Yale School of Management

Veterans Reflect on Lessons Learned in Military

MBA students who are military veterans shared their thoughts on the military and business worlds during a Veterans Day student panel hosted by the Yale School of Management Veterans Club on November 9.

Samantha Degnan ’18, U.S. Air Force

“One thing that I miss from the military is the fact that, every day and for every person, work is purpose- and mission-driven, and people approach things from a team perspective. They’re thinking about the impact that they can deliver as an aggregate group, and I think that’s a little bit hard to capture in corporate America, when you have more competitive, more individual types of silos. That’s something I appreciated a lot in the military—the way people are on the same page and working toward a shared goal.”

Andrew Dylag ’18, U.S. Navy

“The military support networks are outstanding. Yale SOM, itself, is extremely supportive. The Veterans Club here does a great job, and there are also larger organizations across the university doing a great job. There are a lot of companies that try to get veterans into employment positions, and there are head hunter-type organizations that directly target what we call ‘junior military officers,’ who are leaving [the military] around the time frame that most of us left. They’ll help you clean up your résumé and translate your experiences so they’re understandable to employers. They help find a place for you.”

Vaman Muppala ’18, U.S. Marine Corps

“The Marine Corps truly is as color blind as any institution can be in the world. Regardless of what the racial dynamic was between officers and enlisted marines, everybody respected each other and everybody loved each other. In all the units I’ve been in, there was never a single problem along those lines.”

Ryan Degnan ’18, U.S. Army

“One thing that I think is unique about the military specifically is the idea of servant-leadership and the fact that it was absolutely emphasized in every degree of training that I had as an officer. So at the end of the day whenever I sat down to do analysis, I remembered how my actions affected the lowest guy on the line, and kept him in mind as I made decisions.  And I think that’s a good thing to keep in mind in business, as well, because your decisions are going to affect a lot more than what you see in front of you. Having that kind of perspective, and taking a servant-leader approach, is really valuable.”

Vito Errico ’19, U.S. Army

“In any large-scale bureaucracy, whether we’re talking about the Army or whether we’re talking about JP Morgan, you can kind of get lost in the idea, ‘Are you a procedurally driven organization or are you a results output organization?’ And you can see that dichotomy come out very clearly during your time in the military. At least in my experience, when you’re in the garrison, things are very procedurally focused—did you do things the right way? I can imagine that that translates really well to the financial services industry. If you go about your day and do things the way you’re supposed to do them, you’re on the right track. But once you get sort of down-range, or to deployment, a lot of that procedure falls by the wayside, and management, or leadership, focuses far more on the output, the result and how things turn out. And that’s where you really get the cohesion and better results as an organization.”

About the Event

The Veterans Club hosts a panel of current students who have served in several branches of the armed services prior to coming to Yale SOM. In conjunction with the Ask Me Anything series, student veterans will share their perspective on service, the transition to business school, current veterans’ issues, and any audience questions in an open forum for discussion.

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