According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, only 44% of military veterans across the US are in employment—this is compared to 61% of non-veterans.
Now, veterans are increasingly turning to MBAs to open up employment doors—in 2012, 8.1% of all MBA enrollments were veterans, a climb of 3.7% since 2010.
And there’s plenty of business schools in the US that make it easier for veterans to get a head start in the business world, with scholarships, GMAT waivers, and specialist MBA programs for servicemen all helping veterans go into graduate education.
So to celebrate Veterans Day, we've chosen our pick of the best business schools for military veterans:
1. Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business
Fisher provide plenty of benefits for veterans pursuing their MBA, including an application fee waiver, in-state tuition, and merit-based funding. Most recently, they’ve also introduced a GMAT waiver for military veterans.
Paul North, executive director of graduate programs at Fisher, says that having veterans in the classroom can also benefit other students.
“We know that diversity of thought and work experience is vital for an engaged classroom,” he says. “Veterans bring this diversity to the program to help their classmates grow and thrive in this community.”
“MBA programs value the work ethic and the skillsets Veterans bring to the classroom in the areas of leadership and teamwork,” adds Sarah Campbell, senior assistant director of MBA recruiting and admissions. “Our military student population brings a unique perspective that enriches the classroom experience.”
2. Georgetown University McDonough School of Business
This year, McDonough increased its funding for veterans enrolling in graduate programs, in partnership with the Yellow Ribbon Program, which allows educational institutions to increase available funding for military veterans.
Veteran students can now receive $30,000 of funding, $15,000 each from Georgetown University and the US Department of Veterans Affairs—this is $10,000 more than previous years.
3. Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business
Tepper has a dedicated Veterans Club, comprised of both American and foreign veterans, and active military servicemen. In particular, the club aims to guide veterans through the business school admissions process and provide a community of veterans among Tepper students—aided by Tepper’s small size among American business schools.
“As well as the Tepper Veterans Club, the Master's Admissions office has a lead recruiter for military and veteran prospective students,” explains Colleen M. McMullan, executive director of diversity and inclusion at the school.
“Military veterans have acquired strong skills in managing projects, leading diverse teams, and critical decision-making. These skills amplify the MBA experience and make them a valued member of our close-knit and diverse community,” she adds.
4. University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management
At Carlson, a dedicated Military and Veterans MBA program provides enrolled veterans with tuition or stipend funding—a fund equal to $10m so far. The school also works with companies to place veterans into internships in the time between leaving the military and joining the MBA, helping them transition into the world of business.
“What the veteran really needs is a place to make a transition without going deeper into a financial hole once they leave the military. The veteran just needs a chance, or a ‘leg up’,” says Charles Altman, director of military and veterans programs at Carlson.
“What the Carlson School of Management does is translate the skills veterans already possess into the language of business,” he adds.
5. Northern Arizona University W. A. Franke School of Business
At W. A. Franke, the Franke Veteran Student Center provides veterans at the school advice and guidance during their degrees, including entrepreneurial support and assistance with the transition from the military to business school.
The school also has a dedicated scholarship for military business students, and in 2016 gave away more than $93,000 worth of financial aid to veteran students.
6. University of Southern California Marshall School of Business
Marshall is unique on this list as it actually has a dedicated business program for veterans—the Master of Business for Veterans (MBV).
This program has been specially designed as an alternative to an MBA program, for military veterans with less of a dedicated business background than MBA applicants.
While the MBA at USC Marshall takes two years to complete, the MBV can be finished in just 10 months—but don't think that you'll be missing out on anything. Students on the MBV experience the same capstone consulting project as on the MBA.
7. Arizona State University W. P. Carey School of Business
At ASU, the Pat Tillman Veterans Center provides a hub for all veteran students on campus. Members of the team at the center are all previous military servicemen who have been through the college system—which means they’re fully qualified to help current veteran students navigate the college process.
W. P. Carey's online MBA program has also been ranked second in the country for veterans, so veterans can still hold down a full-time job while gaining that all-important business knowledge.
8. University of Arizona Eller College of Management
Eller offers all veteran applicants an application fee refund and a GMAT waiver, making the MBA attainable to any military veteran. So far, these incentives are working, as 19% of Eller's 2018 MBA cohort were military veterans.
The University of Arizona also has a dedicated Veteran Alliance program, which trains faculty and staff to become part of a support network for veteran students at the university, making veteran students at Eller feel part of larger student body too.
But with all these benefits for veterans, Shyam Sunder, associate dean for Eller's MBA programs, believes you shouldn't underestimate the benefits veteran students will also bring to a business school.
"We as an institution receive far more than we give, when assisting our veterans," Shyam says. "They are some of our most dedicated students and leaders in the classroom and go on to become engaged and supportive alums."
9. University of Denver Daniels College of Business
Along with many other schools in the US, Daniels is demonstrating its commitment to veteran education by making their MBA program free for military servicemen, through the Yellow Ribbon program.
But the University of Denver isn’t just aiding veterans during their degrees—the school also runs a program that connects veteran students with an industry professional, based on their career aspirations.
By doing so, veteran students are able to successfully network in their chosen business area, improving their future career prospects.
10. Fordham University Gabelli School of Business
Fordham University was one of the first in the country to participate in the Yellow Ribbon program—now, the university has over 500 student veterans, and Gabelli supports those in the business school by paying tuition costs and providing veteran students with a $3500 per month housing stipend.
“For us, it’s part of a whole ethos—we believe that veterans have done a great deal for our country and for us, and we want to support them,” explains Donna Rapaccioli, dean of the Gabelli School of Business.
“Their training really does give them a skill set that can help advance society and advance business,” she adds. “It’s just a matter of letting them do a little bit of self-reflection about how what they did in service to their country plays out in business.”
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