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I want to be a doctor. Should I do ROTC in undergrad or med school?
Q. I want to be a doctor. Should I do ROTC in undergrad or med school?If i do ROTC as an undergrad, I would have to do service for 3 years before entering med school. If I do ROTC in med school, then I can finish school before I’m 30 and even work for the military as a doctor. But I don’t know if I will get into med school because it’s still far away. What is wiser?A. If you want to be in the military, doctor or not, then do college ROTC or get into a military academy. If you want the military to pay for your medical education, then apply for the scholarship once accepted or apply to the Uniformed Services Medical School. Do not prolong your military commitment beyond required. This makes most financial sense.ROTC undergrad and/or medical schoolHealth Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS)Military Match, Residency and CareerUnofficial ExplanationHow the Military Match works as of 2014MILITARY VS CIVILIAN RESIDENCY FOR HPSP STUDENTSSo You Want a Civilian DeferralFighting For Life - Uplifting Documentary about USUHSI was in the Army Medical Corps Reserve for eight years. (Became naturalized during medical school, wanted to serve but not active duty). Did not have much loan from college or medical school.Do read Michael O'Brien’s terrific post about the four different paths.Colleges have ROTC programs that you can enroll as freshman and sophomore. You do not commit until your junior year, when you get commissioned, undergo Officer Training and get a scholarship.The challenge is getting into medical school. Do you want to go into the military if you fail? The Uniformed Service Military Medical School is a great option, but admission is competitive. Once in the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) or Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), you will have to apply for the military match when you graduate. The military (esp. Navy) needs General Medical Officers, who get only one year of residency training. It is competitive to gain a coveted military specialty residency position. If you did not match in the military match, you must get permission to enter the civilian match. Time in a civilian residency program (Individual Ready Reserve) counts toward your promotion, service longevity and retirement, but not your service commitment. So your career options may be limited.You need to explore whether a military medical career is right for you. While the salary is lower, you do get to retire at a relatively young age (20 years of service) with pension and benefits. We regularly have military physicians moonlight in our department. They enjoy the lifestyle and public service, they do mind the bureaucracy, even coming from high ranking officers and medical chiefs of staff. (Talk to a recruiter, get a mentor).Medicine + The MilitaryRESIDENCY + MATCH DAYHealth Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) students have the same chances of getting their residency of choice as civilian students, and the Military will never dictate which specialty you choose. In general, the more competitive you are as a student, and the more programs you apply to, the better your chances of matching. The availability of residency slots, however, depends on the Military's need at that particular time and how competitive the residency is overall.Students who do not receive their first specialty choice may elect to take a transitional year internship and reapply for their first specialty choice in the following years. Unlike students in the civilian match, HPSP and USUHS students will receive internship training.If you have a specialty in mind and are wondering about the chances of getting the residency of your choice, contact a recruiter.ROTATIONSDuring your rotations, you will need to start thinking about where you would like to do your residency. You will need to choose your rotations wisely and think of them as auditions. HPSP students should perform at least one rotation at a military medical facility where they think they may want to do their residency, while USUHS students will perform all of their rotations at military medical facilities.MILITARY RESIDENCIESThe process of matching to a residency is slightly different for military medical students than it is for civilian students. HPSP and USUHS students must apply to both the military Joint Service Graduate Medical Education Selection Board (JSGMESB) and the civilian Electronic Residency Application Service, and they must rank their residencies by preference. Keep in mind that all military residency programs are approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.The military match takes place first, and students are most likely to be matched at that time.Originally built as an oil tanker, the USNS Comfort was converted into a vast hospital ship by the US Navy in 1987. One of two in the Navy .Aircraft carrier size USNS MercyThe military match takes place first, in December of the fourth year of medical school, and students are most likely to be matched at that time. If you do not match into a military residency or Post Graduate Year 1 program, you will be authorized to participate in the civilian match.If you are selected for a military residency, you will start working at a military health care facility as an active-duty physician, and you will be paid as a captain in the Army and the Air Force, or as a lieutenant in the Navy. Keep in mind that your time in residency will not count toward your service commitment, but it will count toward your eventual promotion, pay longevity and retirement.CIVILIAN RESIDENCY OPTIONSThe Military may allow you to attend a civilian residency if there are not enough military slots available in the specialty you want and the Military still has a need for physicians in that specialty. Even if you believe you will be allowed to participate in a civilian residency, you must apply to the JSGMESB and enter a civilian deferred residency as your first choice. You should plan on interviewing for military residencies just in case you are not selected for civilian training.If you do become a civilian resident, you will work at a civilian health care facility and the civilian facility will pay your salary. During your residency, you will still be an officer in the Individual Ready Reserve, which means your time in the civilian program will count toward promotion and pay longevity. As soon as you are finished with your residency and come on Active Duty, you must begin paying back your service commitment, and you will start receiving military benefits.IF YOU DO NOT MATCHIf you do not match into the military or civilian residency of your choice, you will still have options. In some cases, you could switch to a military residency in another field if a slot is available. Otherwise, you should plan on doing a one-year civilian or military internship. After the internship, you will be able to get your license to practice medicine. Then you can either reapply for a residency, or you can serve as a General Medical Officer (GMO).GENERAL MEDICAL OFFICERS (NAVY AND AIR FORCE ONLY)The position of GMO offers a wealth of opportunity. GMOs provide primary-care medicine to active-duty personnel, which means you will get military-specific medical training. GMOs serve as Flight Surgeons and Undersea Medical Officers, and they may be attached to a specific air wing, ship or submarine. Also, time served as a GMO fulfills your active-duty service obligation for participation in a medical scholarship program.GMOs provide primary-care medicine to active-duty personnel, which means you will get military-specific medical training.Since the number of military residency slots can fluctuate from year to year, you may need to serve as a GMO before you can participate in the residency of your choice. When your GMO term ends, you can reapply for your residency, or you can continue to serve as a GMO until you complete your full service commitment. Also, service as a GMO may give you an edge if you are applying to a competitive residency.Unofficial Explanation THE JSGME (MILITARY) MATCHHow the Military Match works as of 2014As a graduating medical student on a military scholarship, I get a lot of questions about how military scholarships and the military match work. I plan to write another post in the near future that explains how the military scholarships work in general, but since it’s match season, let’s talk about the military match process first.I’m going to assume that you don’t know a whole lot about the military match and explain it from square one, so please forgive me if I’m saying a lot of stuff that you already know. I figured better to explain too much than too little! I am coming from an Air Force background, so I know more of the details of the Air Force system than the Army or Navy. If something is specific to the Air Force, I will indicate that.We will start with some terms:NRMP: The civilian National Residency Matching Program (aka the “main match” and the SOAP or scramble), which matches students into positions at the civilian residency programsERAS: The Electronic Residency Application Service, the civilian residency application used by all programs. Think of this like the AMCAS service that you used to apply to medical schools. The difference between AMCAS and ERAS is that there is no “secondary” application in ERAS. Remember those 5 pages of essays that you had to write for every single school that you applied to? Not this time!JSGME: Joint Services Graduate Medical Education. This division runs the military match, and the military residency application is submitted to them. Think of JSGME as the military equivalent of NRMP. Each service also has its own office responsible for the match.MODS: This is the military equivalent of ERAS, where you submit your application electronically. As of 2014, all three branches which have residencies (Army, Navy, and Air Force) are using MODS. In September, you submit your application and rank list (the list of which specialties and programs you are interested in, in order of preference) into MODS.HPERB (Air Force): The list of how many residency training slots will be available in each specialty and location that year. This is released by the Air Force Physician Education Branch in June each year. A similar list is released by the other services around the same time.Civilian deferral/deferred: This refers to a resident on a military scholarship who has been granted permission to train in a civilian program. In deferred status, you remain an inactive reservist. You collect no military pay or benefits (though you still have an ID card and can use the commissary, etc) and you have no military obligations until you complete residency. Training in this status does not increase your military commitment after residency graduation compared to training in a military program. However, you will be paid less than a military resident (usually starting around $50k/yr for a civilian vs $70k/yr for a resident in a military program). The number of military training slots in a particular specialty tends to be pretty stable from year to year, but the number of civilian deferrals varies greatly. This means that one year it may be very easy to get a civilian deferral, and the next year it might be nearly impossible.Civilian sponsored: I haven’t seen too many of these appear recently, but this status is a hybrid between an active duty residency and a civilian deferral. You train in a civilian program, but you are on active duty and collect full military pay and benefits. As with civilian deferral, you have no military commitments during your residency. Training in this status accrues an additional year of active duty “pay-back time” after residency per year of training. For example, if you