Around 1 a.m. in a massive military training ground on the hilly countryside of Southern Germany, First Lieutenant Nicholas Schroeder hopped into a HMMWV and drove into cell phone range. Once he received a signal, he logged into his mini-MBA session and joined the cohort of other veterans, teachers, rising leaders, and entrepreneurs. To many, this may have seemed like a big sacrifice of time and sleep. To Schroeder, it was just what he needed to transition out of the U.S. Army into a career in consulting.
According to the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics, more than 50% of service members choose careers in business after military service. Many plan for an MBA or other business course to jump-start their careers post-transition.
While the path to becoming successful in business can be difficult and expensive, veterans already possess many of the essential skills. Oftentimes, a mini-MBA or accelerated business program is enough to improve the business acumen, financial literacy, and overall corporate lingo service men and women need to successfully transition into consulting, finance, management, and other business roles without the time or financial commitment of a traditional MBA degree.
Schroeder believes veterans are leaders, critical thinkers, and collaborative team players by nature. He knew he could apply those skills to business, but he didn’t know enough about the industry to decide which job function or company to pursue. So he applied and was accepted into the Invited MBA program, a mini-MBA designed for busy professionals and offered virtually.
“In the Army, I started as an officer focused on logistics, maintenance, and supervision. Then I became a platoon leader with even more people management,” Schroeder said. “For about two years, I’ve known that transitioning is what I want to do. But the only job I knew was the military. I needed the Invited MBA to figure out my next step quickly, without the price point of a traditional program.”
Schroeder completed the mini-MBA to level up his business career, and by utilizing his network and highlighting what he learned in the program, he secured a consulting role at a top five company.
Philip Schweinsberg served as Infantry Officer for the U.S. Army for almost eight years and also completed a mini-MBA to land his dream job. Like Schroeder, he chose the Invited MBA to hone his communication, management, and people skills before transitioning into business.
“The experience I gained in the Army actually helped me excel in my mini-MBA,” Schweinsberg said. “Once you understand the basics of finance, you don’t have to be scared of numbers. I needed the Invited MBA’s strategic overview to give me confidence that I could enter the business world with the skills I need to succeed.”
A daunting challenge veterans face leaving the service is the communication style of the military compared to corporate language and culture. Schweinsberg believes a mini-MBA, traditional business degree, or accelerated business program is necessary to re-learn how to delegate in a work environment and speak with other professionals.
He said, “Breaking my habits was tough at times. I knew how to lead with influence and buy-in, I just didn’t have the language. Gaining leadership without rank while transitioning amongst civilians is difficult and eye-opening for veterans. But the cohort-based nature of the Invited MBA really helped me transition both professionally and personally.
Schweinsberg now works in marketing full-time with Kin + Carta, a global digital transformation consultancy.
If you are a veteran transitioning from the military into business like Schroeder or Schweinsberg, prioritize three things when considering a mini-MBA or business program:
- Look for programs that allow you the flexibility to transition at your own pace
Leaving military service looks different for everyone, and it’s often a difficult move to make. Business programs and mini-MBAs like the Invited MBA are often designed for virtual, part-time attendance, allowing participants to keep their day jobs while investing in their futures.
- Prioritize programs with hands-on practice
Veterans are taught military tactics using experiential learning – learning by doing can also be implemented in business education. When looking for a business program or degree, prioritize programs that emphasize practice over lectures.
- Choose a continuing education option with a strong network of peers
Leaving the camaraderie and community of military service can be a difficult adjustment. But many mini-MBAs and business programs offer strong networks of alumni and current students. If you thrive when working on a team, find a program with a cohort-based structure that allows you to learn with and from your classmates. Not only can this help with your transition into business, it opens the door to professional connections at companies of interest, which could be a game changer for your career.
Whether you are a veteran looking to transition into business or a professional seeking a job transition or promotion, a mini-MBA can quickly accelerate your career. Check out the Invited MBA here.
Katelyn Powell is a social media and content strategist, lifelong learner, and career development enthusiast living in Houston, Texas. She is passionate about equitable access to education and the Oxford comma. When she’s not writing or binge-reading true crime, she enjoys afternoon naps and providing wedding photography to Texas brides.
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