Transitioning from the Military to an MBA Program

David Boelens' bracelet, David Boelens, Drew Mayer, Tim Jones.
Making the transition from full-time military life to the corporate world can be daunting. How do you take the skills and leadership qualities acquired in the service and apply them to a corporate career?

TCU values its student veterans and has a proven track record of helping these students make the transition. The Neeley School of Business exposes its students to authentic business situations and is an ideal complement to the foundation of leadership fostered during military service. 

The Graduate Management Admission Council recognized TCU as a military-friendly institution, and many servicemen and women have made TCU their next stop after their military careers end. David Boelens, Tim Jones and Drew Mayer are servicemen who chose TCU's MBA program to gain the education and skills needed to make the leap from military to business.

David Boelens

David Boelens came to the Neeley School of Business after serving on active duty from 2005 to 2009. "Although I had practical leadership experience from leading teams in the military, I didn't have the base of knowledge I needed for a long-term career post-military," Boelens says. "I wanted a greater understanding of the business side of things."

He says returning to school after leaving active duty was a culture shock but credits his military training with helping him through the rigorous program at TCU. Not only did the Army provide him with team-building experience, it also helped him establish problem-solving skills and gave him the ability to take initiative when something needed to be done.

"I opened myself up to opportunity and asked a lot of questions," he says. "My classmates also played a big role in helping me make the transition."

Boelens graduated in 2011 and now works at Raytheon. He lives each day grateful for the opportunity to pursue his career, while remembering his fellow soldiers who never got that chance. He wears a bracelet in memory of the three men in his cavalry squadron who never made it home from Iraq. "Remembering these men every day helps put life into perspective," he says. 

Tim Jones

In 2007, Tim Jones joined the military and served two tours in Iraq before leaving the Army to pursue his MBA. "I needed a degree with some substance to be successful," Jones says. He completed his degree in 2015 and is now an analyst at Harry Company.

Like Boelens, Jones leans on what he learned in the military to get him through the Neeley program. He says the military taught him how to make plans and how to solve problems to get the best result—both skills he applied in the classroom.

"Don't underestimate how much time grad school will take and how difficult it might be," he says. "But it’s absolutely doable, and all your hard work will pay off in the end. If I can do it, anybody can do it."

Drew Mayer

Drew Mayer received his undergraduate degree from TCU before joining the military after the September 11 terrorist attacks. He served 11 months in Iraq and nine months in Afghanistan before making the decision to return to school. "I knew that a TCU MBA would provide me with the necessary knowledge and tools to enter and be a success in the business world," he says.

He attributes his leadership and problem-solving skills to the experience he gained as an Army officer and applied those skills to his studies at TCU.

"I developed invaluable managerial skills by managing soldiers from different socioeconomic, cultural and religious backgrounds, resolving both internal and external conflicts. My duties required me to constantly adapt to, reflect on and reevaluate critical situations," he says. "At TCU, while working with my peers, my experience working with both a diverse group of Americans and numerous individuals from other countries allowed me to make valuable contributions to discussions on topics regarding international relations or conducting business in a foreign country." 

Mayer graduated in 2015 and works for BNSF Railway as a trainmaster.

If you are leaving full-time military life, let TCU serve as the bridge between armed service and your long-term career. TCU waives the application fee for military personnel and provides priority consideration for scholarships. If you’re deployed in the middle of your degree program, we’ll work with you on a revised graduation plan.

Interested in getting a TCU MBA? Request more info about the Neeley School of Business graduate program or apply now. Plus, learn more about military students.

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