receive a four-year scholarship and complete a 4-year residency in a civilian sponsored status, you will owe 8 years on active duty after you complete your residency.Let’s assume that, in a given year, there are 9 military training slots and 3 civilian deferrals in your specialty of interest. So that makes 12 total people who will train in that specialty. The board, which is made up of all of the military program directors in that specialty, sits down at a big table and looks at all of the candidates. First, they decide which 12 are going to train in that specialty. Then they look at who wants to go where. Who gets what they want depends on whether your top choice program wants you, and whether you have extenuating circumstances such as a spouse in residency in a certain area, family in a certain area, etc.So how do you get the spot that you want, whether that is in a military program or a civilian deferral? There are two basic things that you need to do. The first is that you need to be selected to train in your specialty of choice, period. To do this, you need to pass Step 1 and Step 2, obviously, but what really matters to the board is whether they want to work with you. They don’t really care about your actual Step 1 or Step 2 CK scores, or your grades. To prove that they want to work with you, you have to do military away rotations and perform well. You are required to do one military away rotation as a condition of your scholarship, but it’s a good idea to “save” your active duty tour from your third year so you can do two military away rotations (if your specialty of choice has at least two military programs in your branch of service). Interview at some of the others in person if you can. In a specialty like OB/GYN where there are only a few programs, it is a good idea to at least telephone interview everywhere. If your specialty of choice has 15 programs, you may not need to interview everywhereEither way, you want as many people at that table rooting for you as possible.Then it comes down to two things: whether the program that you want, wants you, and whether you have a convincing reason why you need a particular location, or a deferral. When you submit your military rank list, if you rank civilian deferral first, you have to give an explanation for why (family, etc) as part of your personal statement. If you rank it second or lower, you don’t have to explain your choice, but if you have a good reason for it, it would be wise to explain that to the military program directors during your interviews.It is important to be aware of another idiosyncrasy of the military match. The Army and the Air Force match people to a full residency, PGY-1 (intern) through graduation. The Navy initially matches everyone to a PGY-1 (intern) year only, and you must re-apply to continue in training. The majority of interns are, instead, sent out to the fleet to serve as general medical officers (GMOs) (primary care doctors) for a few years between their intern year and their PGY-2 year. I will talk about this in more detail in another post.Is that all clear as mud? Please feel free to post your questions and I will answer them as best I can. Also keep an eye out for the other posts in this series – I will be writing about how military scholarships work while you are in school, how to apply for military scholarships, and ways to decide if a military scholarship is the right choice for you. Thanks for reading!MILITARY VS CIVILIAN RESIDENCY FOR HPSP STUDENTSA reader recently asked me a question about choosing residencies. Specifically, he wanted to know about the reasons why I chose to request civilian deferral for residency. I have also received several questions about the actual process of applying for a civilian deferral and going through the military and civilian match, and I wrote a post on that subject here.For the purposes of this post, I will be using a hypothetical resident who is completing a four-year residency and who has a four-year active duty service commitment, such as someone who received a four-year HPSP scholarship.If you aren’t sure whether you want a civilian deferral, there are several things to considerMoneyCareer plans after your minimum active duty commitmentSpecialty choiceFamily considerationsFirst, let’s talk money. If you enter a civilian residency, as of 2015, you can expect to make about $50-55k/year. As a new O-3 (new medical school graduate) in a military residency, your total compensation is closer to $70-75k/year. In other words, you will make about $20k less per year in a civilian residency than you will in a military residency. You also pay more for your family’s medical care (and for child care) as a civilian than if you are in the military, making the effective pay difference bigger if you have a family.Then there is the money you will make during your active duty service commitment. If you complete a military residency, you will accrue years of service. This means that you will make more money per year during your active duty service commitment (4 years for most HPSP students) if you complete a military residency than if you complete a civilian residency. If you complete a 4-year residency, that means you will make $1,300 more per month in the beginning of your active duty commitment if you complete a military residency.These years of service also qualify you for promotion during your active duty service commitment which would be otherwise unavailable to you, and promotions also come with a pay raise.The combination of additional years of service for pay, and a promotion to major, means that a resident on a 4-year scholarship who has completed a 4-year residency will make about $50k more during their 4 years of active duty service if they complete a military residency.Overall, this means that, for a resident completing a 4-year residency and with a 4-year active duty commitment, the choice to do a civilian deferred residency will cost you about $130k over those eight years. Keep that number in mind as you read the rest of this post.Next, it’s important to consider your career plans after your initial active duty service commitment. Those lost years of service will continue to hurt your paycheck as long as you stay in the military. If you plan to stay in until you reach retirement, that lost pay will continue to sting to the tune of $1k per monthuntil you retire. Ouch.If, on the other hand, you plan to leave the military at the end of your active duty commitment, it may be helpful to complete your residency in a civilian program. Why?To get experience working in a civilian hospital. Civilian hospitals work differently than military hospitals in terms of staffing, reimbursement, charting, and some other aspects of patient care.To build relationships and connections with civilians who you might want to work for in the future. If, for example, you know that you want to work in northern California after you leave the military, it may be helpful to do a residency in that area. That way, when you are getting ready to find a civilian job, you will have local connections who can vouch for you.To see patients and pathologies that you may not see in a military program. Depending on your specialty, your patient population may be very different in the military than it will be in civilian practice. In my field (OB/GYN), for example, I found that certain diseases were much more common in the patients I saw at the civilian hospitals than in the military patients. In the civilian hospital where I am currently completing my residency, I regularly have patients roll into labor and delivery on an ambulance stretcher, screaming, with no prenatal care and a history of heavy cocaine use throughout pregnancy. That doesn’t really happen in the military programs. Since I am planning to spend most of my career in the civilian world, I wanted to gain practice and experience treating these patients for when I come across them as an attending.Specialty choice also matters. Pediatrics may not be terribly different in the military vs in the civilian world – I don’t know. I mean, in general, kids are pretty healthy, right? In OB/GYN, civilian patients have a nasty habit of neglecting their medical care if they don’t have insurance (or are doing naughty things like shooting up heroin), and reappearing only when they have advanced cancer or are in labor. That’s less of an issue in the military, where people tend not to be smoking crack during their pregnancies (and medical care is free.)And, of course, the pay difference between military and civilian work after residency depends on your specialty, which might influence your choice about whether to stay in. ENTs and neurosurgeons make a lot less money in the military than they do as civilians, but that difference is much smaller for, say, pediatricians.Think about your family obligations. Is your spouse limited to big cities by his job? Is your fiancee going through the civilian match and you want to couples match? Are your parents elderly and ill? Do you have a child with special medical or educational needs? Is your whole family in Texas and you really want to stay there? All of these are worth considering. Sometimes, civilian residencies can give you more geographic flexibility – for example, there are no Air Force OB/GYN residencies on the west coast, but there are plenty of civilian residencies. Just remember to balance this against the pay cut that you are taking. Maybe you want to live in New York City, but is it worth $130k? Is being in the same state as your parents (when you’re working 80 hours a week and have no time to socialize anyway) worth the cost of a small house?If you train civilian, you will have to pay for the move from med school to residency on your own. If you do a military residency, the military will pay for it.And, of course, remember that you may not have much of a choice in the matter. The Air Force tends to hand out a fair number of civilian deferrals (depending on the specialty and the year), while the Navy almost never sends people out to the civilian world for training. Even in the Air Force, you may be selected for a civilian deferral if you ask for it (see this post for more on that).So, what’s the bottom line? Should you pursue a civilian deferral?It may be worth seriously considering a civilian deferral ifYou are going into a highly-paid specialtyYou plan to leave the military as soon as your commitment is upYou are going into a specialty where your work will be very different as a civilian doctorYou have serious family considerations (geographically limited spouse, special needs kids, etc)It probably makes more sense to do a military residency ifYou have prior military service (you get paid more)You are planning to stay in the military until retirementYou are going into a specialty where you get paid the same or less in the civilian world (mostly primary care specialties)You are single, or have a spouse who can easily relocate with youYou have other debts like undergraduate loans, car loans, etc., and the extra money makes a big differenceSo You Want a Civilian DeferralJanuary 2016 Update: This page really talks about the Air Force process for requesting civilian deferral, as well as general considerations in applying for civilian deferral. Another post will be coming soon about the Army process.So you’re a medical student on a military scholarship and you want to train in a civilian residency – you want to defer entry into active duty until after you finish your residency. The first step is to make sure you understand how the military match process works and what you need to do in order to be competitive in the military match. If you haven’t already read my article on the military match then I would strongly encourage you to read it now, because I am going to assume going forward that you know and understand everything that I talk about there, and