Dartmouth Helps Military Personnel Hone Business Skills

Shifting from the military to the business world isn’t as drastic a move as you might think. In December we profiled the free, 14-month Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, first introduced by the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University in 2007 and now offered by a consortium of five universities. BusinessWeek posted a great profile this week on Brian Iglesias, just one of the success stories from the EBV program.

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth also has a feature on its website about military personnel coming to b-school to hone civilian leadership skills. Tuck enrollment manager Bill Brown (Tuck ’78), a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and former nuclear submarine officer, anticipates that leaders from the armed forces will increasingly be seeking admission to business schools across the country.

“I have people calling me from Baghdad telling me they are studying for the GMATs,” he says. “More and more military leaders are showing up at our door.”

In 2008, the GI Bill significantly increased the amount of funds available to military personnel seeking educational advancement. According to Brown, even those who want to remain in the armed forces will form a part of the growing applicant pool.

“The military doesn’t hire from the outside. If they want their leaders to have extra education, they have to send them to a school like Tuck,” he explains.

What skills do these candidates possess that set them apart from the rest of the applicant pool? Invariably, those with a military background come in with solid leadership and team-building experience. Prospective students involved in nation building have real-life, transferable skills.

“These people have acted almost like the mayor of a small town or region where they’ve had to mediate conflicts,” Brown says. “They’ve come to understand what it takes for their sector to be stable and they have a tremendous amount of experience in small-scale governance.”

Taking a tour in b-school is about rounding out first-class management, leadership and people skills with the quantitative side of business. In the words of U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate Amy Florentino (Tuck ’10), “I want to learn more about how to operate in a way that is global and strategic rather than just tactical.”

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