I recently had the opportunity to attend the MBA Veteran’s Conference in Chicago, IL. As a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard, this was a great way for me to connect with fellow MBA service members. I was fortunate to meet students from the University of Texas-Dallas, Boston University, and other universities from around the United States. I even had the pleasure of meeting a couple of students studying here that were once leaders in foreign militaries. It made for a diverse population and a great networking opportunity.
The two-day conference was well planned and coordinated. It began with a showcase in which industry representatives were able to speak in front of the entire audience and explain what their company did and why it was important, as well as the opportunities they had available. This was extremely helpful as there were some companies that I did not know even existed but are a regular part of my everyday life. There were multiple opportunities to meet with company representatives to ask questions about the roles and responsibilities available, and get a sense of fit in the positions.
The second day was filled with interviews and additional networking opportunities. There were panels to learn about different sectors that we might not have been familiar with, including banking, Leadership Development Programs, and many more. These opportunities are designed to educate veterans who have been in the military their whole lives and are beginning the process of a civilian job search. However, for someone who has been able to continue working in the civilian sector while serving in the National Guard, I still learned some things that helped me further develop my personal career interests. The conference ended with a career fair allowing us to casually search for additional opportunities, or network with a company representative we weren’t able to see earlier in the conference.
One of the things that I most enjoyed was the camaraderie that was present before, during, and after the conference. MBA Veterans from UW-Madison made plans to ride to the event together. We checked on each other to make sure we were all there and doing well. Throughout the conference we checked to see how networking was going, what companies we had chatted with, and how we could help one another connect with the right people. Afterwards, we reconnected to talk about our experiences, what we enjoyed, and how we could make it an even better experience for the next veterans to come here.
It is an honor and a privilege to be at UW-Madison, and I look forward to other opportunities to be with the MBA Veterans.