Monthly Archives: March 2012

Post-Military Wardrobe

If you are transitioning to a corporate job after the military, you absolutely need to think about getting a corporate wardrobe. My opinion on this matter is that you just plunk down some serious change and get some tailored suits, matching shoes and belts, and some ties. Sure, Men’s Warehouse or Brooks Brothers might suffice during the very first interviews you have coming out of the military as companies understand your situation. You could get a pretty good suit for $300 at either store. The low-end of a good tailored suit is probably around $800-$1,000. I’ve seen ballers get $10,000 suits, which I personally would never get even if I could afford it. Anyways, since I went into consulting in NYC after the military, it was obvious for me to get something great without breaking the wallet. I had two suits made from Hong Kong through a company named Noble House. Less than a year later, these suits have shrunk (and no I didn’t get that much fatter) and their quality seems faded. So therefore, I do not recommend them, but the two suits I got carried me through the first few months of my job.

 

When I got to NYC, I immediately started looking for a tailor in NYC and I’ve been pretty happy with Alan David. This being New York, of course you have to do some negotiation, but overall I feel pretty good about the price I paid. I purchased two business casual sets, i.e. sports coat and trousers. About three months later I got a regular suit made through them. As far as shoes, I personally believe you need a solid black, brown, burgundy, and I personally like camel. So that’s 4 pairs of shoes which could get good rotation throughout the week, with matching belts. Don’t throw away your old shoes just yet. For “lesser prestige” clients, training events in other cities, or rainy days, I wear my older pair of brown/black shoes. You don’t need to wear your best stuff everyday. Same thing with ties, I’m sure you have accumulated a few even though you’ve been in the military. Unless they are totally destroyed, just keep them around and slowly build your collection.

 

I think a good target within the first two years out of the military is to get around 24 shirts. The idea behind this is that the more you have, the more you can rotate, and the less wear and tear you can have on the rest of your shirts. And since I have a weird body, I find that tailored shirts work well for me. But then again, you might have the perfect fit that Brooks Brothers is making shirts for and I would definitely just go with off the rack if it fits your body size. I would recommend having a black suit, a charcoal suit, a navy suit, and two sets of business casual – i.e. navy blazer and gray pants, etc.

 

It sounds cliché, but just by dressing well gets you further than you’d imagine. Think of it as having a squared away uniform. At least initially, we tend to think that Soldiers with a great appearance ARE better Soldiers. It shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to think that people in the corporate world think the same way.

Interview with Richard Carbone, CFO of Prudential Financial, former Marine Officer

My posts talk a lot about veterans, MBAs, and finance so I thought it would be a great idea to hear about all of these topics from someone is veteran, has an MBA, and is a leader in finance. It isn’t every day that a CFO from Fortune 500 company answers your email and I’m glad that Richard Carbone has taken the time to answer a few questions for veterans pursuing MBAs and considering a career in finance. Richard Carbone is executive vice president and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Prudential Financial, responsible for its treasury, controllership, tax, business line CFO functions and M&A activity. Prudential Financial is a diversified insurance and financial services company that was ranked #64 on the 2011 Fortune 500 list. Richard received an MBA from St. John’s University and is a Certified Public Accountant. He served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps from 1969 to 1972.

ArmyJMO: Is there a difference between what you perceived as the value of obtaining an MBA while you were attending St. John’s versus what you think now?

Richard: Yes.   First of all, my MBA was a necessity.  My B.S. was in chemistry and I could not get a job.  MBAs were scarce in the 70s vs. today as well, so getting one for me had a somewhat outsized benefit.  If your undergraduate degree is not in demand and you need to retool, pick a Masters program you like, as you are not going to get many chances.  Also, I think CFA and CPA designations are as good as an MBA today

ArmyJMO: With the Iraq war ended and the Afghan war winding down, many veterans are returning home and transitioning to the private sector. Due to the current situation, what are your thoughts of veterans going directly into a full-time MBA program versus getting a part-time MBA while working?

