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From Combat to Corporate: Veterans with MBAs

Posted by Chioma Isiadinso

Military veterans have long been an appealing demographic for employers, and with good reason- their experience hones unique skills and strengths that would be an asset to any company.

That same appeal can be seen in MBA programs around the country, as more and more veterans, after completing their tour of duty, are applying to and attending top B-schools.

In fact, Poets and Quants reports that the HBS Class of 2011 lists over 30 veterans among its ranks. At one of the world’s most competitive schools, that is a good number, and indicative of a broader trend.

Veteran presence on top MBA campuses has grown exponentially over the past few years for a variety of reasons.

First, the values and lessons that the military teaches align with values that many schools identify in ideal MBA candidates.

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Poise in challenging situations, independence, leadership and teamwork experience, meticulous attention to detail… the list could go on.

The situations that veterans face in the military teach powerful lessons, and MBA programs recognize and value that.

They also recognize the value that such lessons will bring to classroom discussion.

So much of the MBA program depends on vigorous viewpoints from a diverse crowd of perspectives, and veterans add a uniquely valuable perspective to that mix.

Their thoughts on topics like leadership and ethics can bring an entirely new dimension to classroom discussion and can be very eye opening for students without military experience.

The increasing veteran presence on MBA campuses finds another root cause in lowered barriers to entry for incoming veterans, for whom cost is often a top concern.

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Resources like the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program, developed and broadened over the last few years, help veterans pay for an MBA education, even at expensive top tier schools.

In addition to financial resources, a veritable sub-industry has sprung up around veterans seeking admission to MBA schools.

Consulting firms are specializing in prepping veterans for the MBA application process.

Specialized MBA veteran conferences are taking place, connecting veterans with MBAs programs to companies looking to employ them.

Sites like Military MBA offer all sorts of resources for veterans aspiring to an MBA degree, including a best value ranking that breaks down which MBA programs combine top value with excellent tuition reductions from the post-9/11 GI Bill.

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In case you were wondering, Tuck School of Business won the top spot on the list, followed by the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and Cornell School of Management.

For many veterans, an MBA education offers an excellent opportunity to transition back into civilian life in a setting that appreciates the sacrifices that they have made and the skills that they have learned.

Military experience and a management degree make for a very impressive combination in the job market as well, and will universally command respect for the dedication and sacrifice that such a path requires.

To all our veterans out there, thank you for your service, and please get in touch to let us know how we can help you.

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