21 October 2014

The Importance of an Advanced Degree to Active Duty Military and Veterans

DR. KATHLEEN SHRIVER and JODI BOUVIN, American Military University:

Real Life Example: Brandon Wilson, MBA grad (2013), PMF, and currently deployed.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs documented in a 2009 report that there were close to 600,000 veterans enrolled in educational programs. That number increased to slightly more than 900,000 in 2012. In our current political climate, across the board cuts in spending and a reduction in our military forces are inevitable. The sequestration in 2013 had an immediate impact on military students and veterans. The cutbacks required in 2014 (and beyond) are causing members of our military to consider educational options for their future. As the number of people in the general population who possess a bachelor’s degree increases, the requirement for an advanced degree, such as an MBA, has risen significantly.

The Air Force encourages its members to obtain a master’s degree to advance in their military career. Officers entering as military lawyers need a law degree. For commissioned officers, promotions may require a combination of a degree with training and experience.

An MBA can provide numerous opportunities for all military personnel. These opportunities can promote the learning of new concepts and ideas, collaborating with peers, examining new research, and integrating classwork into the workplace. There can be both personal rewards from learning new management practices and professional rewards from bringing new skills and credentials to the workplace.

In introduction forum posts for one of the business courses at AMU, one student pointed out that his main reason for getting an MBA is because it’s required to continue progressing in rank in the Air Force. Another student is anticipating that a balanced background of a bachelor’s degree in engineering, and a master’s degree in business management, may help him prepare for the competitiveness of the aerospace industry.

The MBA program at AMU covers proven business practices, strategic planning, operational management concepts, and budgeting—all useful skills for those who might be transitioning from a military to civilian career. For example, one AMU student will be returning to the private sector after more than 12 years of military service and is planning a new career in the finance field. Another has a few years before he will reach 20 years of military service and is planning a post-service career in business management. A third graduate, retired after more than 30 years of service in the Air Force, shared an interesting reason for returning for an MBA—to motivate his children to never stop achieving and to keep pace with the high-caliber people joining the ranks today. Whether it’s a personal goal or a career requirement, earning an MBA is an important learning experience as you prepare for your future inside the military our out.

Learn more about courses at American Military University.


Comment below or join the discussion here and connect within the military community.


About the Authors
Dr. Kathleen Shriver is an Associate Professor at AMU and has taught business and finance courses since 2010. Dr. Shriver has more than 30 years of experience in both the private and public sector, in the areas of business, management, and technology.

Jodi Bouvin is an AMU instructor and has been affiliated with the university for more than eight years. Jodi’s educational focus ties directly to the business programs and she serves as a resource for active duty, reserve, and veteran students.


Image Copyright: American Military University

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