According to Matt Cowsert, a recent graduate of NYU’s Stern School of Business, military veterans wanting to gain an MBA have a stereotype to overcome.
“The sentiment I often hear is, ‘Hey, you’re really good at following orders.’ Which is true, sure, but I also spent a lot of time with more autonomy than most 20-somethings are going to ever receive in the corporate world,” says Matt Cowsert.
Before enrolling in the full-time MBA program at New York University’s Stern School of Business, Cowsert was a budget analyst, managing $56 million. But, he says, that’s not the way he’s often been perceived.
“I feel like a lot of people think that I’ve been told what to do my whole life and I’m a drone, I can’t think for myself, there’s no creative thinking involved,” Cowsert says. “And it might not be true for everybody, but through anecdotal conversations I’ve had over the past two years, I’ve seen it more than I appreciate and I feel like it’s something I’ve tried to actively overcome throughout my interactions in interviews.”
As Cowsert transitions from school to a technical product manager position at Amazon in Seattle, he has put the lessons he learned through the whole B-school life cycle into a 101-page guide called What’s Next: A Military Veteran’s Guide to Maximizing Your MBA. In the book, Cowsert focuses on three essential transitions that military veterans go through while applying to business school: convincing yourself, convincing your target school, and convincing your target company.