Career Advice: Preparing for military retirement

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five2one
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Career Advice: Preparing for military retirement

Post by five2one » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:28 am

Currently planning for my post military career after retirement and need some advice.

I'll be mid-to late 40s upon retirement and while I do have a master's, I'm considering getting a 2nd in MBA.
My undergrad is a BA, History (VMI) and Masters is BS, Admin from Central Michigan Univ.

While my accounting, finance, etc. skills are admittedly weak, I did well in my Masters (3.8) with my capstone project being a business feasibility study for auto repair/service shop in major city so I understand basic business terms and can read a 10-k but I understand CMU isn't exactly a highly ranked school....I was a little busy with other things so I had to do the online route.

I'm considering KU's MBA program as I can do it online and the debt to income ratio looks favorable.
Fortunately, my Master's GPA gets the GMAT waived but can only transfer two classes from other Master's
Most of it would be paid with remainder of GI bill with some out of pocket.

While I'm not yet sure what field I'm interested in pursuing, I have a few years to prepare so the MBA interest is largely driven by desire to be competitive as my military specialty is field artillery which doesn't translate to civilian life. I may go into govt service post-mil but don't want to limit my options and am attracted to private sector for change of scenery, sense of normalcy, and potential income to be honest. I also intend to pursue PMP and Lean-Six to round out my credentials, recognizing my resume will omit various details as it is tailored for each employer.

Recognizing my age at retirement and background, I understand certain fields are not the best such as finance as I won't be competitive with rest of field...or so I have been told. Looking in from the outside and with a little reflection, I'm still attracted to operations and being able to look at tangible results at the end of the day rather than sitting in basement staring at excel but not sure which industry fits my personality the best; I do play well with others and clean up nice.

If it helps, I would retire as LTC with more than a few tax payer "field trips" and have no intensions of slowing down post-mil as I'm in great health, still rise before the sun, and have plenty of energy. My military experience spans everything from local to strategic in variety of roles including high intensity military operations (tanks, planes, etc.), peacekeeping ops (think Bosnia, homeland defense), working with foreign militaries, to working with US & foreign governments on stability side (think 3 letter agencies, State, USAID, etc.), and some work with businesses seeking access (contracting, foreign military sales, supervising contracts, etc.).

Like most professionals, I commit to the organization, people, and customer not the clock. Travel doesn't bother me but don't want to do it more than a couple years post-mil to "pay my dues on the org ladder" and don't mind a little overseas travel but family stays in US and I refuse to re-enter active combat zones.

So what say ye? Am I headed down the right path or go back to start?

Thanks

TexMexIndex
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Re: Career Advice: Preparing for military retirement

Post by TexMexIndex » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:50 am

What do you hope to get from the MBA? A network and job offer from contacts in that system?

Military folks are trained to lead and manage, sounds like the hard part would just be finding a place in the civilian world that lets you
do that at a higher level as your subject matter expertise isn't as transferrable.

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Pajamas
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Re: Career Advice: Preparing for military retirement

Post by Pajamas » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:33 am

Masters is BS, Admin from Central Michigan Univ.
I'm not 100% certain of what you mean by that. Is this a graduate degree in business? I can't figure out exactly what it is from looking at CMU's website.

https://www.cmich.edu/colleges/cgs/prog ... fault.aspx

Anyway, assuming that you have a master's degree in business already, I don't see how getting a second generic master's in business from KU will help you much.

What do you want to actually do? It might be better to focus on that before focusing on what areas you might be most competitive in for your second career. That would probably lead to greater satisfaction and success would be more likely to follow.

If your accounting and finance skills are weak you might even be better off getting an undergraduate degree in accounting and becoming a CPA or something similar that would demonstrate an additional useful skill.

Boglegrappler
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Re: Career Advice: Preparing for military retirement

Post by Boglegrappler » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:46 am

I'm not sure your MBA plan is that useful to you.

If I were you, I would do everything possible to generate a "network" that comprised military retirees of similar age and rank who made the transition. I have no idea of how you'd do this. But you need their guidance because the road you're about to embark on is not as easy or clear as it ought to be.

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Rick Ferri
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Re: Career Advice: Preparing for military retirement

Post by Rick Ferri » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:00 am

You need professional advice. Seek out the very best military career transition experts you can find and ask them for help. Find out exactly what recruiters are looking for. Pay whatever fee for this advice is necessary.

