Entrepreneurship wasn’t part of Jerimy Tucker’s career plan. With a law, international relations and national security degrees under his belt, a successful consulting career and serving Australia as a part-time Army officer, starting his own business was not on his agenda.
However, after completing the AGSM @ UNSW Business School MBAX (Finance) degree, Jeremy was ready to step into the world of entrepreneurship by co-founding a veteran-owned consultancy firm: Delta Tango, with friends, one of which he had met while training to become an officer at Brisbane-based Queensland University Regiment more than 10 years ago.
“At the time, my co-founders and I were all working for larger consulting firms and were feeling a bit hemmed in. We reached the conclusion that we had a value proposition of our own that could be distinguished from those larger companies. After lots of talking, we made the decision that we were going to have a crack at starting our own consultancy company as we thought we could bring something different to the defence and national security sector.” Jerimy says.
Delta Tango’s offering is centred on its ability to apply best practice project and program management methodologies, operational analysis and modelling techniques to clients in the defence and national security sector.
Taking their defence knowledge, a comprehensive understanding of contemporary business practices and the agility of a small, energetic team, Jerimy and his co-founders were keen to take their new ideas to the market.
“We can deliver great value for money as we bring excellent capabilities with lower overheads and less red tape. We invest in bespoke tools and have built proprietary tools to solve client problems more efficiently. Larger firms might not be capable of such initiative as projects like that can get caught up in internal procedures.”
Since launching in 2021, Jerimy’s team has worked on a number of key strategic projects for corporate and government clients, including the modernisation of the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle – Medium (BPMV), the vehicles that were sent by Australia to Ukraine. It’s something Jerimy and his team are extremely proud to have played a small part in.
Following the recent Defence Strategic Review (DSR), the Australian Government has set out a blueprint for Australia’s strategic policy, defence planning and resourcing over the coming decades.
With a commitment to six key priority areas that will modernise and improve operations of the Australian Defence Force, Jerimy says this puts Delta Tango in an excellent position to achieve great outcomes for their clients linked to those priority areas. In particular, Jerimy is very proud of his work supporting the development of Army’s littoral manoeuvre capabilities, including medium and heavy landing craft, amphibious vehicles and patrol craft.
“For a long time the Army has been very focused on land capabilities; trucks, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and field artillery. And littoral manoeuvre has been on the periphery a little bit. But the DSR recognises the importance of littoral manoeuvre and we have a lot of expertise in that capability,” Jerimy says.
“But it's been a massive change since the DSR came out, because of what the Government is asking Defence and Army to do. Delta Tango’s skills in this area allow us to be front and centre and right at the core of this exciting shift forward in Australian defence strategy.”
As a veteran-owned start-up organisation, Jerimy sees great value in those that can bring their military, corporate and professional skills to solve complex problems or challenges.
Starting his professional career as a graduate at the Commonwealth Attorney-General's department, he was able to use the military side of his brain as well as the professional side, with impressive career progression.
Jerimy says there are great synergies between the two sides that should be worth a lot to any employer.
“The fact that you get someone who can structure and solve problems, develop a plan and implement it, and then maintain that command and control of all elements throughout the execution phase – that is extremely valuable.”
Formerly working for one of the big four consultancy firms, Jerimy’s original plan for completing the MBAX (Finance) was to bolster his skillset to progress in his current organisation.
“I had a whole bunch of qualifications that are very qualitative, fairly humanities heavy, things like international relations, national security policy and law. I said to myself, it's time I up my quantitative skills,” Jerimy says.
He also needed a program that was flexible to fit in with his already full life, and the MBAX (Finance) delivered that with the high calibre of learning he was looking for.
“I am still a very active part-time army officer. I'm a dad, was still working on the client side and involved in some demanding work. So, the ability to really study when I want was very important for me.”
And while MBAX is a largely online program, Jerimy opted for at least half of his courses to be face-to-face weekend intensives.
“I’d jump in the car from my home in Canberra, drive up to Sydney, attend two days of great tuition and lectures, with the opportunity to meet awesome people and build those networks face-to-face. And I got a lot out of that.”
Toward the end of the program, the seed was planted to launch his own consultancy - and Jerimy tapped into what he’d learned at AGSM to start planning.
“In the early days, my mates and I got together with a few beers and started to map out our strategy and I applied a lot of MBA ideas from there.”
But he knew that without the backing of a larger firm, they needed other skills to be successful in a competitive market.
“It's all well and good to talk about the more ethereal plane of strategy. But when you're doing your own stunts and running your own business as well, you've got to be down in the accounting and business activity statements, you’ve got to understand GST.
“I learned so much about economics, how to look at the marketplace, thinking about things like supply and demand and applying that and adopting a forward-looking position through the MBAX. You've got to be running and looking after all these processes yourself.”
Leaving the AGSM MBA program an extremely well-rounded professional with a diverse and adaptive skillset, continuing in a large consultancy firm would’ve been a reasonable path to take.
But his AGSM experience gave Jerimy an extra level of knowledge that he wanted to use, and a start-up of like-minded veterans seemed like the best way to do that.
“It was another reason why I wanted to pursue starting Delta Tango. I wanted to be that person who was senior, even in a small organisation, who was able to exercise that part of my brain and those analytical functions and frameworks that I'd picked up through AGSM,” Jerimy says.
“So, we decided to take that brave and fairly courageous step and chart a course on our own. And suddenly we were pursuing these new challenges, showing our ability to be agile and effective on the client side and then responsible for delivering these awesome outcomes as well. It was a change of mindset, but it has been extremely rewarding.”