New USFSP Program Assists Veterans To Get MBAs

The University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) College of Business is making it easier for veterans to pursue a masters degree in business administration. A new program, funded by a grant from the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) facilitates the admissions testing process and helps veterans with the transition back to school.

USFSP is one of 12 organizations around the world awarded funds as part of GMAC's "Ideas to Innovation Challenge,'' in which institutions were asked to develop programs to create social responsibility and service learning opportunities for military veterans. Corporate social responsibility is already a major focus for the USFSP College of Business, and with the large concentration of veterans locally, the opportunity was a perfect fit.

The $409,000 awarded will fund a GMAT preparation course for veterans, scholarships for an MBA essentials course to help them become re-acclimated to a business environment, a seminar on the challenges of returning to college and faculty training on supporting veteran students.

The college also created a course in social enterprise/entrepreneurship, where MBA students work in a group to develop and maintain a business plan for a nonprofit organization.

"One thing veterans tend to do when they return from the military is get involved in a nonprofit helping other veterans,'' says Alison Watkins, associate dean for graduate, professional and executive education at the USFSP College of Business. The course is designed to hone their skills so they can pursue a nonprofit civilian career upon graduation.

Tampa resident Eric Jacobosky is excited about the new program. After entering the military straight out of high school and serving in Bahrain and Kuwait, he returned to Tampa in 2003 to pursue his education. He graduated last December from USF Tampa with a BS in business management. Now 34, Eric works in security at Tampa General Hospital, which is funding part of his graduate education. He plans to enter the MBA program at USFSP in August and graduate after 12 months.

Jacobosky was attracted to the program after reading about USFSP's ranking by the Aspen Institute for its programs in corporate and social responsibility. He thinks the program will make him more competitive in a corporate environment, giving him business knowledge to compliment his military leadership experience.

Watkins agrees. "Once graduating from the program [veterans] will have a good understanding of both corporate and military environments,'' she says. 

"I'm really happy they're offering this program. It seems like a lot of veterans graduate from college and say, 'What now?' They don’t know where to go. This gives us more opportunities and a chance to excel,'' says Jacobosky.

After graduating, Jacobosky plans to stay in Tampa Bay and work for the federal government. "I love Tampa Bay, I'm never going to leave here,'' says Jacobosky. "I left here for the Marines, and I'm never leaving again. We have everything. There's no reason to leave.''

More information can be found by attending an open house on June 2, which will include a special session at the end for veterans, or by contacting the MBA program.

Megan Hendricks is a Florida native and longtime Tampa Bay resident who loves the culture and diversity of the region. In her free time she enjoys local restaurants, thrift store shopping and spending time with her family. She earned her masters of business administration from USF Tampa. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.
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A Florida native and longtime Tampa Bay resident, Megan Hendricks graduated from the University of South Florida with a master's degree in business administration. She worked at the USF College of Business and has extensive community experience including the Tampa Bay Partnership's Talent Dividend Advisory Board, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Emerge Tampa Bay, Ekhos, and Bar Camp Tampa. She is a former board member and newsletter editor for Creative Tampa Bay. Megan enjoys telling the stories that make Tampa Bay a unique, diverse cultural experience.