Veterans at Fisher find smooth transition from military to business world

Some aspects of Fisher’s Leadership and Professional Development program are familiar terrain for some students in the MBA program. That is what two military veterans said about making the transition from the armed forces to management education.

“Leadership training is a significant part of our background,” said Greg Goins, a second-year MBA candidate about his career in the U.S. Navy. “We are able to exploit that background and play on the skills that the military taught us and use it in the business world.”

Carly Dendinger, also a second-year MBA candidate and former Air Force Captain, agreed. In fact, she feels that in some ways military veterans have an edge over their civilian counterparts in the MBA program. “The discipline we acquired in the military translates fairly well into this environment and helps in how we approach completing tasks and assignments.”

“We were given a lot of responsibility and leadership roles at a young age,” said Dendinger, who served as an officer in the Air Force. “Many of our peers have not yet had those opportunities.” They also said operations in the military share many of the same leadership and management principles.

Those leadership skills and knowledge acquired by military officers are a perfect complement to the MBA experience at Fisher, according to David Smith, executive director of the Graduate Programs Office.

The office actively recruits military veterans, with the help of a graduate assistant dedicated to reaching out to the service branches. Fisher also offers scholarships and fellowships specifically for veterans, including the Evelyn Michael MBA Fellowship, established by Timothy and Melinda Michael. A former Naval officer, Tim Michael, a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council who received his MBA from the college in 1976, established the fellowship in honor of his mother.

While many of Goins and Dendinger skills have transferred effectively to their work in the program, the two still face some unique transitional challenges. So last year, they helped form the Fisher MBA Veterans Association. Initially established as a networking and support group for students who are veterans, the association also organized around a mission of public service.

The association is currently sponsoring a holiday donation drive to raise funds to send gift packages to the men and women serving in Iraq. For more information about the holiday drive, contact Greg Goins at