we are going to focus just on the peculiarities of seeking a civilian training spot in the military match (and the civilian match).The first question that I am often asked is “How hard is it to get a civilian deferral?” If you read the article on the military match then you already know that this largely depends on the number of civilian deferrals that are available in your specialty in the year in which you apply. For example, in the military match for the class of 2014, there were 3 civilian deferrals offered in OB/GYN in the Air Force. The following year, there were 9 civilian deferrals. This is the luck of the draw and there is really nothing you can do about it.But how do you know how many spots there are? In the Air Force, a document called the HPERB comes out in June. I don’t actually know what that stands for – even in writing, I always see it described as just the HPERB. (If you know, leave it in the comments!) Anyway, the HPERB lists every spot that is approved and funded for the following academic year, in each specialty and location. As an example, you can see the 2014 HPERB here.The more spots there are in your specialty, the better your chances. So look at last a few years’ worth of HPERBs and try to get a sense for how many spots there have been lately, bearing in mind that this may change by the time you apply. When the HPERB comes out in the year that you will apply, read it and read it carefully.Things that are going to affect your chances of matching to a deferral in the military match, but that you have no control over:Number of deferrals available for your yearExtenuating circumstances (yours or someone else’s). If someone else has a geographically-limited spouse and kids, for example, and you don’t, that could hurt your chances of getting the deferral.Once you have that information, it’s time to develop your plan. Remember that if you rank civilian #1, you have to say why in your personal statement, which is already limited to one page, double spaced. So figure out how you can explain your reasons for wanting a civilian deferral in a sentence or two, so it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of your personal statement. The same thing will happen in your interviews, so be prepared.Things you can do to boost your chances of matching to a civilian deferral in the military match:Good USMLE scoresDo military away rotations and perform wellBe able to clearly articulate why you want a deferralNow let’s fast-forward for a minute, and assume that you got the deferral that you wanted. Congratulations! Now what? Remember that you still have to match into a civilian program, and that isn’t as easy as you might think! As military students I think we tend to worry about the military match the most, but the civilian match is just as challenging! In fact, 2015 was an extremely challenging year for the civilian match (read more here).While you were going on military away rotations to boost your odds of getting the deferral that you want, your civilian colleagues were doing away rotations at the programs that they want to match to. Now you are behind the curve. If you can find the time in your schedule, it is probably worth trying to do a civilian away rotation at a program that you would like to attend.And here’s the real kicker, and something that they don’t advertise. A few weeks after I received my military match letter, I got my new contract from the Air Force. In this new contract, I had to agree that if I failed to match to a civilian program of the length and specialty that I was assigned, then I would scramble into a PGY-1 only program in general surgery, internal medicine, or transitional year. As I understand it, I would be bumped off the OB/GYN track onto the flight medicine track, essentially, and could end up delaying starting my residency for 5 years (1 year of PGY-1 only, 4 years of active duty commitment as a flight doc, then getting out and starting an OB/GYN residency after that). After all, if I failed to match in OB/GYN once, why should they take a chance on me again?So, in other words, no pressure.The last thing to think about is what to say about the military in your civilian interviews. Remember that the military match results come out in mid-December, and the civilian interview season is October-early January, so you will have to most of your civilian interviews before you have the results of the civilian match. It’s hard to stomach all of the money that you will spend to go on civilian interviews when you don’t even know if you are going through the civilian match, so be prepared! For me, the potential consequences of not matching were bad enough to motivate me to apply to over 50 programs in ERAS and attend 16 interviews (I was offered 4 more that I either declined or canceled).There is a box on the ERAS application that you check to indicate that you have a military commitment after residency, so all of the program directors know. There is absolutely no point in hiding your status. How you approach this topic when it inevitably comes up has a lot to do with how you ranked civilian deferral compared to the other options. For example, in my interviews, I said something along the lines ofYes, I am on an Air Force scholarship so I will owe them 4 years on active duty after residency. I have requested their permission to train in a civilian residency, but they may assign me to a military program or to a PGY-1 only. I will know the outcome of the military match in December, and I will be in touch as soon as I know definitively whether I will be seeking a position in the 2015 civilian match.Of course, that is assuming that I get an interview…Finally, there is some extra paperwork (the Air Force needs an official letter of acceptance from the program, for example), but it’s really no big deal and the coordinators will walk you through it.So that’s it! Everything you need to know about matching into a civilian deferral in the military match. What do you still want to know? Please leave your questions and thoughts in the comments. For people who have been through the military match, what was it like for you?Fighting For LifeDirected by Terry SandersExecutive Producer: Tammy Alvarez89 MinutesFighting for Life is a powerful, sobering and emotional feature documentary portrait of American military medicine interweaving three stories:Military doctors, nurses and medics, working with skill, compassion and dedication amidst the vortex of the Iraq War.Wounded soldiers and marines reacting with courage, dignity and determination to survive and to heal.Students at USU, the “West Point” of military medicine, on their journey toward becoming career military physicians.Trailer for Fighting for LifeA powerful, sobering and emotional feature documentary portrait of American military medicine interweaving three stories: Military doctors, nurses and medics, working with skill, compassion and dedication amidst the vortex of the Iraq War. Wounded soldiers and marines reacting with courage, dignity and determination to survive and to heal. Students at USU, the “West Point” of military medicine, on their journey toward becoming career military physicians. The film follows 21 year-old Army Specialist Crystal Davis, from Iraq to Germany to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC, as she fights to recover and “bounce back” from the loss of a leg.The filmmakers had extraordinary access to combat support hospitals in Iraq, medevac flights with wounded soldiers, and military hospitals in Germany and the United States."They are all heroes..."Tom Hanks,interview in Rolling Stone"This is Americans at their best...marvelously uplifiting"Robert MacNeil, journalist and TV news anchor,The MacNeil/Lehrer Report"Staggeringly affecting."Nick Pinkerton,The Village Voice"...an unforgettable portrait of suffering, courage and resilience."Ann Hornaday, Washington PostReview of Movie: Fighting For LifeOnly one medical school in the United States specializes in training doctors to treat combat casualties. One quarter of all uniformed U.S. Armed Forces doctors and 80% of all doctors who complete a 20-year military career are graduates of that one school, yet it has repeatedly been threatened with closure by federal budget cuts. That school is the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), located in Bethesda, Maryland.Two-time Oscar-winner Terry Sanders (Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision) spent two years making Fighting for Life which blends coverage of the USU class of 2010 in classroom and field training environments with coverage of USU graduates treating casualties at a combat field hospital in Iraq, a surgical center in Germany, and a rehabilitation center in Maryland.Fighting for Life is an apolitical documentary that takes no stance on the Iraqi war itself. Sanders' only apparent agenda is to make a persuasive case for the importance of the USU's mission by detailing some of the sacrifices made by the young American soldiers in blood and limbs, and the heroic efforts of the USU-trained doctors who save those soldiers' lives and try to restore them as best they can.Sanders and his crew enjoyed great access to locales and personnel throughout, from a concrete-hardened triage center in the combat zone, to state-of-the-art operating rooms in Germany, to a gymnasium-sized rehabilitation center in the States.Sanders shows us the horrors of war in graphic detail. Many of the wounded have been disfigured by road-side bombs which mangled limbs and burned skin. The wounded are American and Iraqi soldiers, but also Iraqi civilians caught in the crossfire.Fighting for Life is presented without narration and the camera work is loose and spontaneous. This is both the film's strength and its weakness. The documentary is refreshingly guided by the events and people with a minimum of contrivance, but there's also a sense that the pacing and editing don't fully succeed.The film starts strongly enough with medical students at the OSU campus, but once the film has moved on to the twisted and broken bodies of war, returning to the OSU students doing mock field exercises drains away much of the film's emotional charge.Final Thoughts:Fighting for Life is first and foremost an advocacy film for the importance of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences' mission of training military doctors, but it also offers very fine coverage of the men and women who serve in the American Armed Forces - those who risk their lives on the battlefield, and those caregivers dedicated to saving lives and restoring health, often under arduous conditions.Refreshingly apolitical, Fighting for Life is recommended viewing for everyone.Package about the advanced capabilities of Craig Joint Theater Hospital in Bagram, Afghanistan. Produced by Mark Leahy. Includes soundbites from Col. Chris R. Benjamin - commander.C-17 perform its aeromedical mission in this "Aboard the Flying Hospital" video produced by the San Francisco Chronicle.Behind-the-scenes tour of the USNS Mercy Hospital Ship. The Mercy is a floating hospital staffed by nurses, doctors, and medical professionals.U.S. Naval Hospital Rota
What caused small donut shops to become trendy?
