Military member? Here’s how you can earn your MBA and transition into civilian life.

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As a current or former member of the military, you might be worried about the numerous obstacles unique to civilian life. One of the issues you may face is transitioning to a new job. Although you’ve been employed for years, you may feel unprepared and unqualified for a traditional career when “military experience” is not listed under skill requirements. Furthermore, you may face unique mental health issues that members of the public, including company leaders and hiring managers, struggle to understand.

The Washington State University Carson College of Business’ online MBA and Executive MBA programs are well-suited for veterans and active-duty members who want to add to their current skills and achieve a satisfying career, whether in the military or in civilian life. Since the MBA is one of the most versatile master’s degrees available, this all-encompassing business education may qualify you to enter almost any field of your choice or strengthen your career path within the military.

Learn more about how the WSU Carson College of Business can help you meet your goals, why you are ready for an online degree and a career in business more than you think you are, and how to apply to our program:

Earning an MBA with Washington State University’s Carson College of Business

About the program

The Carson College is a recognized trailblazer in education for members of the military, and our commitment to education has earned us recognition from various top-industry publications. Military Times deemed us a Military Friendly School for 2017, and we’re No. 15 on the list of “Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans” for 2017 by U.S. News & World Report. Part of what makes our curriculum so effective is our understanding of the difficulties you and other members of the military face. This knowledge is a core component of our program and helps pave the way for an easy transition back to school.

Upon graduating from our program, you may be equipped with the skills necessary to enter a wide variety of non-military professions, spanning from positions such as marketing manager, consultant, health care administrator to a C-suite executive role. In addition to a newfound understanding of business law and analytics, economics, marketing and finance, our program can sharpen the leadership and teamwork traits you developed in the military.

Our online MBA program can be completed in as little as 22-29 months. Throughout your educational career, you will take seven 3-credit core courses along with three supplemental courses. These supplemental courses will come from your electives or concentration and can be tailored to your career goals. For example, our MBA provides concentrations in finance, international business, hospitality business management and marketing, as well as a general business track.

In addition, we offer an online Executive MBA for students wishing to advance to the C-suite level, which can be completed in as little as 18 months. Our unparalleled classes and faculty teach the executive level theory behind how companies operate, preparing you to collect and interpret data to implement solutions to a variety of challenges in real-life examples.

Our fully online programs are structured with individuals like you in mind. There are no residency requirements, so anyone, including active-duty military members, can access courses regardless of where you’re stationed.

Military member? Here's how you can earn your MBA and transition into civilian life.

Our program can be completed in as little as 22-29 months.

Supporting your education

Studies show veterans and active-duty personnel can struggle with emotional challenges often not exhibited in civilians’ daily lives. Research from the Rand Corporation found approximately 31 percent of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury.

WSU is committed to supporting all of our online and campus students – including our military students. We have a clear understanding of the effects military life may take on servicemembers’ emotional and mental well-being, and we’re prepared to help.

Washington residents can take advantage of The Psychology Clinic, a nonprofit operated by the WSU Psychology Department that offers counseling and psychological services for students struggling with the effects of military life. The Clinic also participates in the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs’ Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and War Trauma Treatment Program. This service is extended to all Washington residents who have served in our military and their families, not just our students.

Non-Washington residents can consult the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a detailed list of mental health resources dedicated to servicemembers and their families. The American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Nurses Association also provide resources for active-duty military and veterans.

Why you’re ready to earn your MBA

It’s common for members of the military to have doubts about re-entering civilian life. They may feel ill-prepared to enter the job market and can harbor hidden fears that businesses don’t want them. Research from Rasmussen Reports found numerous Servicemembers believe businesses don’t view military experience as an asset.

Contrary to this belief, many companies actively look to hire veterans. For example, with the Veterans@McKinsey program, McKinsey works specifically to recruit new hires with military experience. McKinsey understands that military members and veterans exhibit excellent leadership and critical thinking skills, both of which are valuable assets in a business setting.

Our online MBA can help you develop and fine-tune the skills these recruiters look for. Throughout your studies, you’ll gain valuable knowledge on management, operations, finance, accounting and more. You’ll study how to analyze data to make sound decisions, forecast revenue and navigate business law. Such a thorough education may impress company recruiters and hiring managers regardless of whether or not they’re hiring for a specific military program.

Our 100% online learning experience can give you critical-thinking and analytical skills that complement your military background. You might be surprised to learn how much your service has prepared you for a successful academic journey and career in business. Your experience working as both a leader and a member of a team gives you a unique perspective on both sides of the solution to a problem. In addition, if you were a higher ranked member in the military, you may already know how to summon the best work out of your staff. Thus, you have expert management skills which are vital for organizing and achieving company goals.

Furthermore, as an article from Fortune detailed, Servicemembers are already prepared to deal with high-pressure situations. “Military service builds a wide range of professional leadership skills that we value at Morgan Stanley,” Pen Pendleton, a spokesman for the corporation, told Fortune. “By recruiting veterans throughout the firm, we strengthen the culture and reinforce our commitment to fostering leadership, collaboration and risk management skills.” Now you need to grow versed in the vocabulary and strategies of a traditional business setting.

Getting a graduate degree also allows you to interact with civilians before reentering the workforce. Our engaging, hands-on approach to learning can teach you how to operate outside of the military structure.

Lastly, an MBA is incredibly useful for boosting your salary. According to, the official website of the Graduate Management Admission Council, MBA graduates earn $45,000 more on average than people with a bachelor’s. So, an online MBA or EMBA could be your ticket to a more satisfying and better-paying career.

Enrolling at Washington State University’s Carson College of Business

The first step in the enrollment process is to mark down important dates. The application deadline for the first summer term is April 10, 2017, and classes start May 8th – if you are not ready to apply today, here is a link to all of our upcoming application deadlines. Before completing your MBA/EMBA application through our online portal, you will need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year institution. Additionally, our online MBA program requires the following:

  • Official transcripts from your prior colleges
  • A copy of your current resume
  • GPA: Min. 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • A statement of purpose detailing your reasons for wanting to enter our program
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A report of your GMAT or GRE scores*

To apply for the Executive MBA online program, you will also need:

  • 7-plus years of management, senior management or executive business experience
  • A letter of organizational support
  • A organizational summary – a written document of 500 words or fewer describing your organization and your role
  • An organizational chart
  • An interview

* A GMAT waiver may be granted for qualified candidates.

Once you’ve submitted your application and supporting documents, you can to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Since some foundational business knowledge is necessary to succeed during a master’s program, the WSU MBA online program offers seven prerequisite courses over five to seven weeks for students without a bachelor’s degree in business. While your military experience definitely gives you an edge, it might not provide the business base that our master’s-level courses build upon. Students with a bachelor’s degree in business or who have passed equivalent classes with at least a 3.0, may be exempt from the foundation classes.

Navigating active-duty or veteran life while obtaining a post-graduate degree is not without its road blocks, and you’ll need a lot of self-motivation, time management and organization to succeed. If you do struggle with your course work, talk to your instructors, a counselor or our Veteran Affairs office. Active-military and veteran students might also benefit from the support of other military students. These individuals understand the challenges you face and can support you in the pursuit of your degree.

Obtaining an MBA is a great career move for all types of military personnel, whether active, deployed, in reserve or veteran. The education you receive may work well with your existing background and experience, making you a valuable asset for future employers. To choose your MBA path and get started, visit us today.



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