In the military, you learned how to assess risks. You became skilled at identifying risks and assessing their magnitude. Even more importantly you learned to mitigate risks. These skills may have saved your life in Afghanistan and Iraq. Are you aware that these risk assessment skills are critically important in business?
Whether in launching a new entrepreneurial venture or introducing a revolutionary product for a major corporation, astute business managers go through a process of identifying risks, assessing their magnitude and finding ways to mitigate them. Their goal is to create wealth for their company, community and themselves. They seek to avoid unnecessary risks and losses. How do you learn to apply your risk assessment skills to the business sector?
Graduate business degrees, such as an MBA or a Technology Commercialization program, provide options perfectly suited to transitioning veterans. Among your benefits is the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which covers tuition, books and a housing allowance, for those who pursue a degree after service. Further, one-year business master's utilizes only 12 months of the 36 month entitlement, which still leaves the majority of those benefits to transfer to family members.
The structured, analytical approach to developing an idea, assessing the risk, communicating the benefits, and successfully bringing it to market utilizes all of the skills you have developed during your career in the military. The primary problem is the initial transition – specifically, knowing the terrain and vocabulary of the private sector.
Look for a structured program designed to equip transitioning military officers and senior NCOs with the tools to figure out what you want to do – corporate mergers and acquisitions or starting a venture from the ground up, and everything in between. Most of you transitioning out have taken advantage of numerous transition workshops that guide you through crafting a resume, networking, and other basics of job searching; however, a one-year Master's program offers a much richer alternative. Unlike the weeklong transition courses that result in a 30-second elevator speech that summarizes your years of service, these programs are structured to prepare you to use the risk assessment skills learned in the military to communicate with private sector decision makers.
If you are interested in pursuing a Masters's degree, the University of Texas at Austin has a Master of Science in Technology Commercialization (MSTC) Program. 30% of the current MSTC class are active military or veterans. Designed for working professionals, classes meet on alternating weekends Friday evening and all day Saturday. All students are required to attend class – either by going to the classroom in Austin, Texas or attending live online from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. You can also start the MSTC Program while you're still in the military or afterwards while you take a job.