This post is courtesy of Jeanne Arnold, a member of the Texas Executive MBA class of 2014.
In the military, the phrase “Cleared Hot” means you have been given permission to “engage the enemy”. You have prepared for this moment for years, been trained by the best professionals in the military, and are supported by countless dedicated people and systems all coming together in this one point in time. Now I am “Cleared Hot” not to engage the enemy, but to begin my transition out of the military and back into the private sector.
After 29 years in the military, I realized the time was quickly approaching to plan in earnest what the next chapter would look like. There are many decisions to make. Where do I want to live? What do I want to do? How do I get from “here” to “there”? Assuming I have at least 20 more years of productive work left in me, how do I effectively translate the knowledge and skills I have attained in the military to the private sector?
The first question was the easiest. Of course I want to settle in the Austin area, it’s the closest thing to roots I have ever known.
For a while, I considered pursuing a project management professional (PMP) certification as a way to bridge some of my experience. Then I talked to a friend who said, “a PMP is great to have, but why not get the complete education and the MBA?” Now that was something that made sense. She told me about the Executive MBA that The University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business offered. That conversation ended up being an “ah-ha” moment for me. I knew when I attended the information session that this was the right path for me. I now had clarity and a sense of purpose about not only how to effectively translate my previous experience but also to add a whole new experiential dimension to my transition out of the military. At this stage in my life, it is the learning part that really excites me. The added bonus is that at the end, there is an MBA degree from a top ranked University; and not just any university – The University, where my family has attended since the late 1930s. The EMBA program seemed to be the perfect fit. After applying, getting accepted, and starting class it is confirmed. It is the perfect fit.
Having never used any of the military educational benefits before, I dreaded navigating what I thought would be a bureaucratic quagmire getting my G.I Bill initiated. I could not have been more wrong. The EMBA staff, Graduate School, and the Veteran’s Services teams worked together to make the process not only quick, but painless.
Although I am still not sure exactly what I am going to do when I simultaneously retire and graduate, I am sure I made the right choice to pursue the Texas EMBA. I know this is the best way to get me from “here” to “there”, wherever “there” may be. I am confident that I will emerge “prepared to engage”, not the enemy, but my passion.
I welcome any questions regarding military transition, using the GI Bill, or the EMBA program, so send me an email at any time.