posted May 15, 2019
Skills gained while serving in the military can be applied to many different careers. Many veterans find that they have exactly what employers are looking for, from communication skills to time management and more.
One area in which veterans can excel after their military careers is business. In fact, the skills and qualities that veterans bring to the table are one of the primary reasons for initiatives like the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which has gained support from such major companies as Starbucks, Amazon and Microsoft. Other major companies, such as Proctor & Gamble, are also being led by veterans.
So why are service members so well-suited to business careers? What makes them the ideal candidates for business degrees like MBAs? Here are just a few of the attributes that create the perfect fit:
Although not every veteran comes out of the military a great leader, every soldier is trained in leadership and most have the opportunity to put their leadership skills to the test while serving. Not only do veterans have experience working under leaders and learning how to follow orders – and thus experience in what makes a good versus poor leader – but many had military responsibilities that required them to lead others.
Military leadership is essentially all about the qualities taught in business leadership: excellent communication and listening, developing goals and plans to reach those goals, delegating responsibilities in the execution of those plans, and constantly evaluating and measuring the success of actions to make changes and adjustments.
The military is all about teamwork. Regardless of one’s background or role, soldiers are trained and focused on a common goal: to serve and protect. In every exercise and mission, soldiers work together to fulfill their responsibilities, understanding that every person is important to the outcome.
Such collaboration is often challenging in the civilian world, where personal goals, egos and other factors often overshadow the desire to work as a team. Adding a veteran to the team not only adds the dimension of someone who really understands teamwork and their role, but a veteran can also be a leader and role model for others. That’s not to say that civilians never excel at teamwork, but a military veteran can be a solid addition to a team that struggles in this area.
A common saying in the Marines is “improvise, adapt and overcome.” In other words, things are always changing, and it’s a soldier’s job to respond to those changes in such a way that they can continue to fulfill their mission.
Much like a battlefield, the world of business is always changing. Business leaders must be constantly aware of new threats and opportunities, and they must be prepared to make decisions to ensure that the company meets its goals and objectives. Veterans have been trained in being more adaptable and flexible, and therefore they are prepared to handle the rigors of business in a cool, calm and collected manner.
If there is one thing that almost everyone associates with the military, it’s organization. When we say organization, we’re referring to qualities such as punctuality, a desire for order and time management. In the military, you are expected to be early for everything – on time is late – and to meet standards for professionalism, dress and preparedness.
In business, time is money, and veterans are often better prepared to meet deadlines and to manage their business with precision. Veterans’ attention to organization extends to all aspects of their work, from planning to execution to measurement, ensuring that all objectives are met and that the company is progressing toward its goals.
The business world isn’t the place for someone who is unsure of themselves or easily gives up in the face of challenges. Great business leaders are tenacious, and they are able to persevere even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Military veterans are known for their tenacity and their ability to be tough when necessary. It goes back to their adaptability and leadership skills, and the training of service members to always look for ways to meet their objectives.
Use Your Skills
These factors, combined with skills in accounting, marketing, finance and other business principles taught in a business degree program, make it possible for military veterans to succeed in nearly any organization. Veterans are especially well-suited to putting in the time and effort to make sure their pursuit of a degree ends up being worth the investment.
Recognized as one of the top schools for military students, Columbia Southern University offers flexible online degree programs and affordable tuition rates. If you’ve completed a self-assessment and have decided to pursue a business degree while on active duty or in your post-military career, check out CSU’s business programs at ColumbiaSouthern.edu/Business.