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Washington State University
Dividend - Fall 2022 Graduate Education

Helping Veterans Build a Better Future

By Matt Beer

Photo by WSU Photo Services

Reimagining your career can be exciting and scary for anyone, but for America’s military veterans, it can be even more daunting. Ian Roe, an intelligence analyst with the US Air Force, enrolled in the Carson College online MBA program through WSU’s Global Campus to set himself up for success for life after the military.

What he found out about himself came as a surprise. “When I decided to leave the Air Force,” says Roe, “I quickly learned there was a lot I didn’t know about entering the civilian workforce.”

Data drives development of meaningful resources for student veterans

Each year some 200,000 veterans leave the military, and regardless of their length of service, the process can be thrilling, rewarding, and disorienting all at the same time. At least 35 percent of our student veterans are actively transitioning from the military to corporate America. A key goal of the Carson MBA Veterans program is to help them develop the tactical skills required to make that leap to be successful in tomorrow’s business world.

A survey for incoming student veterans helps to identify gaps in student knowledge and confidence and steer development of meaningful services and programs. Over the past two years, survey results have shown personal branding skills like LinkedIn, networking, and résumé writing are top concerns for Carson’s student veterans.

Carson MBA Veterans program offers personal brand coaching

To meet these unique needs, Carson MBA Veterans has partnered with personal brand coach Holly Connley. With over a decade of experience coaching students in higher education, Connley brings fresh insights to help students create their personal brand. “Personal branding efforts should focus on an authentic representation of your unique character, skills, and attributes,” says Connley.

The Carson MBA Veterans program has developed a variety of highly personalized offerings to help military students fulfill this vision including résumé reviews, LinkedIn consultations, customized mock interviews with industry, and specialized topic webinars. All are designed to meet student veterans where they are in their journey. “Oftentimes,” shares Connley, “when people start shaping their personal brand, they look at their past to define it. When I work with student veterans, I encourage them to embrace the transition by focusing on where they’re going.”

Carson student veterans have responded enthusiastically. In 2021, 112 MBA students participated in Connley’s offerings, with 35 involved in three or more activities. Those 112 students represent a very real need and are a key differentiator from other online MBA programs.

Roe couldn’t agree more. “Ms. Connley helped me reimagine my résumé, coached me through LinkedIn, and provided me networking skills that supported my trip to the annual MBA Veterans Conference,” he says. “I separated from the Air Force in July 2022 and have a new role as a senior consultant with Guidehouse’s National Security Segment in Washington, D.C.”

Carson MBA Veterans program leaders are pleased to see the skills and confidence students are gaining and look forward to deepening relationships with alumni and corporate partners.

For more information on how you can support the Carson MBA Veterans program, please contact Matt Beer, Carson’s military and veteran affairs manager, at

When I decided to leave the Air Force, I quickly learned there was a lot I didn’t know about entering the civilian workforce.
– Ian Roe


Ian Roe
Courtesy of Ian Roe
Holly Connely
Courtesy of Holly Connley