So, you are looking to go back to school to earn your MBA and either plan for or facilitate your transition into a civilian role. Here are a few tips on how to leverage your military experience into a successful business school application.
1) Leadership, leadership, leadership
Whether you have been in an active combat situation or manage a satellite program, you have led many teams in your military career, and possibly at a military academy or at boot camp as well. Make sure to highlight leadership examples in your application. Especially for younger candidates, leadership and people management are key, as what you have likely exceeds a comparable civilian candidate.
2) Budget Management
As a team or program leader, you probably have managed significant budgets. Add these dollar amounts into your resume to highlight your fiscal responsibility. Chances are, even if they aren’t big for the military, they are probably much bigger than someone your age has had in a civilian role.
3) Critical Thinking Skills / Adaptability
The work you did, whether in combat or behind the scenes, had significant implications. You have to quickly assess the situation and think on your feet. You had to adjust your knowledge and training for the circumstances that you are in. These are key skills that business schools look for, and many often teach a class for it!
4) Handling Classified Information
You most likely had secret clearance and handled confidential information that had major implications on security. You are a greatly trusted employee. On the flip side, you probably aren’t able to discuss some of the work that you did in your essays or in an interview, nor will your supervisors be able to provide detailed examples in your recommendations. Provide what information that you can, and focus on the demonstration of key skills versus the context.
Many graduates of the Military Academies have lower GPAs than the range posted by Admissions committees as the target spread. Admissions Committees are aware that grading and use of curves is different at the Military Academies, and the cadets must balance academics with extensive physical training and requirements as well. Focus on your GMAT, and take an extension class or two if you want to provide additional proof that you have the academic background to complete your MBA.
We salute you for your service to our country! And we are here to help you with your pursuit of higher education. We have a great team of Admissions Consultants ready to work with you towards your goal. Contact us for more information!
If you are interested in receiving more information on our Admissions Consulting services, please call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!
Nita Losoponkul, a Veritas Prep head consultant for UCLA, received her undergraduate degree in Engineering from Caltech and went from engineering to operations to global marketing to education management/non-profit. Her non-traditional background allows her to advise students from many areas of study. She has successfully helped low GPA students get admitted into UCLA.