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Enlisted veteran to top tier business schools


JD Goins Philadelphia, PA

Hello everyone,

Over the past week, I have been thinking about going to business school after earning my undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. The only thing I am not aware of is enlisted veterans gaining admission to top tier business schools.

About me: I served for eight years on active duty, two duty stations, two deployments, and one mission to Asia.

I would appreciate any input you can provide.

Best Regards,
James "JD" Goins

13 April 2019 8 replies Education & Training



Kyle Lautzenhiser Lillington, NC


I just got linked into MBA Veterans; they are having a conference in Chicago around October time-frame. If you manage to get accepted into a program I would check them out. I agree with Mr. Kidd, I targeted a top MBA business school here in North Carolina and was surprised how in demand we are; regardless of status within the Armed Forces, whether it be Officer or Enlisted. Go for it!


Thomas Kidd Dallas, TX

As competitive as the MBA market has become, you'll likely be among the top candidates at whichever programs you choose to apply to. I worked in the admissions office of a large university while pursuing my MBA, with the specific focus of helping the full-time staff better target military candidates for their MBA programs. One of the interesting nuances I ran into was the fact that most civilians in the recruiting space don't put as large a premium on officer v. enlisted when determining program fit.

I went so far as to ask if it mattered in their eyes. Their response was that they value military experience as a whole, and somewhat assume if you served a few years then you have more leadership experience than a majority of other candidates, setting you apart.

I'll advise you to apply to programs that you don't think you're qualified for - you'll be surprised how sought after you really are. I made the mistake of shortchanging myself due to my status as enlisted, and likely missed out on opportunities.



JD Goins Philadelphia, PA

Evening Louis and Joshuah,

Thank you for your responses!

Louis, I will look more into the testing for business school.

Joshuah, I attended the Warrior-Scholar Project in 2017. It greatly prepared me to handle a rigorous course load.

Thanks again!


Joshuah Chrisman New York, NY

Hi jD, also look at Warrior Scholars Project. They are a nonprofit that helps enlisted vets get into top tier schools. They should be able to walk you through the process. Good Luck!


Louis Schwarz Somerville, NJ

Hi JD. Thanks for your service.
If you take the GMAT or GRE, take the prep courses and the prep tests, as many times as needed to make you feel comfortable with the test. You want to represent your self as strong as possible on these tests. That is the only picture of you they will have.
Some banks have internship you could get into and they will hire you after your MBA. Go for this opportunity now, do not put off. Business is exploding and the need for domestic and international business professionals will be hot for the next several years. By the way, all the easy jobs are taken, the only ones left are the challenging ones.
Have fun!!


JD Goins Philadelphia, PA


James and John, thank you for your responses!

John, I have never heard of the CGSM. I will look into it, and contact people involved in the program. By any chance do you know of any enlisted soldiers who got into Stanford? I have found online they have one of the best entrepreneurship curriculums.

James Goins


John Ervin


You will be one of the top MBA candidates with an undergrad degree from Penn and worldly experience that very few people have. Your leadership skills, technical skills and critical thinking skills as an enlisted soldier are the best in the world! Below is a 100% paid MBA program you should be looking at. It’s an amazing program to get your MBA. CGSM

John Ervin
South Jersey


James Watters Norman, OK

Mr Goins - Of course you need to contact the business school of your choice and obtain their requirements for entry. Stress your military background and undergraduate degree. Graduate schools typically require an entry exam. Many schools are accepting both the GRE and GMAT exams now. MBA programs, including those at Harvard, MIT, Instituto de Empresa, and CEIBS, accept the GRE test for admission, in place of the GMAT. Similarly, many Master's programmes are accepting GMAT scores in place of the GRE.
GRE or GMAT? Which test does the University of Pennsylvania require?

Best of luck and thank you for your service.

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