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MBA Veterans Find Jobs Thanks to the MBA Veterans Network

mba veterans network

Veterans and business school go hand-in-hand. While it might not be the most obvious connection, the truth is that military applicants tend to blow their competitors out of the water regarding experience, leadership skills, and other unique qualifications.

It’s no wonder that veterans at top-tier business schools comprise about 5% of each incoming class, according to the Wharton School. However, that doesn’t mean that veterans have it any easier when getting a post-MBA job. That’s where societies such as the MBA Veterans Network are helpful.

The MBA Veterans Network Story

In 2008, fewer and fewer MBA programs received applications. Where most students took this as a negative sign, Chris Petersen and David Chonowski—two Army veterans—saw it as an opportunity to make a change. They recognized an absence of veteran advocacy and diversity within MBA programs and decided it was time to connect veteran students by hosting the world’s first MBA Veterans Center Conference.

The conference brought together 60 military veteran students from 10 leading MBA programs alongside recruiters from 10 corporations and five alumni career panelists. It was a huge success. During the conference, attendees raised over $1,800 for the Wounded Warriors Project. Five months later, the Graduate Business Forum and over 70 MBA programs recognized Chis and David’s work. They helped them to establish the MBA Veterans Network in August 2009. Now, it’s known as the premier community for military veterans in MBA programs.

Starting from just a single conference with only a handful of companies and veterans, the network has evolved into an annual event that attracts over 300 veterans and 35 corporations including big names such as Google, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, and GE. And to expand on its work, the MBA Veterans Network launched an academic partner program. They help prestigious schools such as Boston College and the University of Illinois attract more military applicants.

However, the society’s main event is still the annual hiring conference.

Annual MBA Veterans Conference

The conference gives blue chip employers the rare opportunity to connect with the military veteran community on an intimate level. Veterans are valuable employees for a few reasons:

  • They have proven leadership abilities.
  • Their personnel management skills are highly developed.
  • They’re highly adaptable.
  • They can work in high-risk and unknown environments.
  • Typically, they have global experience.
  • They fall under the federal law protected status, meaning they increase employee diversity.

However, though job placement is the conference’s priority, it isn’t the only goal. The conference also seeks to educate veterans on the different career paths that are open to them including marketing, investment banking, and consulting. The idea is to show military applicants that they can go into any field, even those not traditionally associated with veterans. It gives Veterans the opportunity to sit through a series of educational career panels comprised of military veterans and high-level executives.

But the conference isn’t just great for MBA veterans; it’s also valuable for the companies involved. Each corporate partner that attends the event gains access to hundreds of potential employees that have the unique combination of skills and abilities that will bring value to their workplace culture.

Who Can Join the MBA Veterans Network?

To join the MBA Veterans Network, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Served as a commissioned officer, NCO, or enlisted member in a uniformed military service on Active Duty, in the National Guard, or as Reserve.
  • Must be a full-time, part-time, or EMBA student enrolled at a top-40 ranked US MBA program according to the US News and World Report or a first or second tier program according to BusinessWeek.
  • Non-US military personnel are also invited.

What Veterans Say about the MBA Veterans Network

Veterans who have attended the annual conference have good things to say.

“I was hired by GE at this conference last fall, and it was by far the best hiring conference I attended. Great job, and keep it up.” —Leonard Green

“I attended the last two years and every year it got better. I had one internship interview my first year and two interviews my second year. I am actually working for a company that I interviewed with my 2nd year. I highly recommend that you attend the conference; the best companies, very few attendees, lots of face time and networking.” —Robert Duryea

How to Attend the 2016 MBA Veterans Conference

For MBA veterans looking to attend the 2016 conference, they need to head to Chicago, Illinois on October 6-8th. The conference will be held at the Mid-America Club, the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, and Merchandise Mart. For more information, students should email info@mbaveterans.com.

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About the Author


Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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