From empty donut shops to local hot spots. How Mayly Tao reshaped the donut industry.On the first of February, I was taking a trip from my home to Vons to pick up a few groceries. On the way over, I wanted to stop by my local donut shop for a snack. You know, the kind of place that is always filled with cops but no one else ever goes to. I was eager to get my hands on a ham and cheese and jalapeño croissant.To my surprise, when I drove by at 2pm there was a line of 20 people outside. Disappointed in the line, yet eager to eat this croissant later in the day, I drove back across the venue at 8pm. This time, there was a line of 40 people. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There was a line down the street! Just the month before, the place was a ghost town!Was California Donuts published in a news article?No.There was nothing after a thirty minute search on Google.But what changed?Then after Googling around for a while, I went to their social media page on Instagram. Tens of thousands of followers! Is this what triggered the lines in front of California Donuts? But where did these followers come from? How did this happen? Then I started to examine the posts. The marketing strategy was exactly the same as Mayly Tao’s, the Donut Princess of DK’s Donuts in Santa Monica.(She even has a tiara!)Inspired and intrigued, I reached out to Mayly Tao to ask if she owned this venue. She said she didn’t, but in my head, I knew that they had copied her style. So I had to take it upon myself to meet with her to see what she did to revolutionize the dying donut industry.Luckily, she agreed to meet me for an interview:Leonard Kim: So Mayly, tell me a bit about yourself.Mayly Tao: My name is Mayly Tao. I am 25 years old. I was born in Fountain Valley, California and I am one of the co-owners of DK’s Donuts and Bakery.Leonard Kim: So when did you start running DK’s Donuts?(Ube donut)Mayly Tao: After I graduated college in 2012, I wanted to pursue a career in broadcasting and journalism. I interned for a news station for six months and I did PR and Marketing for another six months with UCSD. I started to realize that the corporate life wasn’t for me as there were too many politics involved.Instead, I decided to come back home. My brother and my mom had asked me to come back and help at the shop. On the outside, it may look like everything is always in order, but the bakery is always crazy. There are so many things that you see as a small business owner that you don’t see as a consumer. You have to worry about the product, freshness and quality. You have to worry about your employees. You have to worry about advertising, sales and marketing. There’s always something to improve upon. When my family asked me to come back to the shop, I realized that DK’s Donuts needed some rebranding.Leonard Kim: So what brought about your ideas to rebranding the business?Mayly Tao: Our local business has our regulars who come in to our original location at 16th and Santa Monica boulevard. They know us due to our location being close to their work or home or if their friends had told them about our amazing donuts.When I took over, I decided that I needed to rebrand DK’s because it just looked so ordinary. I didn’t want to be ordinary. I didn’t want to look like any other bakery or donut shop on any random street in LA. I wanted us to stick out like a sore thumb. We already had a large variety of products, but I wanted to change things up. I felt there was a need to expand our product line by bringing in some of the more crazier kinds of products. I also felt a need to create a presence on social media and the Internet to showcase what we had.Leonard Kim: I’ve always been a fan of building my marketing into my product. Have you done that for your business and if so, how?Mayly Tao: In the first six months of taking over DK’s, I began implementing change. I had:A logo created.Built some social media presence.Stickering our boxesModernizing our inventory.Redecorating the look within the inside of the bakery.After a year of taking over the business, we started carrying products that helped diversify our marketing. The first was the croissant donut. We called it the D-Cronut, but we got a cease and desist letter from the New York bakery that said we needed to stop calling it that. But just because we had to stop calling it that, it didn’t mean that we had to stop making them. Now we call it the O-nut.(Red Velvet O-Nut)We were the first ones on the West Coast to create the half croissant half donut. With that, people had interest in trying this unique forbidden donut that was hard to come by. A donut that had created such a craze, that people would stand in line for hours or pay others to get it for them for $40 to hundreds of dollars.(Purple Cream Cheese Frosting & Shredded Coconut on an Ube donut)Shortly afterwards, I began introducing the Ube donut. We make the Ube Donut from a fried purple yam. A food that is indigenous to the Filipino people and found in desserts. It is delicious! I collaborated with my friends Gigi at Buttermilk Truck, now called Buttermilk Inc., and Marian, the owner of Culinary Escort. All three of us came up with the concept and the idea. We put in our own recipe to create the world’s first ube donut.(Blueberry Crunch Ube Donut)Then we started doing the Wownuts, or waffle donut, which is a half donut half waffle hybrid. We make it by first putting it into a cast iron and then into a deep fryer. Once that process is complete, we garnish it with our own special particular crazy items. We do everything from putting in bits of Oreo’s, melted white chocolate, red velvet and well… Just anything that you can think of, we could create for you.(Wownut Waffle Donut)After that craze, we began production of the protein donut, which has 5-9 grams of protein. We came up with the idea that if you were eating something sweet, it could have a little kick as well. Plus, if you’re eating something sweet, why not feel good about eating it?(Protein Donuts)We built our marketing into our unique product line. By doing so, we were able to differentiate DK’s and stick out from the regular donut shops and bakeries of Southern California.Leonard Kim: What improvements did you see when you implemented your new marketing strategies?(Green Tea O-Nut)Mayly Tao: This brings me back to the new products we had created. After I started making all those types of products, we started seeing people from everywhere. I credit our success to the internet because of how easy it is for people to search for food places online. What shocked me the most was the call to attention of how many people have interest in food. Especially food that is different from the ordinary.We saw significant improvements in our social media as well. I started out our pages with zero likes. Zero likes on Instagram, zero likes on Facebook, zero followers on Twitter. To this date, we have almost 45k followers on Instagram, 6,000 on Facebook and 1,000 on Twitter.(Sprinkled Donut)DK’s has definitely attracted people from as far as Australia and Germany. I have shipped donuts across the country. People have come to DK’s because has turned into a foodie haven. They come to try all the different types of things that we offer.Leonard Kim: How did social media tie into your marketing?(This seagull just stole one of her donuts!)Mayly Tao: Social media reaches people all across the world. Before, if you did marketing or advertising, you could only reach people in a certain demographic region. Now communication has evolved to a new point. We’re in an era where you can incorporate friends on these platforms. Then within a matter of minutes, you can introduce them to a video or a picture of a product.After running this business for a while, I have come to find that reading something isn’t as seductive as a picture. With that realization, I have depended on incorporating video and pictures into my posts.The great thing about social media is that it can shout out your message to a thousand or a hundred thousand people with just one post. Late at night or early in the morning, I think of what to post. When I send out the message, I have come to find that it becomes so much closer to the user than it did before. It makes people feel the urge to have that donut or they feel the curiosity of wanting to try something different and new. The images or videos we post end up making people want to check us out.Leonard Kim: What do you think is one of the most viral posts you put up on social media?(Maple Bacon Bliss O-Nut, Ube Donut With Bacon!)Mayly Tao: These are definitely the celebrity posts. Of the celebrities who have come by, Swaggy P. aka Nick Young of the Lakers had the most engagements. Actress Madison Pettis also engaged a lot of her fans. Wayne Brady, Mel Gibson and the Shahs of Sunset are other celebrities whose campaigns have done quite well. Ryan Seacrest, though, he has his own O-Nut at our shop. When people see that, people get really excited. If someone on social media is a fan of one of our celebrity guests, they end up thinking, “OMG they’re at the shop and trying these donuts! I want to try it too!”Other posts that are pretty effective are the ones that people can relate to. I put up a picture of a donut on my pinky ring and wrote “The Closest I’ll ever get to a ring…” That one got a lot of engagements.Leonard Kim: Where did you go to school?Mayly Tao: UCSD.Leonard Kim: Do you contribute your education to your current business’s success?(How did that French Cruller get stuck there?)Mayly Tao: I do. UCSD is known more for science and research, but it also has a really powerful communications program. We were able to do a lot of hands on video and audio and I learned about marketing. With my internship there, I gained a lot of hands on experience. It also helped me figure out how to tie everything together and relay my message accurately and unbiased. With DK’s we were able to do this by trusting our brand and making sure our brand shines through due to our actions online.Leonard Kim: Do you think you inspired other donut shops to follow your lead in marketing?Mayly Tao: Maybe. Donuts are photogenic and loved by all. I have been busy doing my own thing to check up on what everyone else is doing, but donuts are products that people in our society love.Cambodian refugees who fled from the Khmer Rouge own most of the bakeries. They are families first generation families who have come over to the United States. Now the first generation kids, us, we have been taking over. We have been implementing and changing our businesses for the better.Our families made it over here from all the killings of innocent people through the wars. Somehow, they established these businesses for themselves without a penny to their name. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t know where we would be today. Yet, it makes me feel good that we are getting through it and making our families proud in the process.Leonard Kim: How do you feel about paving the way to changing the way donut shops run their businesses?Mayly Tao: It makes me feel as if I have done something great for my own family and for my own brand. I am happy to see others use these strategies to turn their businesses into a success.Leonard Kim: So two months ago I went to a donut shop. The only two customers were me and a cop. I went by last week and there was a huge line. What do you think caused that?Mayly Tao: It revolves around two key components: Social media and the popularity of donuts. Since donuts are so trendy right now, it has caused so much excitement for a good donut. If you have the backing of a hard working team, a good product and a social media presence, it should bring success to you as well.Leonard Kim: What do you think got all these bakeries into social media?(Yum, so tasty!)Mayly Tao: We started our social media strategies early on. I feel it kind of gave an idea of how others in my field should run their social media presence. It has taken a lot of engagements and marketing on my own behalf to create that for myself so early on. There were even many trials and errors that I had to go through. Maybe other people were able to use my examples for their own success.Leonard Kim: So where is your business located now?Mayly Tao: DK’s Donuts is located on 16th and Santa Monica Boulevard and is open 24 hours a day.Leonard Kim: So where do you see DK’s Donuts in the future?Mayly Tao: DK’s Donuts will have many locations in the future. We will be growing strong with the help of our loyal customers, social media, and the hard work behind a donut. We are a hard working family owned businesses that started from scratch who came here with a vision to make a name for ourselves. We hope that we will have a huge following to create many locations where that success will be accepted.Leonard Kim: Mayly, thanks so much for joining me on this interview! Your in depth insights of how you were able to increase your business’s presence were amazing! I hope that many of our readers will be able to come by and check out the amazing donuts at DK’s! I know I can’t wait to to be back for more!For those of you looking for a specific address, the bakery is located at:DK’s Donuts and Bakery1614 Santa Monica BlvdSanta Monica, CA 90404Follow DK’s Donuts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.After having the pleasure of interviewing with Mayly, I went to look up a few other social media accounts on Instagram.(DK’s Donuts.)(Baker’s Donuts)(California Donuts)Coincidentally, they now have a similar product, marketing style and social media presence. Do you think other donut shops may have copied DK’s donuts? Or that Mayly of DK’s Donuts created a revolution in the donut industry?Feel free to comment with your thoughts below!(Photography Credit: Rayson Esquejo of 2 Live And Dine In LA)If you’ve experienced success with your marketing, I would love to hear your success story. Feel free to email me at [email protected] more at my blog: From empty donut shops to local hot spots. How Mayly Tao reshaped the donut industry.
