The transition from the battlefield to the boardroom is not always proving easy.
As with a growing number of colleges and universities, the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management is launching what it sees as a unique initiative to recruit and support veterans for its master of business administration MBA program, selling itself as military friendly with the marketing slogan “Change your stripes.”
“This is a population we’ve long identified we want to help out with as underserved,” said Philip Miller, assistant dean of the full-time and part-time MBA programs. “It changes the complexion of the class.”
Despite recent programs to address the high unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, joblessness for that group remains stubbornly high at around 10 percent, 2 percentage points higher than the rest of the population. The answer to the problem often has been to turn to education and the lucrative benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. More than 800,000 veterans and their family members are using GI Bill benefits, and that number is expected to rise as the U.S. military draws down its forces and sends active-duty troops back into the civilian world.
Carlson is not unique in recognizing a growing market for veterans seeking MBAs. Syracuse University, State University of New York-Empire State College and the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg were awarded $1.5 million in grants last year to develop innovative MBA programs specifically designed for veterans, including course credit that recognizes military training and experience.
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