify his decision.

There he saw a performance by “The Commandant’s Own,” The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, and was wowed by the pageantry of the 80-member band. A few years later, Wang found himself playing trombone in the same group.

Wang started playing the trombone in the fourth grade but never dreamed it might lead him to the military. “I signed an open contract when I joined and when I told the Marines Corps I played the trombone, they said, ‘That’s what you will do for us,’” Wang explained.

He traveled all around the country performing, including at the Tournament of Roses parade. He first played with Marine Band San Diego and then with “The Commandant’s Own.” The Marine Corps music program, he noted, is kind of like its marketing and recruiting arm.

But his military experience was not just about music. As the loadmaster for the barracks, it was his job to strategically load cargo onto planes, whether it was boxes or the Marines themselves.

Wang said he was very happy with his eight years of military service but felt like there was a lot more in the world to explore—college being one of them. He noted that the university’s signature co-op program was a major factor in choosing Northeastern.

On campus, Wang serves as the treasurer of the Student Veterans Organization. He is also working to establish a speaker series in which student veterans would share their military experience with professionals and classes. Wang said eight student veterans have volunteered and hopes to get the series rolling this semester.

“What I want people to realize is the military is not just a one-dimensional war fighting machine,” Wang explained. “The mission is national defense, and there are various operational and support roles that work together to ensure success.”

A business student with a concentration in supply chain management, Wang was a member of the Northeastern team that won the fifth annual Undergraduate Supply Chain Challenge at Michigan State University in November. He also works as a research assistant for associate professor Gilbert Nyaga in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, who researches logistics strategy, supply chain relationships, and new product launch.

He did his first co-op with EMC, a multinational corporation that offers data storage and information security, which subsequently hired him earlier this year to work part time on cost-saving strategies in customer service logistics. Wang helped the company identify substantial costs savings by finding ways to improve shipping, stocking strategy, and realigning inventory with demand.

“To say I personally made it happen would of course be an exaggeration,” Wang explained. “I simply identified the areas of opportunities by researching past performance and presented the costs to benefits of implementing new ideas.”