Veterans Pour Into MBA Programs As Military Downsizes

Jennifer Tietz, class of 2015, Tuck MBA program

Jennifer Tietz, class of 2015, Tuck MBA program

“If one of my sailors was having problems at home,” says Tietz, “he wasn’t going to be effective on the ship, and that’s really difficult when you have to lead the whole team. The human element factors into everything we do.”

Military leaders, constantly confronted by ambiguity, must nevertheless communicate effectively with everybody from minimally educated enlisted members to highly educated generals and admirals, adds Tietz.

SKILLS DIFFERENTIAL EVENS OUT IN B-SCHOOL

Now, as Tietz’s peers ratchet up their communication and leadership abilities, she’s building her business skills. “The opportunity to learn from people who have been working in business prior to going to business school has been really, really great,” Tietz says.

At Tuck, word of veterans’ MBA experiences pushes more veterans into business school, Roth says. “Our veteran community, both alumni and students, are very active in their outreach and assisting veterans looking to continue their education, whether or not they come to Tuck,” Roth says.

Nationwide, federal aid is helping drive veterans into B-school. The GI Bill pays up to $17,500 per year in tuition, and adds a living stipend, while the Yellow Ribbon program can match many schools’ aid up to $10,000 annually.

With contributions from federal programs, and Tuck’s own additional funding, veterans at the school, where tuition costs $61,605 per year, receive near-free tuition. “There is a gap this year of just more than $5,000,” Roth says.

The funding pays off with veterans’ future successes and a bump in Tuck’s post-grad-employment statistics: for the past four graduating classes, every veteran looking for a job had one by graduation.

U.S. and NATO soldiers exit a Chinook helicopter during an assault in Afghanistan. - Ethan Baron photo

U.S. and NATO soldiers exit a Chinook helicopter during an assault in Afghanistan. – Ethan Baron photo

Data reflect a steep increase in the number of military members and veterans enrolling in MBA programs, to 8% of all MBA program entries in 2012 from half that percentage in 2010, according to Military MBA, a support organization. With the exodus from U.S. forces increasing over the next few years, that number is likely to keep climbing.

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