From Military to MBA

Current and former members of the armed forces possess numerous skills that admissions boards value in an MBA candidate. Real-world leadership experience, the ability to strategize and think on their feet, and being able to work well under high-pressure situations are just a few of the advantages a veteran brings to the table when applying for business school. The ability to increase earnings potential and career opportunity is leading many current, retired and reserve military personnel to pursue a graduate degree. Whether the goal is to rise in the ranks or transition into the civilian world, an MBA can provide a competitive advantage for veterans.

Business schools that participated in a Military MBA survey reported, on average, a 48% growth in enrollments of students with military backgrounds between 2006 and 2007, while two schools — the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business and Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management — reported the largest growth in military student enrollments. offers a downloadable MBA planner, Operation MBA, specifically designed for active duty, reserve and National Guard personnel ready to take this crucial step as part of their career plans. The guide includes key information such as why veterans should consider a graduate management degree, how to transfer from a military to academic setting, what types of MBA programs are available, and a timeline to help plan out the application process from start to finish.

Several schools welcome applicants with military experience into their MBA programs. In fact:

  • When allowed by state and university regulations, they will waive the application fee for military persons who have been on active duty within three years of applying.
  • They also have committed to making financial aid available to qualified military personnel who have transitioned from the service in the two years prior to enrolling in their program.
  • They will also provide a one-year deferment if admitted military students’ plans are delayed by their service branch.

For a list of military-friendly schools, and links to participants who offer a unique perspective on how they have used their military background to maximize the business school experience, click here.

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