Tag: military

The Olin Veterans Association (OVA) hosted their 4th Annual Dining Out Ceremony at the prestigious St. Louis Racquet Club. The crowd included thirty current MBA Veterans from all five branches of service, representation from thirty-six St. Louis companies including sixty prominent executives. The guests of honor were Jack Senneff, the President of the Mess, an Army Ranger Regiment Officer and current Managing Director at Thompson Street Capital Partners; the Keynote Speaker Jason Frei, a Marine Officer and current Director at Boeing Defense; and Mark Taylor, Dean of Olin Business School.

The Olin Veterans Association Military Dining Out Ceremony is an annual event to celebrate the partnership between the OVA and St. Louis business leaders who support Veterans with their time, expertise, and mentorship. Danny Henry, the OVA President and McKinsey Consultant, along with Joe Piganelli, the incoming OVA president, spent countless hours leading student and faculty teams to orchestrate the event and successfully doubled the headcount from the 2016 event.

Dean Mark Taylor was impressed with his first dining out experience, “I was deeply honored to host this event with the Olin Veterans Association…this momentous occasion celebrated the service of our military veterans and the tremendous support of our business community.”

The evening incorporated time honored military traditions such as Washington University’s ROTC Color Guard posting the American flag, a Washington University a capella group singing the National Anthem, and attendees raising their water glasses for a silent toast to remember our fallen comrades.

A crowd-favorite tradition was chastising guests who violated the Rules of the Mess. For example, one rule states, “Thou shalt not murder the Queen’s English.” If found guilty of murdering the Queen’s English, a penalty could include a monetary fine that supported Veteran scholarships and a trip to the “Grog Bowl”. The grog bowl was a combination of symbolic liquids and solids mixed together to represent the sacrifices of the Veterans both in combat and the MBA program. The crowd enjoyed the good-natured revelry as guests cited each other for violations.

Several current student OVA members to were able to enjoy the evening with their employers. Joe Rieser dined with his future supervisor Chip Hiemenz, the Director of Business Development at Hunter Engineering, and Dan Vitale sat with his former boss Rob Godlewski, Vice President of Commercial and Residential Solutions at Emerson. Dan enjoyed connecting with Rob again, “From the first day Rob ensured me that Emerson and the St. Louis Business community were committed to helping Olin Veteran Association members transition.”

The highlight of the night, was the guest speaker, Jason Frei. Jason, Director of Ethics and Business Conduct at Boeing Defense, a Purple Heart recipient, and an Eisenhower Fellow, centered his speech around his tenure as a Marine Artillery Officer. Jason was a natural born leader and the Marine Corps discipline and desire to bring the fight to the enemy was one of the main reasons he joined the Corps. He emphasized that his success was a result of his desire to lead Marines and he took every measure possible to keep them alive.

Unfortunately, Jason’s convoy was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), an event that physically and mentally changed his life and altered his career. After losing part of his arm, he decided to leave the Marine Corps and find a different path to lead and make an impact. He immediately enrolled in the MBA program at Notre Dame to launch him on his new career. Jason may have stopped serving in the Marine Corps however he took the lessons and leadership and brought them to Boeing Defense.

The OVA would like to thank the many guests that attended and to express our appreciation of the ongoing support of our faculty, staff, alumni, and honored guests. We look forward to the continued impact our veteran students make to our program and our community. Thank you to all our active duty service men and women for their continued sacrifice. We are grateful for those veterans who have served, many who are no longer with us today, and honor them with this event.

Guest Blogger: James Jacobs
VP of Communications, Olin Veteran’s Association
MBA ’17

Dan Nordin

Before becoming a full-time MBA student at Olin, Dan Nordin served as a Platoon Leader at Fort Carson, Colorado (including a deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan) and as the HHC commander for the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia—it’s fair to say he understands the transition from military life to graduate school.

Dan is also an ambassador for Service 2 School, a non-profit that provides free application counseling to military veterans. Here’s what he had to say about his involvement with Service 2 School, post-military life, and the unique challenges facing veterans applying to business school:

How and why did you become involved in Service 2 School?