Richard: If veterans already have B.S. degrees in Business, Accounting, or Economics, enrolling directly in a full-time MBA is preferable.  If not, they should work a year and enroll then.  They need to really want the work and have some talent in it.

ArmyJMO: There aren’t many veterans in the financial services industry. Do you think this is due to the lack of interest in this industry or that it is just hard to break into this industry?

Richard: I think location has something to do with this.  Financial Services tends to be in large cities.  The veteran population comes from a broader cross-section of America.  Also, Finance is not something a military background would remotely familiarize one with.

ArmyJMO: Prudential has a longstanding commitment to U.S. Veterans. Beyond the awards and recognitions from entities such as G.I. Jobs, which named Prudential to its 2012 list of “Top Military Friendly Employers,” and Military Times EDGE magazine, which ranked Prudential No. 25 on its “50 Best for Vets 2010 Employers” list, Prudential has been hiring veterans for a while now, without much fanfare. Whose decision was it to start hiring veterans at Prudential, and why?

Richard: Our Chairman, John Strangfeld, initiated the push to start our programs Our company is highly aware of the special value that veterans bring to the workplace. Prudential is working with other companies and partners to improve veterans’ access to education, job training, and job opportunities. This year, we expanded our work-study VETalent program to new cities and universities to continue to prepare veterans for new careers.

ArmyJMO: By any measurement, you have had a very successful career that many veterans and non-veterans alike would like to emulate. Many people may want to have this level of success, but they seem to want instant success or gratification. But this didn’t all happen overnight. Could you describe some of the hurdles or challenges you had to overcome to get to today?

Richard: Three Hurdles-

  • Education – needed to start all over
  • Age – by the time I had a usable degree, I was 30.
  • Discrimination – Marine Officers were not like the people doing the hiring who had a clear bias against the Vietnam War and Officers.

ArmyJMO: I recently read a great article about ambition that could be summed up by this paragraph:

“People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and overinvest in their careers—even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness. If you study the root causes of business disasters, over and over you’ll find this predisposition toward endeavors that offer immediate gratification. If you look at personal lives through that lens, you’ll see the same stunning and sobering pattern: people allocating fewer and fewer resources to the things they would have once said mattered most.”

A lot of young veterans are ambitous, do you have any advice on how to strike the right work-life balance?

Richard: I never strove for power or happiness; my objective was always to have peace of mind.

Cost Benefit Analysis: Using GI Bill to Pay for CFA and GMAT

Good news…CFA is an authorized exam under the GI Bill.  they subtract months off of your GI Bill per test. Bad news: If you are using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you will be charged one month of entitlement for each test taken or each $1,460 reimbursed (whichever is less). If you are using any other GI Bill your entitlement is charged proportionate to the cost of the test compared to your full-time monthly payment rate. So that means if I wanted to get reimbursed for the CFA level 1 ($1,175) and the GMAT ($250) that would remove roughly one month ($1,425) away from my 36 months of GI Bill. My June 2011 CFA costs below:

1 Level I CFA Examination Registration $745.00
1 CFA Exam Enrollment June 2011 $490.00
1 Level I Print Curriculum June 2011 $225.00
1 Level I eBook Curriculum June 2011 $185.00
Discount $490.00
Shipping $20.00
Sales Tax $0.00

If you know for sure that you are only pursuing a 2-year graduate degree then you shouldn’t use the GI Bill to cover any testing or licensing examination fees. If you are using the GI Bill for a 4-year undergraduate degree, then definitely don’t use the GI Bill to cover any testing or licensing examination fees. Although I’m starting an MBA this fall, I’m also considering a one-year mid-career MPA or MPP 5-8 years down the road. The only variable is how the GI Bill will be affected by then. Once Afghanistan is done in 2014, who knows what will happen to veteran benefits? The pessimistic view is that it could be best to just exhaust them before negative legislation comes out. A more optimistic scenario is more relaxed transferring rules and I could perhaps transfer my remaining 12 months of benefits, after using 24 months for my MBA, to my daughter.

