For Third Consecutive Year, UConn School of Business Ranks Among Nation’s Top Programs for Veterans
The UConn School of Business is among the “Best for Veterans—Business Schools 2016,” according to a report released Feb. 8 by Military Times.
This is the third consecutive year that the program has received the prestigious recognition. UConn ranked No. 48 nationally, up from No. 54 in 2015. As of last fall, the business school had 56 military veterans enrolled in its programs, part of a 900-member veteran student body. More than 300 UConn faculty and staff are also veterans.
Military experts at UConn credit a strong veteran support team, partnerships with veteran-friendly employers, and the School of Business’ pro-active role in leading a national conversation on veteran workplace reintegration, among the factors contributing to the recognition.
“This is an incredible honor for the School of Business and all who work to serve our veterans,” said Michael Zacchea, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and director of the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for disabled Veterans (EBV), which provides programming and support to veterans seeking to start their own businesses.
“During the last year UConn has been instrumental in starting a national conversation about veteran workplace reintegration,” Zacchea said. “The movement is starting to snowball.”
In the past year, Zacchea has testified twice before the U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee about the EBV program and veteran entrepreneurship, and the School of Business also hosted U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, for a roundtable discussion on the same topic.
The most recent EBV class, which graduated in October, has already launched 11 businesses, with $2 million in revenue. One of the graduates has landed a contract to build a new U.S. embassy in Africa. UConn alumni have also spearheaded projects including: plans to form a Coast Guard museum, a Vets Rock career fair and fundraiser, and a veterans’ hotline that serves 1 million veterans in New York with a variety of needs from housing to employment to medical care.
Kristopher Perry, director of the Office of Veteran Affairs and Military Programs at UConn, said his office partnered with the School of Business three years ago to create the Military and Veterans Support Coalition (MVSC) a 90-member group of pro-veteran employers who meet to discuss recruiting and hiring needs. That partnership has made it easier for veteran graduates to find employment.
Finding a great job after graduation is very much on the mind of U.S. Army veteran Brad Goodman, an MBA student in the class of 2017. Goodman, a native of Stamford, Conn., said he is pleased to be able to pursue his degree, free of charge, while remaining in close proximity to family and friends.
Goodman is planning a career in project management, either as a consultant or in the healthcare field. As part of his veteran benefits, the business school paid for him to attend an annual veterans’ conference, which enabled him to network with representatives from Fortune 500 companies that are eager to hire veterans.
He also credited the Veteran’s Office with helping him secure his GI funding and making the process easy for him. “The tuition waiver makes it very stress free for me. I can concentrate on studying and not on how to pay for my courses,” he said.
The State of Connecticut offers a tuition waiver for qualified veterans – seeking degrees ranging from a bachelors to a doctorate, Perry said. “This is one of the things that makes UConn a great place overall,” he added.
In August, the UConn Board of Trustees extended in-state tuition to qualifying veterans and their dependents, allowing a more generous tuition benefit than required by law. Veterans who use their service-related tuition benefits to attend UConn, or send their dependents, will no longer face a three-year deadline to enroll with an in-state rate.
Perry said one of the key indicators that the Military Times looks for is the amount of resources that a college dedicates to student veterans. At UConn, four full-time staff, two student employees, and 10 Veterans Administration work-study students help veterans with any issues they may face.
“We are closely tied to the business school and its graduate programs, recruiting and supporting veterans who wish to further their education,” he said.
Military Times is an independent publication featuring military news and benefits information for troops, spouses and veterans.