The choice to leave the service is always a tough one for any military officer. As a third generation Army officer, walking away was especially tough for me, but after I completed the goals I had set for my military career it was time to move on to a new challenge.
I chose to pursue an MBA because it is the quintessential career change degree. An MBA grants you access to a number of different careers in tech, finance, marketing, and more, but even more importantly it puts veterans into a special population. We cease to become junior military officers entering the workforce. Instead we become MBAs entering the workforce, with military backgrounds—a small but distinct difference.
Many MBA employers express an interest in hiring people that can operate with minimal guidance, in ambiguous environments, under tight timelines, and ultimately get the job done, skills which many veterans possess. Add to that the real-world experience veterans have managing people, programs, and change, and it is a formidable combination. I wanted to market myself that way, which is why I chose an MBA as my career-switching tool. Also, it’s also nice to have a two-year break to reflect internally, travel, and have fun!
Ultimately, I chose to come to Fuqua for three Cs: Culture, Career, and the Carolinas.
The number one reason that I came to Duke for my MBA was the Team Fuqua culture. I learned early in my college years that being a part of tight-knit and collaborative communities can be invigorating, motivating, and life affirming. From my days as a Sigma Chi at the University of South Florida to my time in the 82nd Airborne, I realized that I wanted to go to a school with a similar tight-knit culture, somewhere that was unique, and somewhere that was special.
From reading various schools’ employment lists I knew that any of the programs I was considering would grant me access to the companies and positions that I was interested in. So instead, I sought to find a school with brilliant, engaging, and fun students, alumni, faculty, and administrators that thrive and grow together. I found that at Fuqua.
Despite what my career goals essays may have stated in my applications, I was largely unsure of where I was going to take my career post-MBA. I knew I was interested in marketing, but between the different marketing roles in tech, CPG, and health care companies, I was at a crossroads. One thing I love about Fuqua is because of the six-week term structure, I was able to go beyond the core courses and take electives during the first few semesters of school. Exploring marketing more closely in the classroom, combined with Career Management Center and Marketing Club programming helped me hone in on my career choice relatively early in the program.
While stationed at Fort Bragg—about an hour and a half from Durham—I was able to take in the beauty and variety that the state of North Carolina has to offer. The Triangle area around Durham has so many great restaurants, breweries, bars, and outdoor activities that I never run out of things to eat and drink, and places to explore. Another thing I love is that within a short drive you can have your pick of the mountains or the beach. Being able to take off for a weekend to Asheville or the Outer Banks with your classmates is something special.