Wharton helps students accelerate their careers whether they are staying in the military, planning a future transition, or working in the private sector.

Mary Youpel, WG’23

Currently

Policy Advisor, American Petroleum Institute

Based In

Washington, D.C.

Wharton Campus

Philadelphia

Prior Education

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S. Natural Resources
  • Louisiana State University, Master’s in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Master’s in Public Administration

Military Experience

“I commissioned through the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Officer Candidate School Program in 2017, and served in the NOAA Corps. My job was to drive a research vessel for NOAA from Mexican waters to Canadian waters in the Atlantic, conducting oceanographic studies. Then, I moved to the U.S. House of Representatives, where I worked on the congressional committee with oversight and jurisdiction over the NOAA Corps. I worked on ocean, coastal, and natural resources legislation and policy. Now, I’m a policy advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API) and I work on policy and government relations for maritime and marine-related projects.”

Why an MBA?

“Working at API, which represents all segments of the oil and gas industry, I wanted to obtain the business acumen necessary to understand member perspectives and be able to advocate for sound policies. I came to Wharton because it is the best business school with great opportunities to learn from successful and motivated classmates.”

Value of Wharton for Military Students

“Military students bring a special type of leadership training to the program, which we share with our classmates. We also benefit from learning from classmates who are leaders in very different settings. A big reason why I came to Wharton was the focus on leadership and the McNulty Leadership Program.”

Military Benefits and Network

“In addition to the application fee waiver, I am using the GI BILL® and the Basic Allowance for Housing. There are around a dozen military students in my cohort and we connect through our own communication channel about things like career transitions and military benefits.”


Caroline Chapdelaine, WG’22

Currently

Supplier Program Manager, L3Harris Technologies

Based In

Salt Lake City

Wharton Campus

San Francisco

Prior Education

University of Colorado at Boulder, B.A. Political Science

Military Experience

“I was commissioned by the University of Colorado Boulder’s ROTC as a military intelligence officer in the Army. I served in South Korea and Thailand. Then I was stationed in Washington and took over a platoon of 20 multi-functional intel soldiers. I was in charge of getting that platoon trained and cohesive before we deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. During my time in Washington, I met my wife. When we both returned from Afghanistan, we got out of the service, and became zip-line guides in Alaska and then farmers in New Zealand. Eventually, we returned to Utah and joined the corporate world. I got my foot in the door in the private sector because of my military background and am now working in the defense and aerospace industry.”

Why an MBA?

“I wanted an MBA to broaden and hone my skills as a leader in the defense and aerospace industry. It is hard to match this great of an education West of the Mississippi River, so Wharton’s San Francisco campus was the best and only choice for me. I also chose Wharton because I wanted to sharpen my financial skills, and Wharton is known for its strength in finance. When I visited the San Francisco campus, I found it very welcoming and felt like I would have a home here.”

Value of Wharton for Military Students

“Wharton is like the Military 2.0. When I went into the military, I met a diverse group of people from many backgrounds and learned so much because of them. Wharton is a similar experience. In addition to students who are veterans, there are people from all different industries, functionalities, and experiences. It has broadened my horizons more than I could ever have anticipated.”

Military Benefits and Network

“I used the application fee waiver as well as the GI BILL® and Yellow Ribbon Program. The network of military students is very strong and we have our own Slack channel. A challenge for many vets is that we do not speak the language of private business or corporations when we come out of the military. Having this network allows us to help each other and ask the right questions. There are about 25 military students across the East and West Coast cohorts, and we represent all of the services.”


Paulo Dutra, WG’22

Currently

Technology Architect, In-Q-Tel

Based In

Washington, D.C.

Wharton Campus

Philadelphia

Prior Education

  • U.S. Air Force Academy, B.S. Legal Studies
  • Stanford University, Master’s in Management Science and Engineering

Military Experience

“I joined the Air Force in 2005 and separated in 2017. I enlisted after I dropped out of college and served for two years as a mental health technician. Then, I went to the U.S. Air Force Academy to finish my undergraduate degree and became an Air Force Special Agent on a FBI Cyber Task Force. While with the FBI, I ran counterintelligence operations against nation state-sponsored hacking syndicates. I currently work at In-Q-Tel, a strategic investment firm dedicated to connecting the intelligence community with world-class, early-stage technology companies.”

Why an MBA?

“Working at the intersection of technology, venture capital, and national security means that the stakes are high and I have to be at the top of my game. Whatever room I am in, I want to provide value to all my stakeholders and be a great partner for my founders. Not having a business background was a professional gap for me. I came to this program to bolster my business chops by learning fundamentals from the best finance faculty in the world. I’ve always believed that if you want to be the best at what you are doing, you have to go where the best people are.” 

Value of Wharton for Military Students

“Our national security depends on American business interests and vice versa. As these worlds become even more intertwined in the future, Wharton’s program will continue to grow in value. I also wanted to be exposed to folks who have led impactful businesses and are facing tough questions around issues related to cybersecurity in their industry. These perspectives have added a ton of value in my current role at In-Q-Tel.”