How can a veteran get into an Ivy League school?
Q. How can a veteran get into an Ivy League school?A. There is an organization of veterans in the Ivy League. There are several articles in newspapers and magazines.The Ivy League Veterans CouncilConfessions Of A Vet Who Went To HBSVeterans and Ivy League (A salute to Cornell, Dartmouth, and Columbia)Ivy League and Veterans (Reddit)Why Don’t Top-Tier Colleges Care About Enrolling Veterans? (2013)Rice University Veterans Education Benefits (not Ivy League, but well regarded), Military at Rice (Military Scholars Program - full cost of attendance scholarship for veterans in the Jones School of Business)The Ivy League Veterans CouncilABOUT MEMBERS CALL TO ACTION SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONSContact Us Veterans in the NewsVeterans in the Ivy League: Students Seek to Up Their RanksBy THE ASSOCIATED PRESSNOV. 1, 2016, 7:33 A.M. E.D.T.PROVIDENCE, R.I. — It's not easy to find military veterans in undergraduate programs at most Ivy League schools.Harvard has only three in its undergrad liberal arts and sciences school. Princeton, just one.Students from the eight Ivies hope to change those kinds of numbers. They see a chance for institutions to diversify and for veterans to get an education that will help them become leaders.Nov 3, 2016Where Are Veterans at Our Elite Colleges? (NYTimes)The tally noted just two veterans among undergraduates at Duke, one at M.I.T., one at Pomona and zero at Carleton.“These schools all wring their hands and say, ‘We’d love to have more, but they just don’t apply,’ ” Sloane said. “That’s what offends me. These schools have incredibly sophisticated recruitment teams. They recruit quarterbacks. They fill the physics lab. They visit high schools. How many visits did they make for veterans?”Sep 7, 2016Marine Corps Partners with Columbia University (Military.com)Columbia University recently announced that eligible Marines planning to exit the U.S. Marine Corps will for the first time have formalized, national program to access a top-tier undergraduate education. Through the Leadership Scholar Program, a partnership developed by the U.S. Marine Corps and leading colleges and universities, qualified Marines are identified by their commanding officers and are then shepherded through the college admissions process on their respective Marine Corps bases.Aug 26, 2016The Nonprofit Helping Veterans Get Into The Country’s Top Colleges (Task & Purpose)Army veteran Sang Ra never thought he'd go to an Ivy League college until he connected with the nonprofit, Service to School.Aug 21, 2016Lima Charlie Team Spotlight: Mike ConnollyOur VP of Communications did an interview with Lima Charlie News on his involvement there. Give it a read!Aug 21, 2016Posse Foundation Announces New Veteran PossesWe’re excited to have our THREE newest Veterans Posses at national headquarters in New York for Pre-Collegiate Training! These Scholars will attend Dartmouth, Vassar College and Wesleyan University in the fall. http://www.possefoundation.org/veterans #PosseVetsLeadJul 21, 2016Confessions Of A Vet Who Went To HBSOver five years ago, I began taking the steps necessary to attend business school. I took the GMAT, arranged my letters of recommendation, filled out applications, wrote essays, and did my interviews over Skype or phone from Iraq.Jul 21, 2016Veterans Groups Seek a Crackdown on Deceptive Colleges (NYTimes)WASHINGTON — Some of the nation’s largest veterans and military organizations sent letters last week to the Veterans Affairs Department asking it to crack down on colleges that prey on veterans by charging exorbitant fees for degrees that mostly fail to deliver promised skills and jobs.Jul 3, 2016As A Poor Kid From The Rust Belt, Yale Law School Brought Me Face-to-face With Radical Inequality (HuffPo)“I have never felt out of place in my entire life. But I did at Yale.”Jul 3, 2016Veterans Deserve a Chance in College, Not a Free Pass (NYTimes)MY six years in the Marine Corps taught me the importance of learning the basics...Jun 18, 2016Confessions Of A Vet Who Went To HBSBY: MARTIN PETERS ON JULY 07, 2016 |5 COMMENTSThis article was contributed by Service to School, a nonprofit that provides free application assistance for veterans transitioning from the service to undergrad, MBA, and JD programs. Service to School has helped over 300 veterans into the nation’s top undergraduate and graduate school programs.Over five years ago, I began taking the steps necessary to attend business school. I took the GMAT, arranged my letters of recommendation, filled out applications, wrote essays, and did my interviews over Skype or phone from Iraq.First, a little background. At the time I matriculated in 2012, I was a 30-year-old West Point 2004 grad, eight years on active duty in the infantry with four deployments, and was (and still am) married, with three dogs. I graduated from Harvard Business School in May of 2014 and started work with Boston Consulting Group in September of 2014.My thoughts involve some MOTO (Master of the Obvious) statements about school and life. Hopefully, though, some of my thoughts are something you, the reader, may not have thought about. I’ll add the disclaimer that everyone’s experiences are unique (and mine in particular are based heavily on HBS). Still, for what they are worth, here they are — with the up-front thought that my MBA experience was a great one and I would do it again in a heartbeat.SCHOOL SELECTIONStrive to get into a top 10 MBA program (HBS, GSB, MIT, Darden, McCombs, Kellogg, Booth, Tuck, UPenn, Fuqua, Ross, etc.). An MBA from a top 10 program is certainly worth it, but I question the return on a non-top 10 program because many top firms specifically recruit at the top schools.GET TO SCHOOL A MONTH EARLYHBS started in late August. My wife, Megan, and I arrived in the beginning of the month and immediately linked up on Facebook with the HBS 2014 Boston Admit group, whose membership swelled as school got closer and people began moving to Cambridge. Megan and I began meeting and hanging out with people throughout the month. When I went to school the first day, I already knew 60-70 people by name, both in and outside of my section. Also, I maintained relationships with most of that summer crew because we met prior to the pressures of school and other social commitments. Meeting fellow classmates, then, was novel and not overwhelming like the first couple months.DEFINITION OF SUCCESSThe Army makes it very easy to know when you have been successful in its eyes — you are promoted, you get the next position, and/or you get a thank-you from your soldier. On the wall of every company and above CP are the institution’s definitions of success — the chain of command. Leaving active-duty changed that. In business school, the definition of success is much more ambiguous. Certainly, in large corporations there are well-established measures of success, but outside of those, success takes many forms and is truly dependent on the person. No longer is an easily acceptable definition provided. It is up to YOU to create your own personal definition of success.LACK OF CAMARADERIEYou read and hear about it: When people leave the military, they miss the camaraderie. It’s true. During my first couple months at HBS, I missed the intense friendships that come with having intense shared experiences (deployments and field problems) toward a common goal. For soldiers who were only in for three years or who never deployed, it may not be an issue. But for someone who went to West Point and then served eight years on active duty with four deployments, it was an issue. Initially, I felt many of my relationships were skin-deep, and I was always putting up a perfectionist front. Slowly, over time, I developed a core group of friends, yet the majority of what I call my “vacation friends” were primarily veterans. We simply had the most in common.WHAT VETERANS BRING TO THE CLASSROOMHere is what veterans bring to the classroom: leadership, real-world experience, and exposure to the military.The Army provides leadership experiences at extremely early stages in a soldier’s career. At 23, I was leading an infantry platoon in Afghanistan with an area of operations the size of Rhode Island. My final assignment was as a headquarters company commander of 250 soldiers during our deployment to Iraq. An infantry buck sergeant, or team leader, has more direct leadership experience than the majority of my business school classmates. It is not entirely their fault, because the industries many of my classmates come from (at HBS, one-third finance and one-third consulting) simply do not provide direct leadership opportunities early in their careers. During an informal survey of my 90 section mates, I learned that two-thirds of the class never had a direct report (subordinate) and the majority of the remaining third had from one to five direct reports. Only myself, another veteran, and one other classmate had ever led more than 15 people.The second great thing vets bring to the classroom is experience in an organization where not everyone has a college degree. Think about it. Many of my classmates, if they came from a consulting or finance background, went to undergrad and then to work at top-tier firms (the typical pipeline to HBS), and their only interaction with a person without a college degree was at grocery stores with cashiers or restaurants with waiters. Army veterans have worked with a wide variety of people who have varied backgrounds. It broadens your perspective and understanding.Finally, most of my classmates, unless they have parents or siblings in the military or are veterans themselves, have very little knowledge of the military outside of Hollywood or the news. With an all-volunteer military, it is simply something they do not think about. My classmates were keenly interested in hearing about the military. For some, I was the first person in the military they ever spoke with (which blew my mind). A Chinese student in my section wrote an email at the end of the first year to all the vets in my section stating that we had changed her view on the American military because she had been taught that we were all automatons. It made me feel good.Harvard Business School graduation for the Class of 2016INTERNATIONAL DIVERSITYI felt that HBS