CFA Financial Reporting and Analysis: Income Statement (Draft)

The income statement (I/S) measures performance. When prepared for the IRS, it is reported on a cash basis. When prepared for financial reporting, it is reported on an accrual basis.

 

Common Income Statement

Revenue: Sales
Gains (Market Value >  Book Value)
Investment
Expenses: Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) – LIFO vs. FIFO
Selling, General, and Administrative (SG&A)
Depreciation and Amortization (accounting depreciation) – matching principal, matching costs with benefit
Interest
Tax Expense
Losses

Net Income

 

Revenue – COGS = Gross Profit

Gross Profit – SG&A = Operating Profit

Gross Profit + Other Income and Revenues – Financing Costs ± Unusual or infrequent items = Income before Tax

Income before Tax – Provision for Income Taxes = Income from Continuing Operations (“The Line”)

Income from Continuing Operations ± Income from discontinued operations ± Extraordinary items = Net Income (The “Bottom Line”)

 

Notes on terminology above:

  • “Gross” on I/S means before tax and expenses
  • Operating profit is almost the same as Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) but not identical
  • Other incomes and revenues is interest received and dividends received. These are ancillary, not part of core business
  • Financing costs is accrued interest expense
  • Provision for income taxes is tax expenses minus deferred tax asset (DTA) / deferred tax liability (DTL)
  • DTA = paid too much
  • DTL = paid too little
  • Above the line = pre tax, below = post tax
  • Extraordinary items (GAAP only): Unusual AND infrequent events. For example, natural disasters and expropriation
  • Unusual or infrequent:
    • Disposal of business segment (10% of total profit, assets, or revenue)
    • Gain or loss from sale of investment of subsidiary (20-50%)
    • Provisions of environmental remediation (clean up costs)
  • When Market Value <  Book Value, B/S goes down, I/S shows loss only on financial reporting, not IRS (not sold yet), will create DTA
  • Discontinued operations – company hasn’t done anything yet, forward looking. It is below the line so it is a relatively large accounting decision

 

Net Income (NI):

Revenue – Expenses = NI

NI has 2 components:

1)      Dividends declared

2)      Retained earnings

NI is accounting income not adjusted for risk

Accounting point of view on $500 NI = Good

Finance point of view on $500 NI = May or may not be good, depends on how much risk was involved in getting $500.

Example: Declare a dividend, dividend payable goes up, retained earnings goes down

 

Comprehensive Income: this is a more inclusive measure of equity than net income, which is only revenue minus expenses. This measure is necessary for financial analysis from the shareholders’ point of view.

Comprehensive Income = Net Income (I/S) + Other Comprehensive Income (B/S)

 

Other Comprehensive Income (OCI):  It is comprised of certain transactions that affect shareholder wealth that bypass the I/S.

There are 4 components to OCI (B/S):

1)      Unrealized gains and losses on available for sale securities (ex. GOOG buys 2% AAPL, If AAPL increases at the end of year, marketable securities and OCI goes up on the B/S. When position is closed, put gain/loss on the I/S. This is kept on B/S to decrease fluctuations the on I/S

2)      Pension expenses – pensions are all about guesses and expectations, therefore it isn’t accurate to put it on the I/S. Keep on the B/S

3)      Hedging with derivatives – The market fluctuations would cause variations on the I/S is unnecessary, keep on B/S

4)      Currency translation adjustment for foreign exchange – Same as above

 

Revenue Recognition:

GAAP: Risk and reward of ownership transferred

IFRS: Probable flow of economic benefits

Example: An item with a 90 day warranty isn’t a sale until 90 day expires

Types of revenue recognition: sales basis, percentage of completion, completed contract, installment sales, cost recovery method

 