Service 2 School was co-founded by one of my classmates at West Point. It is a non-profit organization that assists veterans through the application process, with the goal of helping them gain admission into the best universities possible and to help maximize education benefits. When I made the decision to transition from the Army and pursue an MBA, I signed up for their services. I was partnered up with an Ambassador, another one of my West Point classmates that was in his first year at the Tuck School of Business. He walked me through the application process, reviewed my resume, and provided valuable feedback on my essay responses. Since Service 2 School is a non-profit organization, you pay it forward by volunteering to be an Ambassador after you gain admission into a top program to assist other veterans through the application process.

What resources does Service 2 School provide?

The biggest resource Service 2 School provides is connecting you to other veterans who have already navigated through the application process, who can provide valuable feedback on your entire application, whether through resume and essay reviews, as well as interview prep. In addition, they provide free guidebooks on applying to schools as well as discounts on test prep material from companies such as Veritas for preparing for the GMAT.

What are unique challenges facing veterans applying to business schools?

I think the biggest challenge facing veterans are translating their military experience and relevant skill set to a non-military audience. Additionally, it is hard to balance the demanding lifestyle of the military while properly preparing for applying to business schools. Many of my friends were studying for the GMAT or conducting Skype interviews with schools while deployed to Afghanistan. Once the decision has been made to transition from the military to business school, it is important for veterans to remember to set a realistic timeline based on deployment schedules or intensive training calendars. Always set aside more time than you think you need to study for the GMAT—that allows you to get your target score before applications even open. That way, a busy veteran can focus on fine tuning their resume and really concentrate on writing the application essays.

What experiences should veterans highlight in their application materials to business schools?

I think the most unique skill set that many veterans bring to business school is their leadership experience.  The military is the only organization that I know of that can put someone pretty recently removed from college in charge of a large team of 20-50 people.

What has been your experience as a veteran returning to school?

I was very hesitant to leave the military—it’s really the only thing I have known for the last 12 years. Additionally, it would mean forgoing a paycheck while trying to support a wife and two kids. I couldn’t have done it without the support of the GI Bill and for Olin participating in the Yellow Ribbon program. The Olin community has been nothing but supportive. It has been a great experience, from hosting the veterans prior to school starting so veterans can get to know the other veterans to meeting faculty and providing us with the necessary resources to succeed in both the classroom and in searching for a job. Additionally, it has been great getting to know people from many different backgrounds and experiences.

What advice would you give veterans currently seeking an MBA program?

Make sure you develop a realistic timeline to start GMAT test prep in order to get a score that is good enough to get into your target schools. Target a program that will help you best obtain your post-MBA goals. After that, reach out to the veterans’ association at that target school to connect to other veterans who went through the same process a year ago. The associations can provide invaluable resources on the application process and insight into whether the program is a fit for you based on your aspirations.

Guest Blogger: Dan Nordin, MBA ’18

There are many appealing aspects about the Olin experience: The world class faculty, small class size, supportive students, and intellectually stimulating curriculum. But one area where Olin truly excels is at its job placement rate, where 96% of its Full-Time MBA graduates receive job offers within 3 months after graduation with a median salary of $100,000. However, the caveat to this is that the onus is on the student to put himself or herself in a position to take advantage of these opportunities.

Personally, from outset of the fall semester, I was actively searching for internship opportunities.

I got my resume and LinkedIn profiles proofread from the WCC as soon as possible, and immediately was looking for opportunities on MBAFocus. I also reached out to those from whom I received business cards from at MBA networking events. These information sessions I scheduled were incredibly informative. In addition, I prepared well in advance for the MBA Veterans Career Conference in October in Chicago, which proved to be an embarrassment of riches as far as internship/job opportunities were concerned.

With regards to translating my military experience into my resume and interviews, there are some keys to remember. First, it is imperative to jettison military jargon and use civilian-speak when talking about your experiences. That will make the company you are targeting more keen on hiring you. Second, emphasize the leadership and managerial responsibilities you had while on active duty. This is what gives you a competitive advantage over many of your civilian peers. Finally, emphasize any awards and decorations you received, as employers want to know examples of when you stood out from your peers.

If I could do something differently, I would have started preparing for case interviews much sooner.

Regardless of the platform you may choose, many firms in all areas will have a case interview in addition to a behavioral interview. In both of these, you need to come across as polished and prepared if you expect to receive an offer.