oversells its international diversity. I got the feeling the majority of international students were “international” in passport only. They had gone to American universities for undergrad, worked for American companies, and would be going back to work for American companies following HBS. While brilliant, they brought little “international” diversity to the table.RECRUITINGTry your best to identify early, if not before school, what industries you would like to recruit for. Narrowing your choices will save you a lot of time during recruiting.INTERN APPLICATIONSI’d limit your job applications to about 10. If you are applying to more than 10 companies, I don’t think you have properly done your research and it will show during the interview. I applied to eight companies during recruitment, and even that was a lot to keep track of. On one of my interviews, I had had no time to research the company or network and it definitely showed.Expect to get dings (rejections), even when you’re applying from Harvard. For high-performing individuals, it will be the first time you may have been told thanks, but no thanks. Expect it. It builds character.EXPLOIT YOUR STATUS AS A STUDENTExploit it when making phone calls and visits with alumni, potential employers, and others. Most people will give you a minute if you are a student. After graduation, you are just another dude/dudette.GRADESThe sooner you stop worrying about them, the better and more stress-free your experience will be. At HBS there is little transparency and the grading system to me was very subjective, with 50% of your grade based on class participation and 50% based on a case exam. You receive little to no feedback on either grade until you receive them a month after taking the exam. By then, you have stopped thinking about it.Coming from West Point, where I studied to a degree that amazes me a decade later, not worrying about grades took some getting used to. You need to understand why you are at business school. If you want top honors, crush it. If you want to develop yourself personally, learn a new hobby, or try new things, crush it. In the decade since West Point, I learned that there is more to life than grades (not an excuse to sham, but I don’t have the single-minded academic drive that I once had at West Point).VETERAN STATUSRid yourself of any form of veteran entitlement that seems to have crept up. You cannot rest on your laurels. Your veteran resume with its accompanying experiences will assist greatly in getting that first interview with companies, but after that you must prepare for the interview and then perform during your internship.HOUSING (HBS SPECIFIC)On campus or off campus, it doesn’t matter. If you are off campus, try staying within a mile of campus and you won’t miss anything. The main social scene at HBS revolves around the campus and Harvard Square (and club parties in downtown Boston if you choose to do them). If you live off campus, get a bike.CLASSESAt HBS, your first year is all required curriculum (RC) so you have no choice in what you take. Your second year (EC), you choose your courses. Take some time to plan your schedule. Talk with current second-year students and look at course reviews. While I was happy with my course selections and thought the allocation system to get into them was equitable, I wish I had done a little more deliberate planning on what courses to take.My favorites second-year courses were The Coming of Managerial Capitalism, taught by Professor Nicholas (a history-like course and Professor Nicholas was awesome); Business at the Base of the Pyramid, by Professor Michael Chu (interesting course that took a while to gain steam/catch my interest, but the last half was enlightening); and The Energy Business and Geopolitics, taught by Professor Maurer (I want to go into the energy industry post-BCG and this course was absolutely fascinating).Harvard Business School – Ethan Baron photoWORKLOADIf you went to a service academy, do not stress about the workload. I found the academic workload at Harvard underwhelming compared to West Point. All the books, all the blogs, blah blah, stress how busy it is. I was never as busy on any single day at HBS as I was at West Point, hands down.Your first month you will be busy as you learn the ropes, but after that your busy-ness is primarily a factor of your priorities and is mainly self-induced (how much stuff you voluntarily pile onto your academic load). I did Reserve drill, volunteered weekly at a local school, mentored a Harvard ROTC cadet weekly, helped out with the MIT ROTC program a little, continued my long-distance running routine (I did 3.85 marathons while at HBS … at Mile 22 ruck marching with cadets when the bombs went off and they closed the course), and took a photography class at the New England School of Photography in addition to the normal academic workload at HBS.My priorities at HBS had changed from my single-minded focus on academics at West Point to realizing that academics are only one aspect of the HBS/life experience.Also, whenever I felt busy, I thought of my classmates with three kids and my woe-is-me party ended immediately.PARTYINGI thought Army lieutenants partied hard after a deployment. Then I went to HBS. Be prepared for a large social scene.Ignore Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and realize early on that there are club/section parties/get-togethers on most evenings. It is all about priorities. If your priority is partying, then you have found your home in business school. But if you have other priorities, don’t worry about not going out every night. At the end of the day, going out drinking with section mates is not some mind-blowing, nirvana-attaining affair that will make or break your experience. It’s just getting drinks with people.For HBS, the key parties/events to attend are: RC Halloween Party, RC Priscilla Ball, RC Newport Ball, RC Holidazzle, the EC Gala, and section retreats. Anything else I would pick and choose going to.AGGRESSIVELY SOCIALBusiness school people are what I would call “aggressively social.” Sometimes it is overwhelming, but it makes it easy to meet people.RESERVES WHILE AT SCHOOLI continued to serve in the Army Reserves while at school, and I am one of the few who is staying in post-HBS, for a couple of reasons: 1) I transferred my remaining GI Bill benefits to my wife so she could attend school; 2) I am more deeply appreciative now of the privilege of being able to put the uniform on as opposed to when I was on active duty and took it for granted; and 3) If not me, then who?While at business school, the one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer did not provide any issues. Units post their drill schedules in advance for the coming fiscal year, so I knew well in advance of every weekend when I would be gone and when my annual training was set. Did I miss some parties or trips? Yes, but after a month at business school you realize parties are a dime a dozen and trips/treks occur at an uncanny frequency. My Reserve unit worked with me to conduct Rescheduled Training (RST) for the summer internship, so during my first-year spring break, instead of going to *insert X exotic destination*, I went to Fort Devens, Massachusetts, to knock out my drill requirements. This enabled me to stay in Dallas, where I was interning, the entire summer instead of flying back to Massachusetts. Further, Boston Consulting Group pushed my internship up two weeks ahead of the primary summer intern cohort so I could attend my unit’s active training (I finished my internship on a Friday and reported that Saturday for active training). You work it and make it happen.The main positives of staying in the Reserves at school are: 1) Personal pride and satisfaction; 2) They help you stay grounded and get outside the business school bubble; 3) You have a steady, though small, income coming in (two years of O-3/O-4 Reserve pay comes out to under $20,000 net free of taxes so that is $20,000 in debt I do not have); and 4) Health insurance that was cheaper than the school’s option. The main drawbacks are that it takes time (though manageable) and your experience will vary with your unit — just like active duty, some units are good and others are a drag.If you are staying in the Reserves, I recommend that you interview your unit.Talk with the commander and get a feel for his/her leadership style. You select the unit you want to go to, so if the commander gives you a bad vibe, look for another unit.Ask for the drill, AT, and mobilization schedules. Check the drill schedule to see how many MUTA 5’s (Friday evening, Saturday, Sunday), or MUTA 6’s (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Saturday, Sunday, Monday) they have. Make sure their annual training is in August (most units’ ATs are), which is workable with an internship versus a June or July annual training. See where they are in the ARFORGEN cycle to make sure you won’t get called up in the middle of school!If possible, stop by a unit for an hour or two during their BTA to see what they actually do.Ask the unit and commander how much work they expect you to do outside of drill weekends. Some units/commanders expect a significant amount of work outside of drill. It varies tremendously with units, position, ARFORGEN cycle. For many reservists this will make or break the Reserve experience.Manage your expectations … it is not active duty infantry anymore.TRANSFER OF GI BILL BENEFITSArmy Reservists can transfer their GI Bill benefits to their dependents. You incur an extra four years of service on the date of transfer. The process was extremely simple to do online. I transferred mine during the spring of my second year, but I wish I had done it immediately upon leaving active duty so that 18 months of the four-year commitment would have been my time at HBS. I plan on serving beyond the four years, but it is nice serving at my leisure versus serving because of a contractual obligation.With this, my wife is attending the University of Michigan to get her Master of Architecture degree “for free” and we get the housing stipend as well ($1,578 a month).ENJOY ITDon’t fall prey to cynicism. Enjoy the experience. It goes by ridiculously fast.BE HUMBLEOne of my main goals coming from HBS is to do well in the business world, yet *knocking on wood* regardless of the amount of success I may have, I want to remain humble.