Navigating Business School as an Active Military Service Member
by LT Matthew Arnold, E&W 2019
When I started the Kellogg Evening & Weekend program in the fall of 2016, I was concerned about my ability to succeed in an environment that was vastly different from my previous experiences. Less than a year prior, I had returned from a worldwide deployment on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier during Operation Inherent Resolve. I had spent the previous three years planning strait transits, medical evacuations and logistics flights. I had never seen a financial statement and was the only one in my cohort who had yet to create a LinkedIn profile. Any service member knows you are only as good as the weakest member of your team, and I was anxious that I wouldn’t fit in among the best and brightest of the Chicago business community.
Over the past two years I have seen firsthand why Kellogg has a strong reputation among the active duty and veteran military community. While many business schools say they want to recruit veterans, Kellogg is different. It is not merely a school with a large military presence; it is a school that expertly leverages our unique backgrounds to add value to our courses and the Kellogg community at large. Last Veteran’s Day, Dean Blount discussed the pride she feels to know that Kellogg has had a key impact on helping so many veteran leaders excel in the corporate world. Similarly, the powerful veterans’ alumni network is a testament to the profound influence Kellogg has had on its former students.
Unlike many of my classmates, I will not be looking for a new job when I graduate. I will accept orders to a new assignment within the Navy and serve out the remainder of my commitment. While I will miss taking classes at Wieboldt Hall with my cohort, I am excited to re-enter the fleet with a newfound perspective on leadership. I will be going back to a Navy that is facing a set of challenges much different from those I dealt with in 2015. It is important that our military leadership can think critically and solve complex problems in today’s quickly changing national security environment. The lessons I have learned as a member of the Kellogg student body will no doubt serve me well as I continue my career as a military professional. I am incredibly grateful to Kellogg for the opportunity to learn from a faculty that pushed me to challenge my preconceptions and have helped me to grow personally and professionally over the past two years.