The MBA Tour is launching its extensive offering of MBA admissions events on Tuesday September 4. The MBA Tour will travel from Buenos Aires to Moscow, Ho Chi Minh to Houston, and many other cities around the globe. For a complete list of events, dates and locations, please see the MBA Tour web site.
One of the innovative aspects of this year’s tour is a new alliance between The MBA Tour and MBAMilitary.net, which will result in a special MBA admissions panel discussion for current and former members of the US military. I spoke to Peter von Loesecke, CEO of The MBA Tour and a former officer himself, about the opportunities and challenges facing the roughly 1000 officers every year who elect to pursue an MBA. (The questions and answers are paraphrased.)
LA: Peter, I understand that at the Washington MBA Event on September 11, you and MBAMilitary.net have organized a special panel discussion for military officers interested in an MBA. Why?
PVL: We decided to host this event because the military officers are a special segment of the MBA applicant pool. Schools have significant interest in military people because of their experience, which is well-liked by the business community.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. In school, former officers excel. They typically are good classroom performers with outstanding time management skills. According to many of the admissions people I have spoken to and at least one dean, military officers challenge themselves, come to class prepared, and earn good grades.
LA: What is the make-up of the special panel?
PVL: Participants will be both admissions people and military alumni of top business schools. The panelists are well qualified to answer the questions specific to military applicants. These applicants want to know how their experience will be interpreted and appreciated both by schools and potential employers. They want to know which experiences they should highlight in their applications and how is their experience going to be viewed by industry after they have their MBA. Our panel will address these and other questions.
LA: In general, how is officer experience viewed by industry when combined in with an MBA?
PVL: Very favorably. In fact, salaries among military graduates are almost 35% higher than for the rest of the graduating class, and former officers tend to have twice the number of job offers.
LA: How do schools view non-US military experience?
PVL: I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t believe there would be a difference.
LA: Is a service academy education a major advantage?
PVL: Not really. The quality of the service is more important than a service academy background. There are three sources of officers: service academies, Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), and Officer Candidate School (OCS). Business schools don’t distinguish among graduates of these programs.
LA Do you have plans to expand the military panel beyond the Washington event?
PVL. We are starting with just the DC event because of the high number of military personnel in and around Washington, but in the future we are considering having similar panels at other events.