All Hands are on Deck for First Veterans’ Symposium!

If you’re a member of our nation’s armed forces and have an interest in applying to business school in the next few years, this blog is for YOU.

Duke’s Armed Forces Association (DAFA) is hosting its first Veterans’ Day Symposium for Military Applicants. The event will start on the evening of Thursday, Nov. 8, but the majority of events will be on Friday, Nov. 9 (register to attend by Nov. 5). The symposium will be filled with class visits, admissions interviews, and a panel of alumni who have successfully made the transition from the military to the civilian world. Some events are also open to family members. If you’re like me and have trouble translating your resume into plain English, then the symposium will be especially helpful. There will information sessions with current veterans, from all four branches, who will look at your resume and help to “de-militarize” it.

Not only will Thursday’s networking session and Friday’s panel give you a good feel of what business school is really like for those coming from the service, but it will also be followed by a Veterans Day-themed Fuqua Friday, replete with an obstacle course! Fuqua Fridays are essentially a big party, celebrating the end of the week, and they’re usually sponsored by a student club. It’s a place where students unwind and network, so you’ll meet Fuqua students from all industries, not just the military, while enjoying some delicious food in a relaxing atmosphere.

The symposium will be a great opportunity to learn first-hand what Fuqua is all about, and how our veteran’s network is dedicated to helping us find the best possible jobs after school. Everyone from professors to admissions officers are willing to go above and beyond to help us, and all students, to succeed. For example, one of our professors has connected several of us to directors at JP Morgan and Bank of America. Having a personal introduction makes networking and interviewing more enjoyable and less stressful (at least in my short 6-week experience!). Fuqua’s former veterans have been incredibly successful — securing internships and full-time job offers from companies like Goldman Sachs, Intel, and Wal-Mart. Whatever industry you’re interested in, there is bound to be a Fuqua veteran who has advice and contacts that will come in handy. Learn more about some of my classmates who also have military experience — you’ll have the opportunity to meet these students during the symposium.

As a former Naval Officer, I continue to be impressed by not only how much Fuqua supports our veteran community, but also by how assimilated we are within the larger Fuqua community. While my classmates are duly impressed with my military service and pirate-hunting tales from Somalia, they also want to learn about me as a person and what I want to do with the rest of my life. At Fuqua, being a veteran can be as definitive as you want it to be, which is extremely refreshing after living the Navy lifestyle 24/7 during multiple deployments.

Some people have asked me about the transition from the Navy to the classroom, and I have a few thoughts:

Pros

  1. You get to sleep in your own bed every night.
  2. Working on a Saturday is not mandatory.
  3. Guys can grow beards and ladies can wear their hair down.
  4. You can wear whatever you want (as long as you don’t wear workout gear to an interview that’s not with Nike).
  5. No mandatory physical fitness tests.
  6. You don’t have to sleep in a bunk bed.
  7. You don’t have to take leave to go on a weekend trip to Ashville.
  8. You get to watch Duke basketball!
  9. No more steel-toed boots.
  10. Time in the classroom is spent more on case studies than PowerPoints.

Cons

  1. Transitioning back into “school mode” isn’t as easy as it sounds, but everyone struggles with this to some degree or another.
  2. You can’t drive a billion-dollar warship in Durham.
  3. Homework.
  4. No more military discounts.
  5. There is no recreating the relationship you have with your division or platoon, but your friends at Fuqua will be with you for a lifetime.

For me, the pros outweigh the cons, but my experience in the military is an irreplaceable part of my life, as Fuqua will be in a year and a half. If you have any questions or concerns about the application process or B-School in general, please consider joining us for the Veterans’ Day Symposium! To attend, please register online by Monday, Nov. 5. Hope to see you on campus soon!

Sarah Feagles

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Daytime MBA, Class of 2014. Find out more about me...

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