The Ranks of MBAs in Uniform is Growing
Picture this: In the next five years, 1.5 million military service members will be joining the civilian workforce.
That was the forecast made by Mike Haynie, executive director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. While business and government may fret over how to absorb such a large population, business schools view this influx as an opportunity.
In fact, business schools are already welcoming a flood of military personnel into their ranks. And many are streaming into online MBA programs. Take the University of Indiana’s Kelley School of Business and the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Busines School, for example. Both are among the largest and most prestigious online programs in the nation. At Kelley, active service personnel and veterans comprise 25 percent of the class; at Kenan-Flagler, they make up 15-20 percent.
Overall, according to Military MBA, military enrollments in MBA programs doubled from 2010 to 2012.
And that’s not by accident, says Greg Eisenbarth, executive director of Military MBA. “…A lot of military officers realize that the MBA credential matters in civilian career paths and leadership positions…They are looking to take on a certain amount of responsibility when they come out.”
And online MBA programs are often the perfect vehicle for this population. With many active personnel deployed overseas with assignments that can change at a moment’s notice, on-site programs simply aren’t an option according to Eisenbarth. With many veterans serving as breadwinners, the flexible schedule inherent to online programs is a key to their decision-making process. And with the GI Bill and other Federal programs providing tuition assistance of up to $55,000 over two years, it is almost a no-brainer for military personnel to enroll.
“A big part of transitioning out of the military is to get an education for a civilian career,” Eisenbarth says. “Now I think you’re going to see greater demand for MBA programs, and most MBA schools certainly wrap their arms around getting more military students into what they’re providing.”
Based on the numbers, it definitely looks like military students are buying what schools are selling.
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