What made you decide to get your Rollins MBA?
The small class size, the ability to extensively interact with professors, the opportunity to obtain a finance concentration, and the tight alumni network. Rollins advertises these unique perks and they deliver.
Did you use GI Bill money to pay for your education? If so, what was your experience and what advice would you have for veterans who are looking to use the GI Bill to pay for their MBA program?
Yes. The Rollins GI Bill administrator was extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and available to answer any questions I had quickly. I had a smooth and effortless experience with Rollins processing my GI Bill benefits. I started my application for benefits early in the process and stayed in contact with my administrator throughout my time at Rollins. I transferred halfway through my school from the Standard GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill without any problems.
My advice for any veteran using the GI Bill would be this: Do your homework, get in contact with the school GI Bill administrator early in the process, make sure you use the Post 9/11 GI Bill (otherwise see if you are eligible to transfer to it), and look into the Yellow Ribbon program if your school has it. I am thankful to Rollins for opening their school to the Yellow Ribbon program. Finally, transfer any remaining GI Bill benefits to your family (if able).
How has your Rollins MBA helped you in your current position?
Rollins challenges you to think strategically, quickly process information into intelligence, and communicate clearly to overcome challenges. Those skills have been very valuable in my current position as a program analyst where we routinely encounter problems for which no formalized solution has been implemented.
The military is often considered a good place to develop technical skills. How has your experience in the Air Force helped you land your current position with Homeland Security?
My last year on active duty afforded me the opportunity to work on an integrated product team for an Avionics Modernization Program for our airframe. The program management skills learned from that year have given me a strong foundation for the extensive IT projects Homeland Security routinely works on.
How can an MBA help veterans who want to work in IT management?
The federal government is increasingly relying on IT to reduce costs and improve production. The federal government is famous for poorly managed IT projects. Most of the time the difference between a poor performing IT system and a properly performing IT system is good management. To that end; an MBA can often be the decider between good or poor management skills.
What should veterans do in order to decide if an MBA is the right fit for them?
Find what you love to do. If that love entails getting an MBA; then do the homework to find which schools are best for you.
Do you feel that there are stereotypes that are made about military MBA applicants in terms of strengths and weaknesses?
Yes. And most (certainly not all) are true because of the relatively similar training us veterans receive. However, the lion’s share of stereotypes is positive in nature. Military veterans are given a large amount of responsibility relatively early in their career. Such as; the ability to work through adversity, lead a group, maintain a positive attitude, and complete the assigned task are skills which should be parlayed into the applicants MBA package.
How should military MBA applicants address these stereotypes in their MBA application?
The successful applicant will highlight these skills and their results without jargon or acronyms in a personable and professional way. The applicant shall describe in detail how the attributes they possess will compliment the MBA class and contribute to class leading.
What can veterans do to make the transition from military to MBA easier?
Veterans need to have their finances (i.e. GI Bill benefits documentation) squared away along with any valuable paperwork (i.e. DD214) ready. Start talking to the VA and graduate school early in the application process to find out how much school and living costs will be covered by the GI Bill. Get all those items taken care of before school starts so all you have to focus on is studying.
What government job opportunities are available to veterans with MBAs?
That I know of, there is no government job that requires an MBA. With that being said, having an MBA is definitely the differentiator that got me in the front door and has paid dividends for me multiple times since working at Homeland Security. Also, as one applies for higher level jobs in the federal government, having an MBA (along with other required schooling) will set you apart from other applicants.