Succeed as MBA

Why Military Officers Make Successful MBAs

While earning an MBA can be a worthwhile pursuit for anyone, some graduates benefit far more than others. Our research indicates that military officers currently realize significant benefit from earning their MBA degrees. What follows are important criteria that explain why military officers make successful MBAs.

  • Level of Responsibility - Early in their careers, military officers assume responsibility for substantial budgets, costly equipment, and mission-critical performance from their units, not to mention the priceless lives of others under their command. The ability to handle this level of responsibility is vital to every facet of military life and consequently mastered during an officer's military career.

  • Leadership Experience - Through active practice and experience, military officers live a life of leadership. Military leaders are known for their values, ethics, and strong leadership skills such as problem solving, decisiveness and succinct communication. They have experience developing teams and working with large groups of diverse people to accomplish organizational goals. These character traits are important factors for success in both graduate school, civilian service jobs and corporate America.

  • Acquired Skills - Business schools recognize the military officer's value to their programs in terms of well-developed leadership skills; time and project management know how; and technical proficiencies all acquired through real-world experience. Corporate recruiters also value these competencies from the MBA managers they hire.

  • Academic Background - MBA students represent a wide range of undergraduate degrees, from business to engineering to liberal arts. Most officers have had recent exposure to quantitative subjects and direct involvement in operational activities (e.g., project and resource management), which MBA candidates need to be successful in school.

  • Age - The average age demographic of a full-time MBA student is between 26-32 years old. Around this age, military leaders are looking toward their future careers and should be giving consideration to an advanced degree. This is the prime age for earning an MBA degree.

  • Sources of Funding Available - Officers transitioning, and those who are currently serving in the military, have access to education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill. There is a second source of funding available that officers often do not pursue. Most MBA schools offer financial aid for well-qualified applicants such as officers, NCOs and military personnel.

    The amount of aid, and the percentage of students receiving it, will vary across schools. As much as 50% of all students entering an MBA degree program may qualify to receive some aid with the amount ranging from 20% to 50% of tuition. In addition, there are low-cost, deferred payment loan programs available. Go here to locate resources on funding an MBA degree.

  • Timing - Over the next several years, career opportunities will continue to grow as the nation's baby boomers retire. In the next three years alone, almost half of today's corporate management positions will become vacant. With few organizations having succession or development plans in place, recruiters will look outside their companies to the MBA pool for qualified candidates. As the most sought after candidates, Military MBAs will be in a favorable position to capitalize on a number of employment, and promotion, opportunities.

  • Employment - Whether transitioning out of the service or moving up the ranks within the military, Military MBAs have great employment opportunities. Military MBAs get recruited and placed at high rates in corporate jobs. Our employment research shows Military MBAs receive an average of 3 job offers upon graduation and realize more in annual compensation than traditional MBA students. Corporate America heavily recruits Military MBAs. Leading Fortune 500 companies like Johnson & Johnson, General Electric and Procter & Gamble regularly recruit Military MBAs to drive performance now and groom them as future leaders to fill key voids in management.

    Within the military, officers are connected to what is currently one of the strongest employment sectors in all labor markets. The federal government is now larger than any time since 1990 and the government sector continues to have shortages in many key areas well suited for Military MBAs. According to Business Week the federal government is, "Caught in one of its worst talent crunches ever, the CIA, FBI and Internal Revenue Service are going on an MBA-hiring binge." Like any organization, the government shows preference to hiring, and promoting, from within.

    We maintain an updated list of employers that recruit Military MBAs.