The book “Case in Point” is a great way to prepare. Also, utilize your peer network and the great resources at the WCC, as they will be more than willing to put you in a position to succeed. Read up on your desired company’s history, its financial statements, and leadership changes, if any, at the company. This will be a great indication of how much you want to work at said company. But at the end of the day, BE YOURSELF. Companies are seeking corporate fit in addition to qualifications annotated on the resume, and if you’re not a fit for the company, it’s not going to be beneficial to either party for you to work there.

All of my preparation culminated in me receiving an Corporate Finance internship offer at Intel in Portland, Oregon. I look forward to applying all I learned at Olin at Intel. And while I’m there, I’ll be more than happy to answer your questions as you start your internship search. Feel free to drop me a line.

Guest Blogger: Ravi Balu, MBA ’18

mfs17_top10UPDATE: December 8, 2016, Victory Media announced today special awards for its 2017 Military Friendly® Employers and 2017 Military Friendly® Schools. Washington University was named a Top 10 School. Link to Press Release.

Olin Business School is proud to be named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media’s trademarked program that benchmarks and rates colleges and companies nationwide, helping veterans and military families make well-informed decisions about education and career opportunities.

Excerpts from the Nov. 10, 2016 Press Release:

Victory Media, originator of the family of Military Friendly® employment, entrepreneurship and education resources for veterans and their families, announced Nov. 10 its list of 2017 Military Friendly® Employers and 2017 Military Friendly® Schools.

mfs17_designationSignificant technological investment into the evaluation process enhanced the breadth of data evaluated, resulting in 210 Military Friendly® Employers and 1,273 Military Friendly® Schools recognized for their support of the military community. For more than a decade, the Military Friendly® ratings have set the standard for companies and colleges that provide positive employment and education outcomes for veterans and their families.

“Our ability to apply a clear, consistent standard across thousands of employers and schools gives veterans a comprehensive view of those striving to provide the best opportunities and conditions for our nation’s veterans,” said Daniel Nichols, Chief Product Officer of Victory Media and head of Military Friendly® development. “Relating data from companies and colleges positions us to further our goal of supporting service members and veterans along their entire path from military service to success in their chosen civilian career field.”

More Comprehensive Scoring Criteria

A significant change for 2017 was the consideration of three data sources in the scoring methodology: publicly available data from federal agencies; personal opinion data from veteran employees or students; and proprietary Military Friendly® survey data from participating organizations. Final results were determined by combining an organization’s survey scores with an assessment of the organization’s ability to meet minimum thresholds in six areas critical to success:

  • Employers—Military Employee Application, Hiring, Turnover, Promotion & Advancement rates and National Guard and Reserve policies.
  • Schools—Student Veteran Retention, Graduation, Job Placement, Loan Repayment, Persistence and Loan Default rates.

Each year, employers and schools competing for the Military Friendly(R) designation are challenged to a higher standard than in previous years via improved methodology, criteria and weightings developed with the assistance of an independent research firm and our Advisory Council. This year, Victory Media has published online federal contractors and schools that receive federal education benefits that would be eligible for the Military Friendly® designation based on public data. However, only those companies and colleges that completed the Military Friendly® survey were considered for and eligible to receive the Military Friendly® designation and special awards.

Recognizing Excellence

Also new for 2017 are Military Friendly® awards, showcasing the most powerful and effective military programs in the workplace and on campuses nationwide. Awards for Top 10, Gold, Silver and Bronze winners by category (annual revenue for employers and institution type for schools) will be announced on December 8. The move from a binary designation of “Are you Military Friendly®?” to “How Military Friendly® are you?” will highlight outstanding organizations that support veterans and their families.

“Companies and colleges no longer ask ‘why’ recruit military as employees and students. They realize that veterans are graduates of the premier training institution in the world: the U.S. military,” said Navy veteran Chris Hale, CEO and Co-Founder of Victory Media.

The 2017 Military Friendly® Employers and Schools lists are available online at https://militaryfriendly.com and will be printed in the December issue of G.I. Jobs® and in the iannual Guide to Military Friendly® Schools.Read more about Military Friendly® ratings, methodology, and awards, or request a survey link, at https://militaryfriendly.com.

