Business Schools Tap Veterans

Carol’s summary:
Business schools are recruiting former military members, and the post 9/11 GI Bill, means more instructors will be teaching veterans. These are nontraditional students entering a very difficult economy, and we need to figure out how to engage them and draw on their unique experiences. Higher education institutions report that veterans bring a unique perspective to their education, and employers say their military training equips them with strong teamwork and leadership skills. At Harvard Business School, veterans currently make up 3% of the class of 2011’s 930 students.

How can we show honor to our veterans for their military service?

How can we best tap their experiences to sharpen our teaching methods and help other students benefit from the different perspective that veterans bring to education?

How can we help ex-military members make a smooth transition from the battlefield to the classroom?

How can educators treat both the emotional and the academic needs that these returning vets will have in the classroom?

What other campus services can they access for support?

Five years ago, Augusto Giacoman was commanding about 30 soldiers and leading raids in Iraq. Now he spends his days in classrooms alongside former bankers, engineers and other civilians earning a master’s in business administration.

Mr. Giacoman, a retired U.S. Army officer, is evidence of a growing effort among business schools to lure ex-military members into M.B.A. programs, where they are prized for their leadership skills and ability to bring an alternate perspective to the classroom, say school administrators.
At Harvard Business School, veterans currently make up 3% of the class of 2011’s 930 students.

From Boot Camp to Business School
Known for its case study method, Harvard relies on students’ personal experiences to propel cases, says Deirdre Leopold, director of admissions at Harvard Business School. Veterans, she says, bring something to the room that other students don’t. “They’ve been responsible for lives, which brings a gravitas to classroom discussion,” Ms. Leopold says.

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