When most people think of the military, business school is the furthest thing from their minds. Granted, the entertainment industry commonly showcases career paths like military lawyers or special law enforcement agents, though we rarely get a glimpse of former or active military working in the business sector. Business has always had a strong pull for service members, but this phenomenon tends to fly under the pop culture radar. For real people — not characters on a TV show – pursuing an advanced business degree in addition to serving their country is both financially and personally rewarding.
The Military Advantage
While the military does not provide much business training, it does instill qualities in its personnel that businesses seek. Due to the similar skill sets in both fields, an MBA for military personnel is a natural choice. Contrary to popular perception, strong leadership in the military does not rely on rigid orders. Ed Robinson, veteran special ops team leader, points to a different skill set: discerning what motivates soldiers. For that reason, Robinson sees military leadership skills as not only comparable to business skills but perhaps even better. Speaking to The Economist, he says “The military is simply better than business at getting people to do what you want them to do.”
Kyle Bate, former U.S. Air Force Deputy Commander, agrees that an MBA for military personnel is a natural fit. Veterans or active military looking to pursue a career in business after their service have the right experience for the field. He points to leadership, problem-solving, communication, teamwork and critical thinking skills as “highly desirable in both an MBA program and also corporate America.”
The MBA Advantage
Even though it may be easier for veterans to find time to earn an MBA than it is for active-duty personnel, there are options to help those on active duty. Some soldiers have found that online MBA programs offer the best fit for their lifestyles while serving. Flexible class schedules and accelerated programs allow soldiers to manage their time more effectively and study when it is convenient.
Both veterans and active military can benefit from earning an MBA. Beyond the skill set they share with business professionals, military personnel also have a financial advantage: the GI Bill. The University of West Florida also offers discounted tuition prices for active duty military, veterans, spouses and dependents of military personnel. Earning an advanced degree without accruing student debt motivates an increasing number of military personnel to enhance their career paths with an MBA.
Learn more about the University of West Florida’s MBA programs.
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