Reflecting on the Veteran Student Experience

Joseph Babajan

Joseph Babajan served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a pilot for 10 years before joining DePaul’s MBA program at the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. His travels as an aviator took him to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, East Timor, Thailand, Japan, Chile and various other places around the globe. Today, pursuing the MBA’s international business concentration, Babajan is working toward an international career in the defense and aerospace industry.

Why did you decide to study business?

I had achieved my life-long dream of serving as an aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps. I got to work as a liaison officer and flight planner in many international locations and that inspired me to want to conduct business in the international arena. I felt that I could couple my unique leadership experiences and technical knowledge with business and achieve great things. I was drawn to business due to the teamwork and leadership nature it entails. Solving fast-paced and very complex problems was a daily feature of my career in the Marine Corps, so I was easily attracted to the problem-solving aspects of business.

How is the college experience different for veterans?

College is definitely experienced differently by veterans. Through their time in the military, veterans collect a highly unique set of experiences. Serving in the military propels a person into a realm of great responsibility with global scope. These experiences have a profound impact on veterans and provide them a rich set of skills and ideas that they bring to their educational programs after serving.

What advice do you give veterans on how their training could apply to studying and pursuing careers in business?

Serving in the military trains individuals to serve as part of a greater team and to lead that team. Veterans, whether they realize it, have already accomplished great feats of leadership when compared to their peers. Veterans also had great responsibility and accountability while serving. Whether it was being in charge of a $90 million aircraft with 30 lives on board or leading a platoon, we veterans were entrusted with a level of responsibility few ever experience. This training and discipline can and must be channeled into the realm of academia and business. Veterans are so highly sought after by businesses because of their incomparable experiences.

How was your experience transitioning to DePaul as a veteran student?

DePaul has been a wonderful experience and an exciting transition for me as I have shifted out of active duty. The veteran community at DePaul welcomed me from day one, and even before that, as I was already talking to veterans here a year before I started the program. They helped me get my benefits and paperwork in order and answered questions I had about life and academics at DePaul. This diverse group of people has served as a useful resource to me and really helped to ease my transition back to school.

Learn more about DePaul’s MBA in international business.


Posted on

November 11, 2019