U.S. Veterans Share Their MBA Experiences Abroad

Garrett Henderson. Courtesy photo

Garrett Henderson

Background: I began my career working in financial statement auditing at EY for four years. After this, I enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, where I worked as a boat driver for search-and-rescue missions. After I completed my enlistment, I joined the IESE MBA Class of 2020.

Post-MBA plans: Upon finishing the MBA, I will join McKinsey as a strategy consultant in their Atlanta office. I did my internship with McKinsey Atlanta last summer and had an outstanding experience. I was especially impressed by the feedback culture present throughout the firm, as well as the collaborative environment of the Atlanta office.

Challenges/insights from the recruiting process: The amount of work that goes into the preparation for consulting recruiting can seem overwhelming at times, especially at the beginning of the process. I was fortunate to work with the IESE Consulting Club as well as career services, which provided a great deal of support throughout the process. I also discovered that consulting recruiting is much more focused on the local offices rather than internationally, as I would have expected for the larger firms. As a result, it is very important to begin networking and developing contacts in the offices you are interested in and have a strong connection to.

How did the veterans network help? I received a huge amount of support from the veterans network. To start, I was mentored from day one at IESE by a Navy vet from the year before me. He really helped me think through different career options and the steps needed to be successful. I was also surprised to discover how strong the military veterans network is within consulting firms, especially within U.S. offices. Veterans were always my first point of contact in the firms, and I received a response from everyone I reached out to. At McKinsey Atlanta, my primary contact at the firm helped me throughout the process by providing my information to recruiting staff, offering guidance on the application and even giving me two mock case interviews.

Rene Hyun

Rene Hyun. Courtesy photo

Background: I started my military career as a warfare officer in the U.S. Navy and deployed three times around the world on destroyers. Afterward, I was stationed in Sydney, Australia as a missile defense instructor and war games liaison officer. After 7 1/2 years on active duty, I designed and directed war games for the Australian Navy as a defense contractor. This past summer for my MBA internship, I was a summer associate at Kearney in Dubai, UAE. Currently, I am the president of IESE Consulting Club.

Post-MBA plans: I will return to Kearney in Dubai, UAE as an associate.

Challenges/insights from recruiting process: Reach out to veterans who are working in your target industry. Learn about their experiences at business school and how they transitioned into their post-MBA roles. Ask about what they prioritized in the MBA and how they overcame specific challenges transitioning from the military to business. You can gain insights on how to evaluate your military experience and craft impactful stories for your interviews.

How did the veterans network help? Every veteran I reached out to on LinkedIn through cold calls replied immediately and was willing to meet in person or have a phone chat. I’ve received lots of helpful advice on how to navigate business school and prepare for consulting interviews. Before joining IESE, I reached out to Ryan Fritsch, IESE MBA 2019 and U.S. Navy veteran, and he helped me prepare for recruiting before and during the MBA. Ryan also gave me several mock interviews and countless pieces of advice throughout the recruiting process. The IESE Veterans Business Club gained a lot of momentum recently and is ready to help other veterans transitioning from military to business.

Charles Payne

Background: I went to the U.S. Military Academy West Point, where I commissioned as an engineer officer in the U.S. Army. In 2013, I deployed to Afghanistan as the operations director of a company finding roadside bombs. After returning, I served two years in the nonprofit sector as missionary evaluating the next steps, traveling and serving on almost every continent, before deciding to pursue a full-time MBA at IESE.

Post-MBA plans: I’ll be serving as the expansion manager for ABInBev (Budweiser) in Europe, focused on business development in new markets in EMEA.

Challenges/insights from the recruiting process: First, when you really want a company and it feels like a good fit (that’s key), go all in and apply a lot of effort to network at that company. Second, always try to bring both the professional and personal to your interviews. It always feels better to sit across from someone who feels intelligent and human, rather than a well-rehearsed robot.

How did the veterans network help? One of the previous year’s veterans, Ryan Fritsch, was a key mentor through the whole process. He helped me talk through some of my struggles during second semester, where I was missing the camaraderie and meaningfulness of the military. Furthermore, I always enjoyed hearing about the experiences of my foreign brothers and sisters. They are wonderful and talented people.

Charles Payne. Courtesy photo


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