Rick Ferri
USMC retired
The Education of an Index Investor: born in darkness, finds indexing enlightenment, overcomplicates everything, embraces simplicity.

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corn18
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Re: Career Advice: Preparing for military retirement

Post by corn18 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:54 am

If you are well connected with the user community, Pentagon, acquisition commands or logistics commands, you are incredibly valuable as a recent retiree and warfighter. Business Development is the easiest to transition to if you have a good rolodex. If you have a current TS/SCI with a poly, you can pretty much pick a job anywhere and get paid $150k+.

And your arty skills are very transferable. I retired in 2008 and went to work for a mega corp defense contractor in BD. My partner in crime was a retired field artillery officer who was very well connected with the Picatinny crowd. We won a lot of business together.

Do you know anyone in industry already? Helps immensely to have a network inside and outside.

tony g
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Re: Career Advice: Preparing for military retirement

Post by tony g » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:35 pm

My daughter used to work for these folks ... placed a lot of vets
https://www.bradley-morris.com/

Tony

totallystudly
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Re: Career Advice: Preparing for military retirement

Post by totallystudly » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:51 pm

There are several placement firms out there that specialize in transitioning military. They have conferences regularly around the country. You should talk with them first.

AlwaysWannaLearn
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Re: Career Advice: Preparing for military retirement

Post by AlwaysWannaLearn » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:32 pm

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Last edited by AlwaysWannaLearn on Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

megabad
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Re: Career Advice: Preparing for military retirement

Post by megabad » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:12 pm

Thank you for your service.

Agree with the advice to pursue any available military resources regarding career analysis. Also agree that you will have a leg up in both civilian government jobs and with defense contractors as suggested above.

I would decide what your desired field might be before going back to school. I am not sure if an MBA will translate into a desired career for you or not. A technical field might lead you to finding a higher paying job easier if that is your primary goal, but I am not sure that interests you.

One of my closest friends retired from the Navy and went into technical sales (industrial equipment and controls) about which he admittedly knew very little. He is now very successful to the tune of paying cash for a Tesla Model S with one commission check as he proudly told me after a conversation about Dave Ramsey. The world is your oyster.

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Nords
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Re: Career Advice: Preparing for military retirement

Post by Nords » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:39 pm

five2one wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:28 am
Currently planning for my post military career after retirement and need some advice.

While I'm not yet sure what field I'm interested in pursuing, I have a few years to prepare so the MBA interest is largely driven by desire to be competitive as my military specialty is field artillery which doesn't translate to civilian life. I may go into govt service post-mil but don't want to limit my options and am attracted to private sector for change of scenery, sense of normalcy, and potential income to be honest. I also intend to pursue PMP and Lean-Six to round out my credentials, recognizing my resume will omit various details as it is tailored for each employer.

So what say ye? Am I headed down the right path or go back to start?
Five2One, I see these questions all the time on Linkedin. Like many of those others, you're all over the map. This is typical vet behavior to "get qualified" for the next billet.

Before you work on the job search, you'll want to narrow down the career fields which interest you and then decide which degrees or certifications are worth pursuing. Even if they seem worth pursuing now, it might not be necessary if your employer wants to pay you to acquire them after you're hired.

Here's some specific advice, if you're not already doing it:
1. Join Linkedin's Veteran Mentor Network group (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4466143) and start reading the posts there. You'll see a lot of the issues you're considering. Tom Cal is the group founder and a very connected informal coach.

2. Read a library copy of the "The 2-Hour Job Search" and consider its exercises. Know that it's not the resume or the applications but rather the networking.

3. Consider joining https://www.veteranmentornetwork.org/ and working through their "canvas" steps.
Rick Ferri wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:00 am
You need professional advice. Seek out the very best military career transition experts you can find and ask them for help. Find out exactly what recruiters are looking for. Pay whatever fee for this advice is necessary.
As Rick recommends, you're already going to attend TAP. (Spouses are also strongly recommended to attend this with you.) Devote a little extra time & money to a Ruehlin seminar or MOAA's "Marketing Yourself" program. By the end of that you'll be in a better position to decide whether you want to consult with Lee Cohen at Lucas Group, or Brian Henry at Orion, or Bradley-Morris.
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