10 Military Veterans To Watch From The Class Of 2019

Stephane Manuel / U.S. Army / Northwestern (Kellogg): Think you have a big load on your plate? Imagine being Stephane Manuel. A West Point grad, Manuel gained a lifetime of leadership experience in five years.

As a Platoon Leader, he orchestrated a 35-member bomb clearance team – one with a 100% success rate that earned him a Bronze Star. A year later, he served as a Battle Captain, where he was responsible for the defense of Bagram Airfield, home to over 18,000 people. This earned him another Bronze Star. Still, his success was hard-won. “My team included military and civilian personnel from the Cezch Republic, Georgia, Nepal, Afghanistan, and the U.S. I had to quickly learn how to lead in an environment with language barriers, cultural clashes, and lots of rocket attacks.”

At Kellogg, Manuel is pursuing an MBA coupled with a Master’s of Science in Design Innovation. He describes the school using terms like “camaraderie,” “collaborative,” “diverse,” and “global.” His best advice for landing a spot in a program like Northwestern? Carefully choose the stories you use in your essays and interviews.

“Your favorite moments of your career may not be the ones that best highlight your unique attributes and convey fit for a school,” he argues. “Spend time researching the school’s values, and choose stories that highlight how you have shown those values in your own way.”

Joseph Maier / U.S. Army / Columbia Business School: In a first impression, Joseph Maier comes across as a mix of John Wayne and James Bond A Green Beret, Maier describes himself as an “adrenaline seeking veteran with passion, perseverance and grit” – a guy who once turned a skydive into a scuba dive.

Peel back a layer or two and you’ll find a humanitarian who uses commerce as a means to promote calm. That was true during his service in Afghanistan. He understood winning the peace took far more than pushing out the Taliban. For Maier, personal freedom goes hand-in-hand with financial freedom. That’s why he began working closely with the villages to re-build their infrastructure and provide business tools and expertise to their people.

“Knowing that Afghanistan relies heavily on its agriculture as a driver for economic stability and growth, I consulted with the village elders to facilitate the growth of the local agribusiness by rehabilitating irrigation canals. These changes enabled greater quantity and better quality of crops which allowed the Afghan government, under the guidance of USAID, to connect the farmers with access to financing as well as organize international trade.”

Turns out, such generosity was reciprocated when Maier applied to Columbia Business School. “I had the fortune of meeting an overwhelming number of students during my application process who were eager to help me due to a ‘pay-it-forward’ mentality,” he notes. “Most of these students had been in the same situation, had been helped, and felt it their duty to return the favor. I will undoubtedly be ‘paying-it-forward’ myself.”

To read 30 profiles of military veterans who joined top MBA programs last fall, click on the links below.


Name Hometown Branch Role MBA Program
 Oron Amsalem  Ashdod, Israel  Israeli Air Force  Control Tower Manager and Air Traffic Controller  HEC Paris
 Jack Barnes  Victoria, MN  U.S. Army  Field Artillery Officer  University of Minnesota (Carlson)
 Shannon Boyle  Vernon, VT  U.S. Army  Financial Management Support Detachment Commander  Cornell University (Johnson)
 Skyler Brown  San Jose, CA  U.S. Army  Special Operations Planner  University of Washington (Foster)
 Travis Cyphers  Blue Earth, MN  U.S. Army  Executive Officer  Dartmouth College (Tuck)
 Brady Dearden  Princeton Junction, NJ  U.S. Army  Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot  London Business School
 Derek Debruhl  Davie, FL  U.S. Army  Gray Eagle UAV Company Commander  University of Virginia (Darden)
 Nathan Dyer  Bristol, ME  U.S. Army  Headquarters Company Commander  University of Texas (McCombs)
 Sam Freakley  Woodstock, VA  U.S. Army  Infantry Company Commander  Duke University (Fuqua)
 Ryan Fritsch  Edwardsville, IL  U.S. Navy  Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD)  IESE
 Kailey Good-Hallahan  Muncie, IN  U.S. Army  Staff Sergeant  Indiana University (Kelley)
 Dave Greenberg  Horseheads, New York  U.S. Marine Corps  Operations Director, Houston Recruiting Station  Emory University (Goizueta)
 Donald A. Gustavson  San Diego, CA  U.S. Army  Engineer Officer  Rice University (Jones)
 Reed Hayes  Hingham, MA  U.S. Army  Special Forces Detachment Commander  Vanderbilt University (Owen)
 Sam Lamson  Mukilteo, WA  U.S. Navy  Surface Warfare Officer  Columbia Business School
 Kyle Lewandowski  Muskego, WI  U.S. Army  Military Intelligence Officer  Indiana University (Kelley)
 Benjamin Mackey  Great Falls, VA  U.S. Marine Corps  Logistics Officer  Georgetown University (McDonough)
 Mark Martinez  Rockford, IL  U.S. Army  Military Intelligence Officer  Indiana University (Kelley)
 Brandon McCampbell  Warrenton, VA  U.S. Coast Guard  Career Management Advisor  Columbia Business School
 Barrett Moorhouse  Corpus Christi, TX  U.S. Marine Corps   Amphibious Assault Vehicle Officer  Rice University (Jones)
 Ian Murphy  Old Greenwich, CT  U.S. Army  Psychological Operations Sergeant  New York University (Stern)
 Andrew Peppler  Pensacola, FL  U.S. Army  General Manager  University of Washington (Foster)
 David Reyes  Fort Lauderdale, FL  U.S. Army  Assistant Operations Officer  University of Texas (McCombs)
 Matthew Rosebaugh  Youngstown, OH  U.S. Army  Helicopter Instructor Pilot  Ohio State (Fisher)
 Will Ryan  Bloomfield Village, MI  U.S. Army  Company Commander  Yale SOM
 Daniel Shaffer  Pittsburgh, PA  U.S. Army  Brigade Operations Officer  MIT (Sloan)
 Robert Singley  Ballston Lake, NY  U.S. Army  IT Project Manager (Company Commander)  Notre Dame (Mendoza)
 Sam Spletzer  Cedarburg, WI  U.S. Navy  Naval Special Warfare Officer  University of Chicago (Booth)
 Arthur Yang  Bainbridge Island, WA  U.S. Navy  Electronic Key Management System Officer  USC (Marshall)

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