The holiday season is upon us, but for prospective MBA students, the application season is just getting into full swing. UCLA Anderson's 2013 deadline for Round 2 is January 9, 2013. If you're active duty military or a veteran thinking about an MBA to further your career, I strongly advise you to get an MBA (specifically a UCLA Anderson MBA).
For veterans, an MBA makes a lot of sense. At business school, veterans can learn the practical skills they may not have learned in the military (financial accounting, anyone?), build a network of colleagues outside the military, and tap into the school's career center to update resumes, practice networking, and hone interview skills. Of course, not all MBA programs are built alike. When I was applying to business school in 2011, I was drawn to UCLA Anderson for several reasons I'll discuss below. With the first quarter under my belt, I can look back and say that Anderson exceeded my expectations on every count.
1. GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program. If you qualify for the post 9/11 GI Bill, you not only get a partial to full tuition waiver, but a book stipend and a monthly living stipend as well! At 100% (36 months of qualifying duty) that means around $2000 a month for rent and living expenses. Even if you're out of state, if you have 100% GI Bill, Anderson will cover the rest through the Yellow Ribbon program. Result? A free education plus free rent, with some money left over for groceries (if you don't shop at Whole Foods exclusively).
2. Anderson Military Association. Don't be fooled by the screenshot--Anderson's dedicated club for veterans just transitioned to an "association," meaning more funding and more services for members--workshops, networking, and a chance to recapture some military cameraderie which I guarantee you'll miss once you're out. Membership in AMA will put you in touch with local and national recruiters who are eager to meet talented students with military backgrounds.
3. Personalized Advising at Parker Career Management Center. Trust me, this isn't ACAP (or your service equivalent). At Anderson, you'll have experts to help you in every aspect of the job search. Best of all, Anderson has a dedicated advisor for veterans, David Cooley. Not only will David help you "civilianize" your resume, but he has contacts all over SoCal and beyond to help you break into a new industry. Caring, dedicated, and personable, David Cooley is one of many amazing advisors at Parker CMC.
4. Access. For veterans, this might be the number one reason to attend business school. Reports like this one from CNN demonstrates that top firms across industries want to hire veterans. However, if you're fresh out of the military you might not know how to gain access to these firms. As an MBA student at UCLA, you have carte blanche to contact executives (especially alums) for informational interviews. Additionally, you can participate in Lunches for Eight (L48s) and Dinners for Eight (D48s) with local executives who want to meet veterans. Perhaps the best networking opportunity comes each year with the MBA Veterans Conference. This year, UCLA Anderson sent a contingent of students to meet with top firms such as Google, Proctor & Gamble, and General Electric. Moreover, Anderson was one of the few schools who sent a dedicated faculty advisor on the trip (the venerable David Cooley). If you're looking for a foot in the door, Anderson can give you that and much more.
So what are you waiting for? Start looking into UCLA Anderson. If you want more information, please email me here; if I can't answer your questions, I'll put in touch with someone who can.
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