  • Sales Basis: This is the majority of most businesses. Buy inventory with cash and sell it for cash (or credit card transactions, basically no accruals are necessary)
  • Percentage of Completion: Reliable estimate of cost and completion required. Expense/cost drives revenue. If it takes 4 years and costs $1.6M to build a plane, and the cost is uniformly distributed, 1/4 of revenue will be recognized every year. Assets go up, NI goes up, volatility goes down, cash flow (CF) remains the same. Example: Total Revenue (TR) = $2M, Total Cost (TC) = $1.6M, Profit = $400K
    Year 1 Year 2
    Revenue 500,000 (400K/1.6M)=.25(2M) 625,000 (500K/2M)=.3125(2M)
    Expense (400,000) (500,000)
    Profit 100,000 125,000
    CF 500,000 500,000
  • Completed Contract (US GAAP only): No reliable estimate of cost and completion. Show everything at end.
    Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
    Revenue 0 0 0 2M
    Expense 0 0 0 1.6M
    Profit 0 0 0 400K
    CF 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000
  • Installment Sales: Cost is certain, collectability is not. Example: TR = $200K, TC = $100K, Profit = $100K
    Year 1 Year 2
    Revenue 40%(Profit)=4K  (profit)=6K
    Expense 8K/20K=.40 12K/20K=.30
    Profit 0 0
    CF 8,000 12,000

     

     

     

  • Cost Recovery Method: Cost is not certain, collectability is not certain. Every dollar coming in goes to recover cost until all cost is paid off
    Year 1 Year 2
    Revenue 8000 12000
    Expense 8000 2000
    Profit 0 10000
    CF 8,000 12,000

Because of its importance, earnings per share (EPS) are required to be disclosed on the face of the income statement.

 

Basic EPS = NI – Preferred dividends (all convertible and non-convertible)

Diluted EPS

Stock Options Are dilutive, warrants less dilution than stock options
Warrants
Convertible Debt May be dilutive
Convertible Preferred Stock

 

 

 

Treasury stock method

-Hypothetically repurchased. 15 x 100,000/20 = 75,000 shares (hypothetical number of shares needed, short 25,000 which needs to be issued)

-Stock options: if you exercise the shares, you will get it as salary, so they can claim as expense and pay lower taxes. They won’t actually let you exercise the options, they will give you the difference.

-Stock split is a special case of a stock dividend

 

Example: 1/1: 10,000 common shares outstanding, 4/1: 5,000 convertible preferred shares are converted, 7/1: 10% stock dividend, 9/1: repurchased 5,000 shares

Weighted average = (11000*12/12)+(5500×9/12)-(5000×4/12) =

The easiest way to adjust for these shares is to check the date of conversion or stock dividend/split and multiply the change in shares by the months, i.e. Convertible Preferred Shares are converted on April 1, multiple the number of converted shares by  9/12

 

Dupont formula

 

————-

My Level 1 Status as of 3/8/2012:

Hours studied: 50

Practice questions taken: 316

Ethics:

-QBank- Quiz 1: 23/30; Quiz 2: 25/30

QM:

-QBank- Quiz 1: /60; 38/60
-SchweserNotes: Technical Analysis- 6/9

Portfolio Management:

-QBank- Quiz 1: 26/30
-SchweserNotes: 10/13; 10/13; 3/5; 2/6

Accounting:
-QBank – 39/60
-SchweserNotes: 5/6; 7/8; 14/22
-Other: 19/25;

How to Actually Use The GI Bill

All this talk about the GI Bill got me thinking…wait a minute, it’s mid March and I’m about to start school in either July or August. We are dealing with the government and a hailstorm of paperwork is about to happen. I probably need to make sure everything is squared away right now. I don’t think I’m starting on the same page as everyone as I have already received my Certificate of Eligibility in January 2011. I pulled out my letter and it states that I’m entitled to 36 months of the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), which is what I paid for when I enlisted in 2005. “Under Chapter 30, Active Duty members enroll and pay $100 per month for 12 months.” Beyond the $1,200, I also participated in the “kicker program” for an extra $600. Here is the increased rates chart. The MGIB provides up to 36 months of education benefits to eligible veterans for:

