Military Excellence, Unclear Future

Military Excellence, Unclear Future


Older applicants are at a disadvantage in the MBA process, but can often achieve excellent results on the basis of their impressive track record. But what if the applicant is older AND has no business experience? That’s the challenge this applicant faced coming from a purely military career. While he was one of the most impressive, inspiring people we have ever worked with, it would take a thorough writing and reflection process to make sure his many admirable qualities came through on the page.

740 GMAT Score
3.6 Undergrad GPA
Undergrad Resume USNA graduate, 10 years elite-level military experience

The Situation

This applicant’s resume was all military. The nature of his work – highly sensitive, dangerous military missions on the ground – made it difficult to communicate to schools. The applicant also wasn’t clear on his post-MBA plans and had difficulty expressing himself in ways that non-military adcom members would easily understand. Without our intervention, this applicant’s essays would have been filled with way too many technical details about his military work, and way too few details on his future goals.

Our Solution.

We focused on what he lived, rather than what he did, and how that informed and impacted his values, relationships and outlook. We demonstrated that he developed and exhibited many traits that schools highly value, such as inclusion, open-mindedness, and a desire for diversity, together with the usual sense of duty, professionalism and discipline that military profiles typically exhibit. This showed that he was an extremely well-rounded individual with experiences that anyone could relate to, and which could be useful to classmates. Our strategy was to balance his application between his personal and professional experiences. We also guided the applicant’s career research, identifying clear, plausible roles in the civilian world that would take maximum advantage of his military experience. Though not obvious from his initial drafts, he actually had plenty of ideas for his future career and enjoyed narrowing them down with us. His diligence and trust in us, combined with his motivation and abilities, landed him a seat at HBS – the perfect fit for his style and goals.

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What we can do for you.

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