For the best decision... get the best information.
If you have a question and don't see it listed here, feel free to submit it on our contact page. We hope that some of these will help the many military personnel out there who are considering a transition.
I'm just thinking of getting out of the military...
I have general business school questions...
I have general law school questions...
I've decided to apply for an MBA...
I've been accepted to an MBA program...
There is no "right" answer as to which package is the best option... we offer both options because different clients will prefer different options. The Premium package offers more, offers more consultant one-on-one time, and therefore also costs more. To decide which is best for you, consider which category better describes you?
For those of you that are asking questions like this, congratulations! You’re already ahead of the curve. Our obligated service periods have a way of flying by, and before we know it, we’re staring our transition in the face without a solid plan. This situation is avoidable. Two to three years out from separation is, in my opinion, the right time to begin reflecting on your goals, assessing your options, and positioning yourself for success
Evaluating the options available to you outside the military can be a useful approach in determining whether exiting makes the most sense for you individually. However, before diving straight into such an evaluation, I’d strongly recommend that you take the time to understand what it is you’re hoping to find on the outside. You don’t necessarily have to “know what you want to be when you grow up” to know what sort of environment you generally thrive in, from where and how you derive meaning from your work, and how you hope to define work/life balance in the future.
nlike traditional application pools (consulting, banking, etc.), military applicants often don't have a point of reference as to what it takes to be competitive in their application. This can sometimes lead to a significant disparity between perception and reality. Some military applicants greatly overestimate their competitiveness, while some greatly underestimate.
Law school can act as a springboard into a prestigious and exciting career. However, it is not for everyone. The decision on whether to go to law school is a life changing one, and is even more important for those transitioning from the military, as the opportunities to change career trajectory narrow as we get older. Unfortunately, many people attend law school only to later realize they have no interest in practicing as a lawyer, and that their law school degree did not provide the non-law career opportunities they hoped for. Thus, in my opinion, the most important part of the law school application process is a proper assessment of your fit with law school and the opportunities it will present.
Grad school is an investment – you spend time and money early in your career with the expectation that it will lead to better opportunities and higher salaries down the road. But would two stellar degrees set you up for even greater success and earning potential? Maybe, but maybe not.
A business school education is, at its root level, an investment. Those looking to pursue an MBA do so because they believe that the long-term value of the education is far greater than the up-front cost. The problem is that the majority of us don’t have a couple hundred thousand dollars sitting in our bank accounts to do such a thing. How do we get past that?
What we see in the above first of all, is that the two are not extremely different. Of the general class, 61% went into finance or consulting, while 62% of veterans went into finance or consulting. Within this category, veterans tended to go slightly more into consulting than finance (compared to peers), and 4% more went into general management... though one has to remember that 4% represents one person in the data set, so these figures are not to be taken as long term patterns. That said, I don't find these results surprising. Veterans tend to be slightly more interested in general management, and many find consulting to be a great way to gain the business experience (and credibility) before moving on to their follow-on industry of choice.
Military and non-traditional applicants often think about business school and private sector careers in very abstract terms. To somebody who has been in public sector their whole career, it is a fair question to ask the basic question "so what does a business job mean anyway?:
The general data shows that US veterans represent around 2-4% of the top MBA schools, with an average of about 3%. There is also some variation from across the schools, and I would caution against extrapolating long term school trends from this data, as schools with smaller classes can easily have significant fluctuations in the number of veteran admits. Rather, we can look at this information as a single data point and compare it to future class years.
I did some of my own research to account for the sources of successful military applicants. For the purposes of these numbers, I'm not counting non-US military personnel. Some countries have compulsory military duty, and I think that they may warrant a different data set for proper interpretation. So let's just discuss US military for now. There are about 31 US military MBA candidates (3%) that make up the class. Most of them have a total of 4-5 years (initial obligation) in the Armed Forces. Here are some figures:
In general I try to get my utility rate as close as possible to 100%, although that includes social events. My walk to class from home is 12 minutes, of which I always try to use as an opportunity to listen to the news or to call a friend to catch up on things. I try to make as much time of the day count towards something "productive." It's not uncommon to find myself having to schedule a 20 minute phone conversation a week out due to time constraints.
You will submit five key pieces of data in your law school applications: (1) undergraduate transcripts, (2) LSAT scores, (3) a Personal Statement, (4) a resume, and (5) letters of recommendation. Of these five, two (GPA and work experience) are completely out of your hands by the time you are applying to law school. Also, your ability to influence letters of recommendation is somewhat limited (although a good topic for a later post). Most all applicants will take the LSAT seriously and study accordingly. This leaves the Personal Statement as the part of the application over which you have complete influence combined with the greatest opportunity, especially for those with significant work experience, to make your packet stand out from the bunch.
There are many resources available to MBA applicants... almost too many! In this post I discuss the general categories and where they are most helpful: 1) books, 2) personal networks, 3) online resources, and 4) admissions consultants.
Business school rankings carry a lot of weight. Both students and schools compete for the prestige. However, few people agree on different rankings, and more importantly, many wisely see beyond them. However, rankings do serve a purpose. You just have to filter through them with some common sense and context. Here are some interesting statistics that go beyond the basic US News rankings. For the purposes of this article, I will try to put things in historical perspective.
"Should I retake the GMAT" is a common question we receive around this time of year. Usually it's the case that somebody got a decent GMAT score after extensive (and exhaustive) studying - has the time to retake it - but is really hoping to hear that it's not necessary so he can focus on the essays and the actual applications.
One of the most important yet simple decisions you can make to support your application goals is the order you submit your applications and the order of your interviews. Let's assume you are applying to five schools: 2 dream schools, 2 core schools, and 1 safety school. I would recommend the following for consideration...
Unlike most schools, HBS requires three letters of rec, not two. There is no such thing as an ideal lineup, and every applicant is different. However, generically speaking, if I could have my dream recs, it would be the following:
I consider the essays to be the most significant part of the application because they are the only component that one really has full control over. You can't change your work experience or GPA, and once you are done with the GMAT, the essays are the only thing that you can really continue to influence. It's important that the essays are developed as part of your overall strategy, and I recommend writing all the essays for HBS together (instead of going from one school application to the next and back) in order to paint a coherent picture.