  • College
  • Technical or Vocational Courses
  • Correspondence Courses
  • Apprenticeship/Job Training
  • Flight Training
  • High-tech Training
  • Licensing & Certification Tests
  • Entrepreneurship Training
  • Certain Entrance Examinations

This is a good time to pause and consider what I would be giving up if I converted to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Here is the chart off of the Veterans Administration’s (VA) website. I am only comparing MGIB-AD to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Apparently it all looks the same except for the tuition payments. The Post 9/11 GI Bill gives you the following:

  • Tuition: 100% for in-state tuition, $17,500 max per year for private schools, paid to school
  • Housing stipend: E-5 BAH, paid to student
  • Books & Supplies: $1,000 per year, paid to student at the beginning of the term

The MGIB would pay me $1,473.00 per month, plus $150.00 for the kicker for a total of $1,623 per month. It almost makes no sense to use the MGIB because the housing allowance alone under the Post 9/11 GI Bill may be more than $1,623, depending on where you are going to school.

Before we get to conversion, I found this interesting note on the top of the VA page:

Beginning August 1, 2011, break (or interval pay) will no longer be payable under MGIB-AD except during periods your school is closed as a result of an Executive Order of the President or an emergency (such as a natural disaster or strike). For example, if your Fall term ends on December 15th and your Spring term begins January 10th, your January housing allowance will cover 15 days in December and your February housing allowance will cover 21 days in January.

What this means is have some spare cash around and don’t only depend on your GI Bill for everything.

The next step is getting access to Veterans Online Application (VONAPP) and eBenefits. Apparently, it looks like VONAPP is a subsystem within eBenefits as I have two different logins. I’m still trying to figure out why, but anyways, now I remember how I got my certificate of eligibility (COE). For eBenefits, there is a basic account and a premium account. Get a Basic Account instantly, then upgrade to a Premium DS Logon in person at a TRICARE Service Center (TSC). There is a form on VONAPP called “VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits” and that is what you fill out to get the COE. Apparently this is the same form you use to switch from MGIB to Post 9/11 GI Bill.

 

Here’s an interesting tidbit on the first page:

“By electing Chapter 33, I acknowledge that I understand the following:

  • I may not receive more than a total of 48 months of benefits under two or more programs.
  • If electing chapter 33 in lieu of chapter 30, my months of entitlement under chapter 33 will be limited to the number of months of entitlement remaining under chapter 30 on the effective date of my election. However, if I completely exhaust my entitlement under chapter 30 before the effective date of my chapter 33 election, I may receive up to 12 additional months of benefits under chapter 33.
  • My election is irrevocable and may not be changed.

I elect to receive Chapter 33 Education Benefits in lieu of the Education Benefit checked below, ”

So basically, if you used 0-35 months of your MGIB, you are entitled to 36 minus what you used. If you used all 36 months of your MGIB, you actually get an additional 12 months of post 9/11 GI Bill for a total of 48 months of benefits. This is kind of interesting, but I don’t really see how veterans would get into this position. For me, it makes more sense to convert it all to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. It took me around 15 minutes to complete the form. I also figured out that I could use the GI Bill to pay for my upcoming GMAT and previous CFA. The question that remains is if it is worth it? That will be the subject of another post later on. Note, I did take a free GMAT and GRE while on active duty through a different Army program, talk to your base education center. Search for other certification / licensing exams here.

 

First GMAT class tomorrow. CFA class Sunday. I have no life.

Deadline Alert for Toigo MBA Fellowship – Friday, March 23, 2012.

The Toigo MBA Fellowship application deadline is Friday, March 23, 2012.

