The Value of Military Experience and the MBA

Jul 9, 2013
Tags: Choosing the Right School, MBA, School Selection

Kristin RothSubmitted by Kristin Roth, Associate Director of Admissions at Tuck School of Business

A few weeks ago, I was delighted to attend the Service Academy Career Conference (SACC) in Washington, DC, held the Friday before Memorial Day. It was perfect timing to let our prospective military applicants know how grateful we are for your service and how much we value your experience.

I’d like to say Tuck’s unique in our regard for military applicants, but, being perfectly frank, most MBA programs value what you bring to our schools. What an MBA offers you is the opportunity to transition into a new community, to build your business skills while capitalizing on the leadership and teamwork experience you already have, and to add a network to help you to support you throughout your career. There are many programs out there and each has a different flavor. The most important thing you can do is research each program thoroughly and see how it fits your professional and personal goals.

You’ll get the best sense of a school’s community by visiting and talking with the students. If possible, set foot on the campuses of the programs you’re considering. If you have a partner, bring him or her along. You’ll be able to adjust to the rigors of an MBA better if your partner and family are happy too. When visiting, just let us know you’re a military visitor with a partner when you sign up. In addition to the usual visit activities, we’ll connect you with a member of our Armed Forces Alumni Association and your partner with our Partners Club. Check out the visit guidelines for each program you’re researching and give those schools the opportunity to show you the best of their communities. And be sure to reach out to the armed forces club at each school.

The adjustment to school can be challenging. Our curriculum at Tuck is, well, tough. But as you earn your MBA you’ll get the business foundation you’ll need in the future – hard skills in classes like Accounting and Decision Science and soft skills in classes like Management Communication. That’s what you’ll want to round out your unique skills and prepare you for the next move in your career, whether you’re returning to the military or starting afresh in a corporation, a nonprofit, or maybe your own business.

You already know the strength of your military network; during your MBA, you’ll add in another strong community. At SACC, I was lucky enough to have a Tuck ’07 and Naval Academy graduate greet prospective applicants with me. His enthusiasm for Tuck was palpable and highlighted one of the greatest distinctions Tuck offers: the power of our network. You’ll find that power in different ways at many MBA programs. An MBA offers you the opportunity to build your network out beyond your military ties. Those connections can be critical as you grow your career and your business.

Financing your degree can be one of the biggest questions to answer as you consider your MBA. Research each school’s financing options and know your eligibility for military benefits. Many schools offer substantial benefits through the Yellow Ribbon Program (YRP) for those who qualify.

Best of luck to you!