Fall on Hyde Park’s campus looks familiar to me. I lived here for four years here as an undergraduate studying economics. But a lot has changed for me since the last time I walked the Midway or grabbed lunch at the Medici. I spent the last four and half years in the Marine Corps, stationed in Hawaii and deploying around Asia as an Intelligence Officer.
Transitioning to civilian life and Booth has been a lot of fun, but jumping into the b-school trifecta of academics, social events and recruiting has had it’s challenges, too (not to mention working on growing my hair to a civilian length!). As I celebrated Veteran’s Day at the Armed Forces Dining Out with over 120 current and alumni Booth veterans last weekend, I thought a lot about how great it’s been to have the Armed Forces Group (AFG)— one of campus’s tightest knit support networks on campus— to lean on along the way.
There’s a pay-it-forward culture at Booth that permeates everything, and it’s especially true for vets. Before I applied, the AFG at Booth helped me with my resume, my application, and general advice about how to pursue the admissions process for all MBA programs. My conversations with Booth veterans helped me understand the transition from life as a Marine Corps Captain to a first-year Boothie back among civilians.
When I got in, current students and alumni vets reached out and the support continued. At the same time, the school announced a new 100% Yellow Ribbon Program, making the MBA more affordable to veterans, and showing just how much the school values us as one of many important diverse voices. The support from both sides—students and the school—absolutely helped me choose Booth. It’s great to go somewhere you are clearly wanted.
Throughout the summer before school, AFG members helped all of us incoming Booth vets plan our transitions and properly spend the time getting ready to be students again. They helped us figure out what classes to take and how to choose a recruiting track. Through AFG, I signed up for several summer veteran-focused consulting events at the firms I’m now targeting for an internship. It was great to have the unique chance to be in these firms’ offices, with current consultants in small groups, networking as I learned what to expect and how to prepare.
I’m now almost three months into Booth, and I feel as supported by AFG as I did the day I was accepted. During the recruiting process, the veteran alumni network has helped me not only find a target job, but find the right job. The student-led support events I’ve attended have authentically focused on helping us develop our goals for the future, in whatever function and industry those may be.
It’s not just about getting the extra opportunities to maximize academics and the internship. AFG at Booth is full of people I love to be around; I can connect to these men and women about experiences that are simply different than what civilians know and understand. I’m glad Booth turned out to be such an amazing place to be a veteran, and I’m excited to pay it forward and help support the next generation.