To be considered for Toigo MBA Fellowship, you must be planning to pursue a career in finance after graduation and:

1. Applying to or accepted into one of the following:

  • An accredited U.S.-based two-year MBA program
  • JD/MBA
  • Masters in Real Estate
  • Masters in Finance

2. A minority as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor. (i.e., African American, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/ Latino, Native American/Alaska Native and/or South Asian American)

3. A U.S. citizen or a permanent resident

Insider Trading, Goldman Sachs Employee Resignation, Good Time for Veterans to Reconsider Finance

I went to a talk yesterday morning at the New York Society of Security Analysts by Garrett Bauer, a former trader who is convicted of insider trading, obstruction of justice, and money laundering and is awaiting sentencing by the courts. Besides a fantastic description of what being inside jail is like, and a few interesting facts (which I haven’t confirmed yet) such as there being no more parole in federal prisons, his actions and subsequent consequences seemed very Kafkaesque. This is a guy who made millions trading for his own proprietary account that got caught up with receiving often vague, rarely specific, tips from his “friend.” This friend’s massive withdrawal of cash is what triggered an investigation that led to his friend’s downfall, and then he turned Garrett in to lessen his own sentence.

Other interesting facts:

  • Prison sentence for insider trading is based on how much money you made, not how many crimes you have committed
    • The calculations don’t count losses, so if you lose $90M off of trading insider information and then gained $100M, you owe the government $100M, not $10M. Although you may only owe the IRS taxes on $10M, but that’s not even a relevant issue at this point.
  • Turning people in will probably let the informant off with less time or with no time at all. The theory is that this incentivizes people to turn others in and therefore people will stop committing crimes.
  • It is still a crime to trade even from a false tip
  • Insider trading doesn’t have to be specific, his example was he received a tip that a semi-conductor in Texas might be acquired, and he had to guess which one and act upon it
  • Insider trading is a federal crime; federal prisons are better than state prisons

 

When I got back to work, I saw the headline which everybody has already seen by now, an op-ed by a former Goldman Sachs employee, Greg Smith: Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs. The internet is ablaze with comments on Goldman Sachs, finance, etc.

 

Both incidents led me to an interesting thought: the military is highly regarded for their ethics, yet I cannot name more than one or two high-profile senior trader, investment banker, or any front-office related finance person that is a veteran. The one person I could name is Richard Carbone, who is the CFO for Prudential, a military veteran and leader of a financial services firm.

 

If you can think of other senior leaders in finance who are veterans, feel free to post a comment.

 

Post 9/11 GI Bill Analysis for Top 16 U.S. MBA Programs

This chart looks more complicated than it really is. First of all, you should only use it to ballpark your personal tuition and fees. In fact, I would recommend that you calculate your situation yourself via the GI Bill calculator and the Yellow Ribbon Program Information by State/School. Secondly, I only use the latest tuition and fees* off of each business school’s website as of March 12, 2012. “Fees” with an asterisk as each school has a variety of fees that may or may not make sense, but I basically include any mandatory fees excluding health care insurance. Third, this analysis is for only for those with 36+ months of active duty service, i.e. those who qualify 100% for the GI Bill. Fourth, this doesn’t include fellowships and scholarships, although I will be making a separate post on schools with veteran-specific fellowships. GI Bill pays 100% of in-state tuition and fees. Most public schools use the Yellow Ribbon Program to erase the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition rates. The Yellow Ribbon is huge- the Department of Veterans Affairs matches every dollar the MBA program commits-  but you really have to notice the amount of slots. The schools with unlimited, you are golden. I’m going to follow up with analysis on specific schools later, but for now, I just want to highlight that any veteran who has full GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon can attend Ross and Darden for free. Haas has 10 total slots for Yellow Ribbon and Anderson 30, so one can guesstimate that probably half will go to incoming students and the other half going to second year students. Even without Yellow Ribbon, out-of-state students pay only a token cost at Haas and UCLA.

