ROTC commitment viewed as work experience?

Hi, I'm a sophomore at undergrad business school. I'm looking to join ROTC. I believe there is 3 or 4 years of commitment after college. Since I'm looking to get my MBA afterward, does my service years count as work experience? Is it reasonable to think that I could jump to MBA straight from military or should I be looking to get 1 or 2 years of job experience first? I think avg. work experience of most top MBA students is around 5 years, which would mean I'm short by 1 or 2 years. Thanks for any advice.

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Comments (12)

Apr 27, 2007 - 9:36pm


Absolutely not. If I was looking for ways to help myself get into B-school, there would be safer ways to do so. Quite honestly, I don't even know how much B-School would value military experience. I just see joining military as a once-in-a-life opportunity. I'm just asking the question whether military service counts as a work experience or I need additional work experience (on top of military commitment) prior to MBA.

Apr 27, 2007 - 8:01pm

yes. there are plenty of ex-military at top MBA schools and other graduate programs. although it depends on your mos, military experience in general is viewed as a huge plus by schools and companies.

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Apr 28, 2007 - 3:06pm

Military Service will give you a huge leg up when applying to top MBA programs. My advice would be to take your GMAT your senior year of college. Your score will still be good for applications, and military life comes with a lot of uncertianty (e.g. you might be in Iraq for the year before your separation)

Apr 28, 2007 - 7:29pm

W/ respect to that comment, how much lower (if at all) can your score be than the avg's? I really want Columbia but I got a 670...

Plan on retaking as I'd been practicing in the 720-730 but just wondering.

Also had a 3.7 double major in undergrad.

May 2, 2007 - 3:52am

I'm currently at first lieutenant in the US Army (Captain next month baby!) and I'd just say that you should know what you're getting into. If you do ROTC, you'll then be commissioned as a second LT after graduation. Then depending on your branch of service, you'll go to your Officer Basic Course, learn how to fight and survive in a modern counterinsurgency environment (read: Iraq and Afghanistan) and then tossed into a situation that will involve you being a leader with tremendous responsibility in an environment of no-shit mortal danger, moral ambiguity and life-or-death decisions. I would also bank on getting deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan for at least one 15-month deployment. I'm a West Point grad so my committment is 5 years but ROTC grads have a two or three committment depending on your contract. Also, in the Army, it doesn't matter if you went to West Point or ROTC, as long as you're a good officer, that's all that matters in terms of the respect with which your soldiers, NCOs, peers and superior officers treat you. I'm planning on going into the private sector after my time in the Army and get an MBA along the way. I would just advise you that a few of my classmates from West Point have already been killed in combat and that the profession you will be joining for a few years is a very dangerous one. Still, I would like to thank you for considering service to your country and for realizing that in a very dangerous world filled with enemies, it is still important for our military to have leaders from our society's elite.

May 8, 2007 - 2:40pm

Of course military experience counts as work experience for an MBA. And at HBS the historical average for prior military is actually closer to around 10% of the class. It's between 5 and 10% at pretty much every top b-school.
I was in the military prior to school and can personally attest to the fact that adcoms absolutely love military experience. Yes, certain career fields and combat experience may boost your chances even furthers, but adcoms love all military experience. We bring a unique viewpoint and perspective to the MBA environment, which is the entire goal of the adcom--to bring in a student body that is "diverse" wrt job experience, life experiences, etc.

May 12, 2007 - 11:34pm

How do B-Schools value enlisted experience? I left the Navy after 4 years as an E-5, worked on the flight deck of the USS Kitty Hawk, and was deployed for both Op Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

I've been at the University of Florida since I got out, and will graduate with a B.S. Finance next year. I currently have a 3.87 GPA.

I've been considering B-School straight after undergrad, but after looking at the Wharton resume book, I only saw prior officers.

Probably don't have much chance of getting in a top school until I get some "post-grad" experience, huh? I'll try anyway

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