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.

9 thoughts on “The Value of MBA Veteran Clubs

  1. Betsy Massar

    Hello! I just discovered this post; was aware of your blog for a while, but for some reason missed this.
    I’d like to put it up on the Master Admissions Facebook page, if you don’t mind. It’s really useful! I appreciate that it is one person’s experience. I love working with b-school bound vets — they are the best!

    Also, good luck on your choices — if you are interested in hashing it out with someone who can give you an opinion based on knowing zero about you, email or call. I know people at all the schools you are considering, and would be happy to make some introductions.

    Best to you, Betsy

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Hi Betsy,

      Feel free to spread the love on your Facebook page

      I might take you up on the advice once I get my final decisions in the end of March

      Thank you,
      Army JMO

      Reply
      1. Betsy Massar

        I’ll put it up tomorrow. I also like your blog post on why vets should get an MBA. You should tell them that the top schools don’t only pick academy guys too. I personally know a ton of people at the top 3 who are ROTC.

        Reply
        1. admin Post author

          True…I’ve seen mainly two categories of admitted students, academy grads and those who did ROTC at/near an Ivy/Strong Regional, i.e. I’ve seen a lot of Cornell undergrads/ROTC go to Johnson and Northwestern undergrads/ROTC go back to Northwestern. Haven’t seen many folks from the third commissioning source: Officer Candidate School.

          Reply
          1. James Earl Jones

            As an OCS guy who is applying to B-school this fall, I’d say the reason you don’t come across OCS applicants as much is that the decision to join the military is done late in college. Academy/ROTC guys make the decision when they’re high school seniors and some see it as a way to pay for college, then when the 5 years are up, they’re free to go.

            OCS guys explored other career options throughout college and for whatever reason decided to seek a commission via OCS.

          2. admin Post author

            James:

            I’m representing OCS as well. Glad to see that there are at least two of us. Are you an Army OCS guy? Good luck with your apps — what schools are you looking at or considering? If you want to talk about anything else give me a holler at armyjmo@gmail.com.

            Good night

  2. James Earl Jones

    I’m a Navy OCS guy. After making a bunch of visits, I’ve narrowed my choices to Darden, Tuck, Kellogg, and Johnson. I might add a fifth. I’m applying this fall. I couldn’t imagine how much work it was to apply to 14 schools!

    Reply
  3. Betsy Massar

    Hi again. Sorry I got distracted, but I put this blog post on my Facebook page, which automatically goes to Twitter and LinkedIn. I think this is really valuable stuff.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Thanks. You might find the post on GI Bill helpful as well, starting in Aug of 2011, the top public MBA programs look much more interesting now that tuition is $0. Also, Cornell and Duke stepping it up on Yellow Bill contributions which make total tuition $0.

      Reply

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