 

Public Schools:

School Berkeley (Haas) Michigan (Ross) UCLA (Anderson) Virginia (Darden)
Year 1 In-State Tuition & Fees $44,266 $50,575 $45,385 $48,900
Year 2 In-State Tuition & Fees $44,266 $50,575 $45,385 $48,900
Year 1 Out-of-State Tuition & Fees $51,246 $55,575 $52,580 $53,900
Year 2 Out-of-State Tuition & Fees $51,246 $55,575 $52,580 $53,900
GI Bill Tuition Assistance (2 Years) $88,532 $101,150 $90,770 $97,800
Yellow Ribbon Slots 10 Unlimited 30 Unlimited
Yellow Ribbon Amount $10,000 $99,999 $7,500 $2,500
Total Out of Pocket Costs In-State
(2 Years)
$0 $0 $0 $0
Total Out of Pocket Costs for Out-of-State
(2 Years)
$0 $0 $0 $0
Living Allowance per month $2,133 $1,323 $2,175 $1,365

Private Schools:

School Year 1 Tuition & Fees Year 2 Tuition & Fees GI Bill Tuition Assistance (2 Years) Yellow Ribbon Slots Yellow Ribbon Amount Total Out of Pocket Costs       (2 Years) Living Allowance per month
Chicago (Booth) $55,872 $54,252 $35,000 10 $4,540 $56,964 $1,566
Columbia $58,750 $58,750 $35,000 32 $2,500 $72,500 $2,754
Cornell (Johnson) $53,796 $53,796 $35,000 21 $99,999 $0 $1,167
Dartmouth (Tuck)  $56,160 $56,160 $35,000 Unlimited $15,000 $17,320 $1,230
Duke (Fuqua) $52,922 $51,382 $35,000 30 $18,000 $0 $1,161
Harvard Business School $61,396 $61,396 $35,000 60 $10,000 $47,792 $2,274
MIT (Sloan) $52,900 $52,900 $35,000 20 $7,500 $40,800 $2,274
New York (Stern)  $51,942 $51,942 $35,000 25 $10,000 $28,884 $2,754
Northwestern (Kellogg) $54,000 $54,000 $35,000 50 $15,000 $13,000 $1,566
Stanford GSB  $56,928 $56,928 $35,000 Unlimited $9,000 $42,856 $2,076
UPenn (Wharton) $61,082 $61,082 $35,000 30 $10,000 $47,164 $1,623
Yale School of Mgt. $56,530 $56,530 $35,000 50 $5,000 $58,060 $1,923


Unexpected News: Accepted to Ross

I’d be lying to you if I said that I did something extraordinary to get off the waitlist for Ross besides sending my 300-word update, which really didn’t include any significant updates from the last 2 months or so. This confirmed two things for me:

 

1) MBA admissions is very much a numbers game and veterans are just another category that needs to be filled. Basically, the stars aligned and for whatever reason, I’m in.

2) It is easier to differentiate yourself at small – mid sized programs through the application and essays

 

Point#2 is interesting because I’m accepted to Stern, Ross, and waitlisted at Fuqua and Tuck, pending decision from Darden. After my major MBA tour last year, a majority of students I spoke to at either of these schools said that their top three of four choices included the schools I just mentioned. If you take a look at all the essays from the top schools, you will quickly realize that the essays that require the most research on the schools are probably Duke, Dartmouth, and NYU in that order. Darden is unique as it only has one essay, which I love.

 

So my point is, for the smaller programs, you can be a lot more competitive just by trying harder on the application.

 

In other news, my GMAT class starts this Saturday so I will totally have no life now.

The Value of MBA Veteran Clubs

One of the things that I quickly realized during my MBA journey is the value of contacting other veterans who have already successfully made the transition. The first piece of candid advice I have received from students across multiple schools is that being a veteran in itself is not unique. Frankly, we are competing with each other, and in some cases, Army competing against Army for a few spots. Therefore, your acceptance or rejection isn’t indicative of your admissibility, there is such a roll of the dice element to it which is why I advocate veterans to apply to as many schools they can visit and research. I was lucky to be a consultant so I just visited schools as I traveled for work. My general experience was that veterans clubs are always out to help, but not every program has helpful.  I want to mention that this is only my own personal experiences and perhaps I caught some students during finals or some other unforeseen circumstances.  I didn’t feel like I had terribly good support from Columbia or Yale, but that doesn’t mean their veteran clubs aren’t helpful, I’m sure they are. I didn’t want to uniformly proclaim that all veteran clubs are helpful because I don’t want you to step in with unrealistic expectations. Veteran clubs can help review your resumes and essays.

