An Online MBA could be the perfect degree option for US military veterans. Robert Mauro and Arthur Houston both enjoyed successful military careers before transitioning into business with an Online MBA.
Robert served for 10 years in the US Marine Corps, where he was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan for seven months at a time.
Arthur’s military career took a different track. In the US Navy, he served aboard a destroyer in Rota, Spain, where he took charge of the operation and repair of weapon-related electronic systems.
When the pair decided to return to civilian life, they wanted to learn more about the world of business. But how could they adapt the skills built up in military life to a completely different field?
That’s where the University of Cincinnati’s Lindner College of Business came in. Enrolling in the school’s Online MBA gave Robert and Arthur the springboard they needed to apply their newfound business knowledge to their current roles.
A top MBA for veterans
Robert Mauro (above) served as an aviator in the US Marine Corps.
Home to more than 2,000 military-affiliated students, the University of Cincinnati stood out as a great fit for Robert and Arthur.
One of the most important benefits was funding opportunities. Robert and Arthur took advantage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill to fund their MBA studies.
This Bill provides educational benefits for service members or military veterans. Military veterans are able to receive some tuition coverage, which made the program accessible and welcoming for both Robert and Arthur.
On top of this, Cincinnati’s Office of Veterans Programs & Services helps veterans understand the funding available to them.
“I talked to my student coordinator in the admissions team before undertaking the MBA,” says Arthur. “I wanted to receive my degree as soon as possible and am now using my full benefits.”
The Online MBA particularly stood out for its flexible structure. This ensured that both Robert and Arthur could balance it alongside a post-military career and personal commitments.
“I was reluctant to start [at first],” admits Robert. “I didn’t know if I could handle the workload, the scheduling, and the time with my family.”
Thanks to the program’s fully remote structure, though, Robert felt able to fit classes around his schedule and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Building business knowledge from scratch
The Online MBA is a popular choice for veterans who attend the University of Cincinnati. The program helps them to transfer the leadership and management skills from their experience in the military to their studies.
Both veterans had no previous experience in business before starting their MBAs at Cincinnati.
“I was an engineering undergrad, so the business classes that I took were minimal,” says Robert. “I wasn’t really exposed to civilian-type business until I was 34.”
But once enrolled in the Online MBA, his mind was opened.
Since leaving the military, Robert has been working as a project manager with The Nelson Company—a transport packaging expert. The Nelson Company is an S Corp company, meaning that its profits and losses go through its shareholders' individual tax returns.
Robert tailored some of his electives at UC towards learning about S Corp tax so that he was able to understand how his company runs. Now, he finally understands the financial side of the business.
Arthur (pictured right) had a similar experience. “I didn’t really have a background in business,” he explains. “I had a very technical role both in the navy and in my time out of the military.”
Arthur is currently employed as a control systems technician at Amazon, where he maintains and troubleshoots electrical systems within the company. When offering solutions, he needs to explain the reasons behind why what he’s doing will work.
Arthur took a data analytics class at Cincinnati to finesse his data handling abilities. He now understands how to analyze and manipulate data more deeply, and says he’s better able to relay insights within his organization.
Advice to future veterans
Robert Mauro's return from Afghanistan in 2012.
Both Robert and Arthur were able to use their Online MBA to their advantage and apply their newfound business knowledge to their respective industries.
Arthur’s advice to veterans who want to pursue an MBA but don’t have business experience? Just apply yourself.
“Don’t be afraid to show initiative. You’re just one yes away from being able to do what you want to do,” he says.
To help veterans work out where their passions lie, Cincinnati also offers The VetSuccess on Campus program. The program helps veterans make the most of their educational experience through peer-to-peer counseling and referral services.
For Robert, too, the MBA has been a great exploratory experience.
“I’ve learned a lot from the MBA,” he concludes. “I would encourage veterans who are thinking of doing it to go for it.
“Whether you’re 26, or 36, or 42 like me, you’re going to get out what you put in.”