I will be separating from active duty service this February and plan to attend a full-time MBA program in the fall. However, this awkward gap of 5 months makes me feel like it isn't worth getting a serious job but also seems too long to sit idle. Finances are not a concern during this time period and I'm more interested in better understanding opportunities that will prepare me for school or help set me up for an internship or career after graduating. I plan to stay in the D.C. area during this time period.
I encourage you to reach out to your school’s SVA Chapter, assuming they have one, to get a schedule of what events/speakers they will be hosting.
Being able to gain a lay of the land, interact with fellow student veterans, some of whom may very well be taking the same MBA courses you will be taking, while also networking with industry professionals will all be valuable for your impending transition.
This suggestion may seem rather elementary but it will go a long way toward increasing your level of comfort once your first semester rolls around.
Bernard's response is excellent. I will add another thought.
Look for an intern opportunity with a business near your MBA school or near your current location. Finding a slot as an intern will allow you to experience the civilian work environment, will provide you opportunities to learn different skills, will provide value to the people who offer the internship, and will give you potential positive referrals in the future.
Check with local chambers of commerce or with your MBA school for help locating available internships.
I hope you're doing well and having a great weekend! First off, thank you for your service and posting your question to ACP AdvisorNet.
A few ideas that I have:
1) Have you checked out the D.o.D Skillsbridge or H.o.H Corporate Fellowship programs? Those two programs offer short-range internships which can provide you with some great experience in the corporate world (at top-tier organizations) prior to starting your MBA. More generally, I'd encourage you to look at internships as well, as they can provide you with some experience prior to your MBA.
2) Network! Utilize ACP AdvisorNet's Community Page to identify Advisors in the industry you'd like to work in and arrange informational interviews with them. Learn about the skill-sets needed for those careers, and how you measure up.
3) Reach out to those who have completed the MBA program you're planning on attending. Ask them what classes are more technically challenging, what professors are the most engaging, and what opportunities are available for students both during your semesters, and, in between.
4) Pick a skill - it doesn't have to be related to your professional development - and start working on it. Five months is a solid amount of time to start becoming proficient in whatever skill you're interested in picking up.
5) Don't forget to enjoy your down time - five months will go by pretty quickly, and graduate school is tough!
I hope these ideas are helpful, but please feel free to reach out if there's anything I can do.
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