 

School Club Unique Characteristics My Impressions
Berkeley (Haas) Haas Veterans Club N/A – Did not apply
Chicago (Booth) Armed Forces Group Booth AFG has an applicant mentorship program that provides a mentor that guides you through the whole process. I didn’t utilize the applicant mentorship program until I already applied. This would definitely be a game changer had I known about it earlier in the process. I received great support from Booth vets.
Columbia Columbia University Military in Business Association Being a native New Yorker, I was a little disappointed with the level of support from Columbia vets.
Cornell (Johnson) Johnson Association of Veterans The level of support I received from Johnson vets was insane. They frequently bothered the admissions committee on my behalf and I still keep in touch with one vet even though I didn’t get in.
Dartmouth (Tuck) Tuck Armed Forces Alumni Association TAFAA had a webcast specifically for veterans. During the Q&A session, the admissions staff logged off and the veterans provided very candid advice to all the attendees. I think this is the only veteran club to provide a veteran-specific webcast. Tuck is the smallest MBA program and the people there are very friendly and supportive. I had frequent discussions with veterans and one person provided really good advice for my essays
Duke (Fuqua) Duke Armed Forces Association I have nothing but good things to say about my experiences with Fuqua vets. I kept in touch with a student who met with me even 8 months after my interview.
Harvard Business School HBS Armed Forces Alumni Association Great response time. Had a 30-45 minute phone call with a current student and he spent a few hours reading my essays and providing valuable suggestions.
Michigan (Ross) Ross Armed Forces Association Good experience overall, had a 30-45 minute phone call a current student and he encouraged me to visit Ross
MIT (Sloan) Sloan Veterans Association Sloan is one of two schools (other being Johnson) with a domain registered specifically for its veterans club. Pretty cool and full of info. I went out for drinks with a first year veteran student. He provided a lot of tips and encouragement. Very positive experience with the Sloan Veterans Association.
New York (Stern) Stern Military Veterans Club Stern has a dedicated page with information for veterans, I think this is one of the best out of the top 16 I’ve been interacting with Stern’s MVC for over a year now, especially since I’ve been in NYC. I went to a Veterans Day Beer Call and it was a blast. Stern’s MVC definitely takes pride in taking care of other vets.
Northwestern (Kellogg) Kellogg Veterans Association Good experience overall, had a 30-45 minute phone call a current student. I didn’t schedule a meeting while I made a class visit, which I should have done.
Stanford GSB Stanford Veterans Club I couldn’t really find the link to the veterans club, the link to the left is to the list of all the clubs N/A – I didn’t contact them for some reason. One of my first applications, newbie mistake.
UCLA (Anderson) Anderson Military Club N/A – Did not apply
UPenn (Wharton) Wharton Veterans Club I had a very well-coordinated visit at Wharton and veterans led me through the whole day, including lunch and a class visit. I thought I wouldn’t get this level of support as Wharton is a big program, but I received top notch support from the Veterans Club.
Virginia (Darden) Darden Military Association Darden probably had the first veteran page of all MBA programs, I recall seeing this page back in 2009/2010. Darden loves vets. I think Darden has been loving vets more than any other MBA program. It is also a public school so your tuition is taken care of completely. If you are an out-of-state student, the Yellow Ribbon Program will cover the rest.
Yale School of Mgt. Yale Veterans Club I got a pretty cold reception but then again, could have been just my own personal experience

 

My next post is going to be around GI Bill analysis. I used to rely on the analysis provided by www.militarymba.net, but now that I’ve done my own calculations, I have realized that they are wrong.