“You can’t help when or what you were born, you may not be able to help how you die; but you can — and you should — try to pass the days between as a good man …” — Sam Damon from Once an EagleIf you made it this far, get after it.Author Martin Peters is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and served eight years on active duty as an infantryman with four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, concluding his time as an HHC commander. Following active duty, he attended Harvard Business School and joined the Boston Consultant Group as a consultant. He continues to serve as a major in the Army Reserves, training battalion- and above-level staffs, and is passionate about veterans. Martin is an ambassador for Service to School and has successfully assisted several veterans applying to MBA programs. Martin is married, has three dogs, and currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.Veterans and Ivy LeagueA Salute to Cornell, Dartmouth, and ColumbiaMarch 15, 2015Ivy Coach salutes Cornell University, Dartmouth College, and Columbia University for their outstanding track record of supporting our troops. It is to be commended.As you may know, Ivy Coach is deeply committed to helping America’s veterans and current members of our military (which also can include veterans) gain admission to the colleges of their dreams. It’s work we’ve been doing for years and it’s some of the most fulfilling, rewarding work we do. We are so proud of the many veterans across highly selective college campuses whom we had the privilege — and that’s precisely what it is — to work with in the admissions process. But we are also aware that we have a voice in the admissions process and we’d be remiss not to raise it to commend Ivy League institutions that do right by veterans and shame other Ivy League institutions that we don’t believe properly support our troops. Just because all Ivy League institutions are “Yellow Ribbon” does not mean they are all equally supportive to veterans. Being “Yellow Ribbon” simply means they have agreed to contribute some money towards tuition costs. As an example, while not an Ivy League school, Johns Hopkins University contributes $1,000 annually per student. That’s not going to cut it. But back to the Ivy League…Cornell University, we salute you! The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill offers only a certain amount of money towards annual tuition ($19,200 for private universities and $8,900 for public universities). Cornell covers the remainder of the tuition (making them “Yellow Ribbon”). They welcome these brave men and women into their schools as though they are any other students pursuing college degrees. And that’s exactly how it should be. Cornell University has earned an ‘A’ in our book. They’d get an ‘A+’ if they didn’t have a cap of 100 veterans whom they can have on campus at a time under the “Yellow Ribbon Program,” a cap that also includes dependents (not just the troops themselves).Dartmouth College, we salute you! It’s all love from us for this fellow “Yellow Ribbon” university. With respect to veterans, you are the crown jewel of the Ivy League. Dartmouth College supports our troops and may the world know it. Dartmouth College covers the full cost of tuition that is beyond the funds from the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. And they have no cap on the number of veterans they admit each admissions cycle. Dartmouth doesn’t have to do the right thing. But Dartmouth chooses to. Dartmouth College has earned an ‘A+’ in our book. Other Ivy League colleges may say they support our troops but Dartmouth speaks softly with one very big stick.And Columbia University, we salute you, too! You may not cover the full cost of tuition, contributing $8,000 annually per student. But maybe it’s because you admit so many vets! And you admit all of these vets through your General Studies Program. This way, their numbers don’t hurt your “US News & World Report” ranking. It’s a creative workaround and we salute you for this workaround because it means more veterans studying on your campus. For this, we’ll give you an ‘A.’ Columbia, you deserve it.But that’s just about where the love fest ends. Check back soon to find out what we have to say about the remaining Ivies’ admissions policies towards our troops. It won’t be all puppy dogs and ice cream.And, veterans, this is a terrific tool to use to measure a university’s “Yellow Ribbon” contributions against another.Ivy League and Veterans (Reddit)drlovespooge 1 year agoI'm in a SEC university right now, and honestly the childish behavior of the student is killing me. I'm 23, USMC vet making great grades, and have been looking into Ivy League (Dartmouth, Cornell) schools in the hopes of finding more academic rigor with a little more serious atmosphere.Does anyone have any experience, or currently enrolled in any top tier institutions who could give me some insight?I'm a Marine veteran at Columbia university. Columbia has by far the largest population of veterans, and provides the most support. We have just over 400 undergrads who are vets, which is about 4% of all the undergrads in the school. The other Ivies have a handful each. Brown and Dartmouth each have a dozen or so. Yale and Cornell about half that. Princeton and Harvard have 1 or 2 at most.At Columbia we have a very active Veterans group called Milvets (check us out on Facebook www.Facebook.com/CUMilvets and Twitter @Milvets) that does social events, hosts speakers, organizes career info and recruiting events, and throws a big Marine Corps Birthday Ball-style gala every year.As others have stated, the biggest change transitioning from a lower-tier school is the increased workload, particularly reading. I personally find the other students to be noticeably smarter and more mature here. I've made friends with a lot of traditional-age students and found them to be very driven.Some stuff you should be aware of:-Several of the Ivies have special application processes for nontraditional students; people like Veterans, retired professional athletes, Olympic figure skaters, etc. Applying through these is a higher chance of admission than what the overall admission stats would lead you to believe. They like the diversity having interesting people attend brings to the school. The ones who have programs like this are: *Columbia - school of general studies (note, this is just an administrative division, not a separate school like Harvard Extension School. GS students are "real" Columbia students, are in the same classes, and earn the same degree) *Yale - Eli Whitney Scholars Program *Brown - Resumed Undergraduate Education (RUE) program *Penn - (I forget the name. Will edit later)-Also, several other top schools have a partnership with non-profits which feed them Veterans. Service to School is a nonprofit that sets you up with a mentor already attending the school who helps you through the application process. They have a partnership with Yale, Cornell, MIT, Columbia, and a few others that will get you a garenteed interview with admissions and get your application to the top of the pile. Dartmouth also partners with a nonprofit called the Posse Foundation, which creates a cohort of ten Veterans who the school admits as a group, and then those ten serve as a pre-made peer support network.-A third nonprofit, the Warrior Scholar Project, does couple-week-long seminars at various too schools, including Ivies like Yale and Harvard, to teach Veterans skills to succeed at top schools. It is all-expenses-paid, food and lodging provided, and you get to see what the Ivies are like in person. WSP alumni have a good record of getting accepted to top schools afterward.Jim_Nebna 1 year agoI am an Army vet that transferred into Cornell. What kind of info are you looking for?drlovespooge 1 year agoOverall impressions and such. Also the challenge of the classes. I'm worried that classes are easy here, but I will struggle at a more difficult school. Also, curious about admissions and veteran resources around the university.Jim_Nebna 1 year agoIt was a great experience. Almost all of the classes were excellent. A few were not. I did well at my prior school and my first semester after transferring was very rough. You will have to adjust to the workload. Depending on your major, reading multiple books, having several problem sets, and/or writing multiple papers per week is not out of the norm.I found transferring to be pretty straight forward. I started in 2008 and resources were basically non-existent. It was the same at my prior school as well. By the time I had left the VA rep was telling me about programs I had never heard of.drlovespooge 1 year agoWow, how were you able to stay afloat while transitioning? I mean my workload now is a joke, so that's going to be interesting.Jim_Nebna 1 year agoDiscipline and between my then wife's stipend, and the GI Bill, I did not need to work. Which depending on where you wind up can be a challenge.I would highly suggest getting to know some of your current or prior professors. Do an independent study with them or build some rapport other than "He was in my class". Everyone who applies will have a good GPA. Having a good GPA, showing that you have already been successful at another school, and good reference letters will greatly increase your chances.bruceholder84 1 year agoI understand. I chose online classes because I'm not great at biting my tounge and could see this being an issue in a traditional classroombrianwillneverdiejarhead 1 year agoHey u/drlovesspooge, I'm a USMC vet and am the president of the student group at Columbia. We've got a vibrant community of 400+ enlisted vets. Definitely recommend it. The academic rigor and serious atmosphere are both here, but we have our share of childish behavior. Happens at every college. I'm headed to the Student Veterans of America conference in Orlando but can answer any questions you may have and connect you to some great organizations that help vets apply to top schools. Will DM you my emailroost9i 1 year agoI had a similar experience at my state Uni. It was the worst in the first year and tapered off a lot towards my junior year when the insincere fell out. But you just have to expect it. Even in my senior year there were classmates just wasting their parents' money.MFW: "Am I the only one around here that wants to graduate!"The best classes were the ones where I could find other disciplined people to form study groups with.akamustacherides 1 year agoI started off like you, went to state school and was making the dean's list with little effort. The maturity level of the students didn't bother me because at the end of the day it was me and my performance I had to face. Into my third year I started dating an attorney with a prestigious education and she convinced me that I would be better off at a different school. I transferred to a school in the northeast, it was more of a challenge, it gave me more opportunities because it had more clout, and the student body was more serious. The difference now is that I am paying off bigger student loans than if I would have stayed in the state school.jbow808 1 year agoI went to a Top 50 school that offered a great program for non-traditional students, since I graduated it's become an on-line only program.Most of my cohorts in the program where in their late 20's to early 40's and coming from a community college where I was surrounded by mostly 16 - 20 year olds who texted and surfed the web during lectures. Students tend to take academics more seriously of they're footing the bill.As far as rigor goes, the program was on par with the "traditional" offerings at the school and no one knows I was in the special program unless I tell them.I even recall hearing a professor or 2 saying they preferred teaching to older students, since they know how to think (as opposed to just wanting the answers for the final exam), are more engaged in classroom discussions, and generally more respectful of their time and experience.IntendoPrinceps 1 year agoMarine buddy of mine is at Dartmouth, and he hates it. Everyone in his program is super young, and he comes home whenever possible and has taken many breaks from school. There isn't a real city nearby so the only young adults are grad students, according to him, and they mostly socialize with each other.My friend is an extrovert and very sociable, so it's not like he stays at his apartment all of the time. He even joined a frat but that didn't help much.harDCore182 1 year agoTuck MBA is my dream. Heard grad life is better than undergrad there.cwood74 1 year agoWent to Harvard for a masters program college kids are still kids. I went to a party school for undergrad and it was a noticeable difference in terms of difficulty and attitude but nothing like the military.drlovespooge 1 year agoWhat kind background did you come from when applying? I'm thinking about graduating from here, but going to a top tier school for my JD/MBAcwood74 1 year agoI went for computer science my grades were at the low side for top 20 around 3.8 GPA. What really saved me was letters of recommendation from employers and volunteering on open source projects. The top schools seem to care about someone that is really focused and dedicated to being good at one thing instead of mediocre at everything. I met