Military veterans typically constitute a small but unique subset of MBA students at the Foster School of Business. In recent years, however, this number has risen significantly. We expect there to be over 20 veteran students enrolled at Foster spanning the day and evening programs by the start of the 2012-2013 academic year – and this phenomenon isn’t just limited to the Foster MBA Program. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal indicates that veteran enrollment is on the rise at top tier business schools all across the country. As major overseas operations wrap up and militaries begin to drawdown their numbers, service members are increasingly looking towards pursuing an MBA to complement their leadership and combat experience with fundamental business skills that will ultimately help them make the transition into the private sector; a two year business “boot camp,” if you will.
So what does this have to do with my experience as a Foster MBA student? Well, if you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a military veteran; so naturally I made it a point to seek out schools that had a club or networking group for former military members. When I couldn’t find any information on the Foster website about a veterans club, I made the assumption that it still existed – but perhaps it just wasn’t widely publicized. It wasn’t until after the start of first year pre-term activities (Prime/LEAD/JumpStart) that I realized I was mistaken.
While there is a sizeable contingent of us here, we don’t have the support structure offered by other top business schools. Many of my prior-service classmates came to the same realization either during the application process, or soon after starting the program. In fact, most of my non-veteran classmates were also surprised to learn that Foster did not have a club for current and former military members. Of course, it wasn’t long before I started hearing the same repeated comment: “Someone should start a veterans club.”
Fast forward nine months.
I’m proud to announce that, as of last week, the Foster School of Business now offers a club specifically geared towards supporting military veterans enrolled at Foster, as well as applicants considering a Foster MBA. The Foster Veterans Association was cofounded by myself and another vet from the Class of 2013, Gene Ahn, with the support of the Assistant Dean, Dan Poston, Foster MBA Admissions Office, MBA Career Services, MBAA leadership, and of course, our classmates, both military and non-military. It’s my personal hope that this club provides veterans with a strong platform for professional, academic, and personal support, not only during their
two or three years here at Foster, but well into their post-MBA careers.
Check out the Foster Veterans Association webpage for more information.
~Guest Blogger Edward Hwang, Full-time Class of 2013, 2012-2013 Foster Veterans Association President