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Scheller Veterans Club and Emory Veterans Club gather for a networking event.
Scheller Veterans Club and Emory Veterans Club gather for a networking event.

Translating Military Experience into a Business Future: The Story of the Scheller Veterans Club

When Drew Borders was transitioning to civilian life after finishing his nine-year tenure as a U.S. Marine, he took advantage of his GI Bill benefits and enrolled in the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business Full-time MBA program. During the Fall 2014 Orientation, he met several students — Dan Murphy, Phil Mauro, Trevor Clark, and Corey O’ Brien — who also served in the military, and a friendship was formed among the men.

“We all connected over our shared experiences in the military. Dan and I realized we were in the Marines at the same time and he and Phil were in the Army at the same time. It’s a small world and even smaller when you get a tight-knit group of classmates,” said Borders. “The second year, we got together and spawned the idea to create a club for current and future veteran students at Scheller.”

With the help and guidance from Jim Kranzusch, Vietnam veteran and executive director of Scheller’s MBA Career Services at the time, the Veterans Club had its sponsor and was formed in 2016.

As the club picked up momentum,  Murphy continued to work on building camaraderie and strengthening relationships among fellow Scheller veterans. At the time, there was nothing in place for veterans to bond over their experiences of serving their country, and the Veterans Club was a catalyst for that shared connection.

Throughout the first year, friendships were strengthened as the club hosted several informal meetings where students saw a glimpse of what to expect in the workforce once they graduated. Borders recalls one event where Joseph Schager, a former U.S. Marine from the Class of 2015, came back and spoke to the group about his experience.

“He spoke to the differences of corporate America and the military and what translates and what’s more challenging to adjust to,” Borders said. This conversation led to the creation of an event to help those interested in attending the annual Veterans MBA Conference prepare for the opportunity.

Six years later, the Veterans Club is still fulfilling its original student-driven vision as a place where veterans can bond over their commonalities. Current president Jarrod Snell, who was a captain in the Army, is elevating the club by adding more professional development opportunities to help veteran students feel more comfortable transitioning from the military into a professional MBA setting.

“We’re bringing back veterans outings and have already organized a few happy hours, which are for building friendship and camaraderie,” Snell said. “But I want to bring in more professional development and networking opportunities. This month, we’re doing a joint networking event with Emory’s MBA Veterans Club, so we’ll be meeting Emory veterans and inviting alumni from both schools to attend.”

The club also plans to have a resume and interview prep session for veterans with Dave Deiters, executive director of the Jones MBA Career Center. This workshop is an opportunity for veterans to translate their military experience into a business setting.

“Many veterans have a lot of unique, maturing experiences,” Snell said. “But oftentimes, it’s hard to translate that directly into a business setting, so this prep will bridge the gap between their extensive amount of experience.”

When the Veterans Club was first formed, it was a way for members to create bonds with their fellow veterans. Now, it has transformed into a community growing together and making the most of their MBA experience, something the co-founders always hoped for the club.

Borders now lives in San Antonio and works as a senior manager in third-party relationship management for USAA. He is glad the Veterans Club exists as a platform and resource for students.

“I view the club as a group of veteran students helping other veteran students. That was the intent when it was formed back in 2015 and that spirit continues today.”

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