Photos from the OVA Dining Out event in 2014, by Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

“Greetings from abroad!  My unit–about 25 soldiers–would be grateful and happy to receive packages from your group.  Thank you for your efforts at making our deployments a bit less unpleasant.  Its nice to be remembered,” Trenton Hayes writes from Afghanistan.

“As far as specifics, we are in a pretty austere environment here.  We are all pretty well taken care of in terms of toiletries and whatnot; but the food is just atrocious–our efforts have rather outstripped the ability of the contractors to feed us, I fear.  I’ve lost about 8 pounds myself, which is no great loss, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.  So snacks of all descriptions would be most welcome.

“Thank you again for the pains you take.  They are much appreciated.” – Trenton Hayes

Donations for the next WashU Military Care Package mailing are being accepted at several drop-off locations on campus until 11 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 9.  Volunteers will be packing boxes on Friday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day, at 1:30 p.m. in the North Campus dining area.  Please contact Jill Edwards (jilledwards@wustl.edu) if you would like to participate.

“We will be sending packages to three soldiers, as well as the USO located at Bagram Airfield,” Jill Edwards, Senior Project Manager, Office of the Vice Provost, writes in an email. “It is our honor to send packages to Harvey Fields’ son, Jordan Fields!  Jordan is currently stationed in Afghanistan.” Fields is Assistant Dean for Student Success
in the Center for Advanced Learning.

Danforth Campus drop off locations:
Knight Hall, Suite 310 (Claire Patterson 935-7301)
Lopata Hall, Room 303 (Chris Kroeger, 935-6169)
North Brookings, Room 155 (Jill Edwards 935-5623)
South 40, South 40 House, Room 1006 (Lora Clark, 935-4329)
Rebstock 321, Biology Department (Judy Musick 935-6871)

Suggested donations:
Individually wrapped snacks
Microwave popcorn
Power bars, Protein Bars, Nutritional Bars
Single serve – pre-sweetened drink mixes (Gatorade, Crystal Light, Wylers, etc.)
Trail mix (individual size servings)
Funds for postage are always welcome


Steve May is a military veteran and a 2018 MBA Candidate at Olin Business School

Photo, above: Steve May with teammates and locals in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

In addition to world-class academics and a general “fit” with the friendly students and impressive instructors, Olin’s tremendous support for veterans is part of the reason I came to Washington University as an MBA candidate. There is not enough time in the day to take advantage of all the support available to Olin students. It’s a tremendous problem to have, and it started right when I got into St. Louis before the MBA Program even officially began.

Two days before the Olin MBA Program started, the veterans attended a two-day “MBA Boot Camp” to “square us away” and get us ready for the difficult (but rewarding) road ahead. The name “MBA Boot Camp” is fitting—not because of the intensity that is associated with most military basic trainings, but because of the efficiency. From the moment we stepped on campus, everything was planned to get us “up to speed” on everything we needed to know to help us prepare for the MBA program.

The author, Steve May.

The author, Steve May.

Meals, career advice, platform introductions, classroom and case discussions, and networking experiences were a few of the events that were planned and executed to the minute. Most notably, the Weston Career Center introduced themselves and the multitude of services they provide students—from resume and cover letter advice, to conference and interview preparation. It was very clear that they were there to help. At the end of the first day, for example, I was following up with a career advisor after a great face-to-face meeting to help finalize my resume for a veterans job conference in October. On the second day, each core instructor led an academic discussion on their subject area, the accompanying platform, and an introduction to the case method. Needless to say, MBA Boot Camp did a tremendous job preparing us to excel and lead when the MBA program began days later.

As veterans, we have all had trying experiences in various locations throughout the world. More than a rigorous military basic training, “MBA Boot Camp” was an introduction to the vast amount of resources and support available to all students, and, especially veterans in the MBA Program at Olin. It truly is overwhelming, and overwhelmingly positive. MBA Boot Camp cemented what I knew to be true; that I had selected the right program for me.

Steve May is a 2018 MBA Candidate in the full-time MBA Program at Olin Business School. Learn more about Olin’s top-ranked full-time MBA program and resources for military veterans.