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B-Schools Recruit More Veterans

As federal aid piles up, B-schools are recruiting more vets

As a U.S. Army captain retiring after deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tom Pae feared he might have a hard time getting into a prestigious MBA program. When he started applying last year, though, the West Point graduate quickly discovered he had a coveted résumé as recruiters from top institutions encouraged him to consider their programs. In October he was accepted to Columbia Business School in New York, his “reach” school, and he expects to enroll there this fall. “There is a confidence issue when you’re in the military and applying to business school,” Pae says. “You figure you are up against a bunch of consultants and bankers and wonder, ‘How does my experience translate?’ ”

Pretty well, it turns out: Leading B-schools such as Wharton, Harvard, and the University of California at Berkeley have stepped up their recruiting of service members. The schools say veterans have a unique outlook on leadership and will help them diversify their student bodies. Vets “are people who have been in very high-stress situations,” says Deirdre Leopold, admissions director at Harvard Business School. “They bring a different perspective.”