people they turned down later that I would have considered a much better candidate than me.gijose 1 year agoI'm a junior at Brown, and I know for certain that the school has an interest in attracting more veterans. Brown has its own thing going—totally open curriculum, weird grading scheme, very liberal students—but it's a top-tier school and has a backdoor application for "non-traditional" students. If you have any questions PM me and I'll try to answer them.fezha 10 months agoBrown really wants more vets. This is true. In the cracks of the internet, I found a PDF detailing Brown's struggles to attract and connect with Vets. They even acknowledged other Ivies were attracting vets, but they couldn't.To be honest, I believe it's location. Brown is all the motherfucking way in Rhode Island. If prostitution was still legal in Rhode Island I would apply there...hahahah.....haha......yeah.talab 10 months agoConsidering the population density in the northeast is among the highest in the nation, I don't think location is really an issue. My theory is that it's more about the political climate — I've seen the studies suggesting political ideologies in the military are varied, but in my experience, the military is a very conservative organization — because Brown is among the most liberal campuses in the country. I also think that among enlisted personnel there's a culture of inferiority. People I served just don't see themselves being "smart" enough to study at Brown or any other Ivy, which is unfortunate.LEM413 1 year agoI'm not a vet, but I'm a Tufts University graduate, and one of my good friends who graduated with me is also a USMC vet. They have a program for non-traditional students called the REAL program (http://uss.tufts.edu/undergradEducation/academics/real/), which is basically just a separate admissions process. Other than that, you're a full-fledged Tufts student able to enroll as either a liberal arts or engineering student. As far as the specifics of the admissions process itself, u/beltayn88 can provide more insight into that, since he went through it personally.Tufts is definitely a school that attracts a particular kind of student, in that pretty much everybody is very academically motivated but not competitive in the way that you see in Ivy League schools. I wouldn't have traded my experience there for anywhere else. Their dean has stated that they want to recruit more veterans to attend as well.Why Don’t Top-Tier Colleges Care About Enrolling Veterans (2013)?By Wick SloaneNo veterans here?Photo by Glen Cooper/Getty ImagesThis article originally appeared in Inside Higher Ed.If you can believe it, the number of undergraduate veterans at the nation’s self-proclaimed most highly selective colleges is significantly fewer than we reported in 2011. The total this year: 168*. The * is because, again, too many of these colleges, the 31 invitation-only members of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE), don’t know. The number may bounce again.“Disgraceful and absurd” is what I called the 232 total veterans in 2011. By comparison, the total number of veterans and dependents of veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill rose from 555,329 students in 2011 to 646,302 in 2012. From 232 to 174 to 168—with the nation at war and 118,784 total undergraduate seats at the 31 COFHE colleges.Lost for synonyms, I asked Andrew Bacevich, retired U.S. Army colonel and author of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country, to describe the pitiful count of veterans at selective colleges. Bacevich is an eloquent critic of all of us—we, the people—for letting 1 percent of the population bear the nation’s military burden—fighting, deaths, and wounds.“Here is an issue where the nation's most prestigious institutions should demonstrate some leadership,” Bacevich said. “With a very few admirable exceptions, they have failed to do so. That failure is nothing less than shameful.” (Listen to Bacevich on The Colbert Report and on Moyers & Company.)Some colleges had been including the combined totals of both veterans and veteran dependents and family members using the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill in their count of veteran students. In 2011, Cornell University reported 48 veterans, with just one confirmed veteran this year. Duke University reported 22 veterans in 2011 and one this year. Rice University originally reported having 27 veterans last year but then amended that number to one veteran last year and one this year. Northwestern University reported 45 undergraduates who are either veterans or dependents, with the administration relying on a student group to sort out the details.Lows for 2013: Yale University, two. Princeton University, one. Williams College, zero. Swarthmore College, zero. Harvard University—which did not reply to last year’s survey—reported 19 veterans this year but did not clarify whether that number includes dependents. The 27 veterans that Stanford University originally reported turned out to include dependents, and the administration hasn’t clarified the number yet.Highs: University of Pennsylvania, 35. Georgetown University, 25—with 81 total traditional and nontraditional undergraduates, including veterans and active-duty military. Johns Hopkins University, 23. Washington University in St. Louis, 20. University of Rochester, 16. Dartmouth College, 14—one down from last year.“Veterans can’t do the work,” an Ivy League president told me a few years ago.Again, there have been too many evasions and excuses and circumlocutions for one column. Yale President Peter Salovey didn’t think the question of why Yale has just two veterans was worth much time. Or Columbia, which again proclaimed unquestionable success with “about 300” veterans in its School of General Studies program. (This is separate from its main undergraduate college, Columbia College.) Or Columbia, again, declining to reply to the following questions: “Why can’t veterans get a degree from Columbia College, too?” and “What is the endowment of Columbia College versus the endowment of the School of General Studies?”Two years ago, Vassar College President Catharine Hill and Posse Foundation founder Debbie Bial created a program to encourage veteran enrollment. Yet of all the COFHE colleges, only Wesleyan University has joined the program so far. Why are so many prestigious schools reluctant to enroll veterans?“Veterans can’t do the work,” an Ivy League president told me a few years ago. (This was not at a press event or in an interview, so I won’t out the individual.) But many other university administrators begged to differ.“Generally devaluing the demonstrated abilities of the men and women who commit to national service is as ugly as the coarsest racism, sexism, etc., that presumably this same leader wouldn't be caught dead expressing. For shame,” said Jon Burdick, the University of Rochester’s dean of admissions and financial aid. “Anybody who wants to say that should be required to provide proof—including proof that guiding enrolling veterans to success on their campus would be a greater burden than the significant efforts they voluntarily make in guiding their underrepresented minority students, varsity athletes, and legacy children of major donors.”“I don’t see any evidence of that,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth. “The average veteran entering college is in his or her late 20s or early 30s; many have been through a very intense experience serving overseas, and all have incredible training from the military. The workload at a highly selective college or university, while different, may seem easy to them! And unlike the typical 18-year-old first-year college student who comes straight from high school, veterans have had a number of extra years to consider their future and decided that they really want to go to college now.”Swarthmore College had zero veterans enrolled this year, and the reply from President Rebecca Chopp joined the chorus of the usual excuses. The Swarthmore situation troubles me on two counts: First, I don't see how institutions that benefit from so many federal programs and policies, from Pell Grants to research funding with generous overhead to tax-deducted donations and a tax-free endowment, can neglect the young men and women we have all sent to war. Second, working with returning veterans is part of what I do as a Quaker. Incidentally, Quakers founded Swarthmore in 1864.I wrote to Chopp:Williams, where I went, has zero veterans, has no spiritual or moral traditions. Trustees there refuse to discuss or wonder why I am asking. I can't give that pass to Swarthmore. I don't need to list to you, I know, why Swarthmore would seek a higher standard than Williams. The usual obfuscation is that a college would be happy to take veterans but none are applying. We both know that a college would need to recruit this population. And we both know, I think, that selective colleges, especially those as wealthy as Swarthmore, have exactly as many of certain types of students—soccer players, chemists, oboists—as they choose to have.Chopp’s reply:We are geared in our work toward undergraduates in the age range of 18-22 and that fact sometimes makes choosing us less likely for older veterans. In recent years we have been focused on the children of veterans and we have at present seven children of veterans enrolled, which is a part of the support that veterans and their families seek and need. The community colleges and the large state and research universities are better able to enroll large numbers at once.My rebuttal: Preposterous. For more than a decade, the U.S. has been a nation at war. Focusing on 18- to 22-year-olds is a decision by Swarthmore, not the hand of fate. Until the wars are over and the veterans healed, Swarthmore, a Quaker college, could decide to welcome and accommodate 100, even 200, veterans. Would Swarthmore accept a tax on its endowment to support veterans at community colleges? An institution supported by federal aid and tax policies shouldn’t relegate 18- to 22-year-olds to war with no responsibility to support those students on their return.Chopp: “We are only able to enroll smaller numbers given our class size and the commitment to a broad range of access to the liberal arts experience that we exercise.”In the eyes of Swarthmore, then, students of talent who have chosen not to serve their country are equal in diversity to those who have?Chopp: “In our history the largest numbers of veterans we accommodated came after the Second World War, as many who were our students before enlisting in that war returned. Those numbers are less likely in this modern era.”“Less likely”? With 646,302 veterans and dependents using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Swarthmore made room for just seven dependents and no veterans.Top CommentThis doesn't surprise me for undergrads. If you're the type that will normally get into an Ivy League college, you're probably the officer type, not the type to enlist at 18. More...214 Comments Join InStill, I did find some good news. This year, Stanford’s summer school will include a program for up to 20 veterans to build their academic skills. That’s the result of several years of advocacy by William Treseder, a Marine combat veteran and Stanford graduate via community college. (Treseder says he came upon the summer school idea in one of my columns.)And through the Posse program, Vassar enrolled 11 veterans this fall and will enroll as many each year in the future. Wesleyan, a COFHE school, has also signed on. “We found that it was a real challenge to ‘go it alone’ as a single institution,” said Wesleyan’s Roth. “We were impressed by Posse’s veterans program and felt that joining forces with them was the best way to enroll more veterans every year.”
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