5 Reasons Veterans Should Consider an Executive MBA

January 12, 2022
Ricky Gonzalez Cover

Veterans bring unique and valuable experience to an Executive MBA, and available benefits can be significant. Explore some of these key reasons.


Ricky Gonzalez

Ricky Gonzalez


A misconception some veterans have is that they might not find their place in a highly ranked Executive MBA program.

Four-year United States Marine Corps veteran Ricky Gonzalez had that notion. However, it has already changed in his first semester of Baylor’s Executive MBA in Dallas.

“I was concerned that my contributions might not relate, but my courses have taught me that my experience as a Marine is pretty unique and applicable in many business situations,” Gonzalez said.

His time in the Executive MBA program helps demonstrate how, as a veteran, you can benefit in this environment—perhaps even more than non-veteran students.

5 Reasons for Veterans to Earn an Executive MBA

The skills you learn in an Executive MBA can help veterans accelerate the next stage of their career by translating military experience to the business world. An overwhelming percentage of recruiters plan to hire graduates because of how an MBA prepares you for today’s workforce, and your MBA can accelerate your marketability.

At Baylor, you will enter a prestigious program that appreciates veterans and the experience they bring. That starts as you begin the application process.

“It is a great program because they give you credit for your military experience as a block; for someone like me who attended college after your serving, that meant I was eligible to apply for a competitive Executive MBA program sooner than I expected,” Gonzalez said.

This is significant because Executive MBA candidates must have at least five years of professional work experience.

Gonzalez also pointed out how veterans were welcomed formally at the start of the Baylor program.

“During orientation weekend, classes started with the staff acknowledging all military students in the classroom and they even offered us a challenge coin,” he said.

The actual curriculum and classroom interactions are also suited to veterans. In addition to a number of students being veterans, faculty members are veterans. For example, professor (and newly appointed Associate Dean of the Hankamer School of Business) Patricia Norman served seven years in the U.S. Air Force before getting her PhD and coming to teach strategy at Baylor. Associate Professor Brad Beauvais is a 20-year U.S. Army Medical Service Corp vet in Baylor’s Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate.

“Veterans should not expect any different experience than they had in the military,” Gonzalez said. “Everyone is there to work and learn. It is easy to assimilate and feel comfortable.”

2. Flexible Schedule

The time commitment and convenience are significant advantages for veterans and the wider population. Dallas EMBA students meet one weekend a month for 21 months.

“It takes careful planning, but the work is spread out to where you can finish it in your own time,” Gonzalez said. “That is valuable to any student working full time and attending an EMBA program, not just veterans.”

3. Career Support

Another highlight of the Executive MBA program is how it provides key resources that can transform your career.

One of those is access to an executive coach—you will choose between premiere professional coaches—to create an action plan for reaching your desired career goals and discuss those over the span of several sessions. The director of Career Management is also available to both currently enrolled students and alumni to help you succeed through services like resume review, career progression planning and negotiation strategies.

Numerous self-assessment tools will be available to you in the program. These include 360 Feedback, CareerLeader, Leadership Development Challenge and, as Gonzalez experienced, the CliftonStrengths Online Talent Assessment. It revealed that he had the “Woo” theme, which describes individuals who enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over.

He described how he has an assignment to present a SWOT analysis on himself to use findings from the tool. “What I found helpful was how it lent itself to more self-awareness and know where my strengths play into at work and in the classroom,” Gonzalez said.

4. Expanded Professional Network

You can imagine the types of connections you can make in a high-profile MBA program like Baylor. That has already become a reality for Gonzalez, which is quite eye-opening for someone in the first semester of the program.

“I have already tapped into Baylor network,” he said. “In my first semester, I have already made a handful of connections that have opened doors for me outside of school and work. I do some real estate investing on the side. I met another Marine Corps vet who introduced me to a guy who lives up here in Milwaukee where I invest real estate at. That referral is now managing some of my properties for me.”

Gonzalez views the networking opportunities at Baylor to be even greater for veterans.

“Veteran status is going to automatically open up doors for them,” he said. “But that paired with the prestigious Baylor network—you are just a conversation away from meeting the person you need to know or speak with.”

5. Veteran Support at Baylor

Through Baylor’s Veteran Educational and Transitional Services (VETS), all Baylor students who are veterans are eligible for free benefits offered through the VETS Program. There are a number of VA education benefits that you can use toward your Executive MBA. Additionally, Baylor offers a Veteran Scholarship and waives the application fee for all active-duty and veteran military personnel.

Gonzalez expressed appreciation for the help he received from the director of the Dallas Executive MBA, in coming up with a Post 9/11 Benefits plan.

“The staff has been incredibly helpful and helped me plan to use my GI Bill to pay for the course,” Gonzalez said. “By the time I got my undergrad and came here, I was running a little low on benefits. I started the course with only 14 months of GI Bill benefit, but the staff helped me build out a calculator based on historical class dates. We created a strategy to help me pay for the entire program without having to come out of pocket, just by being smart about the way that we used the benefits.”

He urged veterans who have benefits left to continue toward their MBA.

"It makes the amazing private education offered by Baylor very accessible. I can’t wait to see what comes next. Semper Fi."

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