A Career Fair for MBA Veterans

Posted by: Alison Damast on October 16, 2009

I recently wrote a story about how business schools are trying to attract more candidates with military experience through new initiatives like the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Yellow Ribbon program. Recruiters also are angling for a chance to bring veterans into their companies, pursuing them more aggressively than ever before. One way some are doing this is by participating in the MBA Veterans Career Conference today in Chicago, which organizers are billing as the first event of its kind. A number of top companies – 14 in total – are recruiting at the career fair including big names like Apple, General Electric, Google and Credit Suisse. Recruiters will be talking to 130 veterans from 41 business schools, a majority of whom served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The career fair was organized by David Chonowski and Chris Peterson, both former U.S. army officers. The pair founded the MBA Veterans Network last fall, while they were second-year MBA students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Their vision was to help connect military personnel with recruiters from leading companies, as well as raise funds for a charity focused on helping soldiers and their families (a donation this year will be made to Paradox Sports, an organization founded by a United States Military Academy graduate who was injured in Iraq).

So far, it seems like the pair has accomplished their goals. It will be interesting to follow how influential this organization becomes as more military personnel start coming home in the next few months and years. It seems like it has a lot of potential to become a real resource for veterans, as well as companies who want to do more targeted recruiting.

Readers, why do you think companies are interested in hiring more MBA veterans? What special skills do you think they bring to the workforce?

Reader Comments


October 21, 2009 10:42 PM

What a great idea! This fulfills two great needs: proven leadership for companies and an excellent resource for men and women who have sacrificed for their country.


October 22, 2009 9:38 AM

I would hope companies recognize vets. The training, management and organization skills instilled in the military are exceptional. Like any opportunity, there are those that will grasp it and those that don't. I suspect those pursuing their MBA "got it".


October 22, 2009 1:44 PM

The leadership, management and organizational skills taught and nurtured by the military-at significant expense-are second to none. Smart HR managers for companies large and small have known and recognized this for many years. They have targeted those leaving the military for the proven skills they bring to the table, knowing that these vets can and will "hit the ground running", with experience that non-vets will take years to develop. Fills critical needs quickly and saves companies a bundle by not having to fund the training and experience it would take to bring a non-vet to the same level.

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