BY BRIDGET AYMAR

Despite their exceptional leadership skills, military veterans entering the civilian workforce often face difficulties finding jobs commensurate with their experience. Thanks to the Carlson MBA Program, veterans are building the foundational knowledge they need to break into business.

“Right now is a great time to be a vet and get your MBA. Many companies are realizing the value that vets bring to the table,” says U.S. Army 1st Lt. Dan Ochs, ’16 MBA. Ochs completed an internship and later accepted a full-time position with Deloitte.

And he’s not alone: Increasingly, veterans-turned-MBA students are pursuing consulting to put their experience solving problems and leading teams to work.

“The military is the most intense leadership laboratory that exists in any profession,” says U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ben Gordon, ’16 MBA, who joined Bain & Co. this year. “Consulting is the closest thing to that in business: You’re moving into a new problem constantly, and you’re immersed in it with a team of really smart people.”

The students say the MBA program provided the business acumen they needed to compete with their peers—many of whom have more business experience or education.

“This was an opportunity to get the foundation we needed to start catching up to our peers and execute the way we know how,” says U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Tom Marchant, ’16 MBA. He accepted an offer for employment from Deloitte. “Once you catch up on those foundational pieces, no one will ever catch you again,” he says.

Compared to their MBA classmates, the veterans bring a unique brand of management experience to the program. While many have never worked in an office, they’ve discovered their skills are extraordinarily applicable to business.

“Growing into my own career in the military taught me a lot about managing people. I had to lead, get the mission done, and be successful as an individual and part of the team,” says U.S. Navy Lt. Angela Laird, ’16 MBA. After graduation, Laird fulfilled her goal of becoming a consultant at McKinsey.

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