Military Benefits and Network

“I’m using the Yellow Ribbon Program, the GI BILL®, and the Basic Allowance for Housing. I also used the application fee waiver. There is a strong and supportive military presence in my class that includes several people who are on active duty. There are probably a dozen active military or recently separated veterans in my class on both coasts. Our Slack channel has been a great resource for help with navigating VA benefits and the program overall. I am grateful to be a part of Wharton’s tight-knit military community.”


Mike Struthers, WG’21

Currently

Senior Business Development Manager, Microsoft

Based In

Seattle, WA

Wharton Campus

San Francisco

Prior Education

  • U.S. Coast Guard Academy, B.S. Marine and Environmental Science
  • The George Washington University, MPA, Federal Policy, Politics, and Management

Military Experience

“I joined the U.S. Coast Guard to help others. As a young boy, I watched helicopters patrolling the beaches to find people to save, and as I got older, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I went to the Coast Guard Academy from high school; and after serving on a buoy-tender, attended flight school. I spent the next several years as a rescue helicopter pilot, ultimately qualifying as an instructor, training the next generation of pilots and crews. I soon found myself interested in how the Coast Guard operated as an enterprise and wanted to have a bigger strategic impact. I applied for a service-sponsored post-graduate program and earned my Master’s in Public Administration. My follow-on assignment was at Coast Guard Headquarters where I worked on a variety of strategic policy and performance management issues, across the enterprise and with partner agencies. Prior to my retirement, I was selected to be the Chief of Aviation Forces for the Pacific Area, managing the Coast Guard’s aviation fleet for the West Coast region on both a strategic and tactical level.”

Why an MBA?

“Getting an MBA was a key part of my transition from the Coast Guard. The military afforded me many opportunities to manage and lead teams and I wanted to hone those skills for the private sector. I also wanted to enhance my business acumen as I began my transition to the technology industry. A formal business education from Wharton would be essential for preparing for those opportunities and challenges.”

Value of Wharton for Military Students

“Wharton stands out for its strong brand, academic rigor, and top-notch faculty. And while the learning from the academic professors was amazing, the ability to learn from a diverse cohort was just as fantastic. I gained deep insights from classmates who were eager to share their time and professional experiences with me as I thought about my transition and where I can add value. Wharton’s EMBA program also has an incredible career management program, which is valuable coming from the military, since I’m now exploring a wider range of opportunities as I transition to the private sector. In addition, the alumni network continues to be incredible. Everyone is willing to help. I can’t tell you how many people have taken my calls or emails, and everyone is looking to offer assistance where they can.”

Military Benefits and Network

“I used the application fee waiver and the GI BILL®. I was already receiving the Basic Allowance for Housing because I was on active duty. The Wharton EMBA staff was very supportive and accommodating. I never had to worry about the processing of military benefits. There were other military students at various stages of their journey at Wharton and all of them were impressive. During our Orientation Week on the Philadelphia campus, somehow nearly all of the military students ended up sitting together at dinner one night. We realized every branch was represented within our cohort. There’s also the Wharton Veterans Club on the East Coast and my class was invited to attend their events virtually.”


Matthew Anthony, WG’18

Recently

Director, Pinkston Strategy

Based In

Boston, MA

Wharton Campus

San Francisco

Prior Education

U.S. Naval Academy, B.S. Information Technology

Military Experience

“I served in the military for 15 years: four years as a Surface Warfare Officer and 11 more as a Navy SEAL. During this time, I had the opportunity to do many jobs, from operations officer of a PC-1 Cyclone Class Patrol Craft to Deputy Commander of Special Operations Command Central Forward Yemen. Similarly, I have experience conducting a broad spectrum of missions, ranging from traditional counter terrorism operations to humanitarian relief planning and coordination. I’ve deployed six times, all but one was to CENTCOM.”

Why an MBA?

“I always planned to transition out of the military and to experience a business career in the private sector.  However, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, or even what options were available to me.  Pursuing an executive MBA enabled me to boost my business expertise and collect more information while maintaining my career trajectory.”

Value of Wharton for Military Students

“Wharton helped me to translate my military experience to business acumen, develop new problem-solving techniques, and build a strong network outside the federal sector. Wharton served as a career pivot point; it empowered me to re-cast my military experience in a business context and provided the credibility to pursue a job in a totally different industry. In general, the military does a great job cultivating strong leaders and decision makers.  However, the judicious use of empirical evidence and deliberate analysis to solve tough problems is less emphasized. Wharton, being a program known for its financial and analytical rigor, helped me to be a better decision maker by expanding and improving my analytical skill set. I also built life-long friendships with my classmates, and they formed the core of my professional network when I transitioned out of the military.  My success has been a product of their advice, support, and coaching.”

Military Benefits and Network

“I remained on active duty while completing my MBA.  I felt that this allowed me to maximize my experience in the program; I did not want to be learning a new job and going to school at the same time.  Therefore, I used the post-9/11 GI BILL® for tuition, but [at that time] I was ineligible for the generous Yellow Ribbon matching program offered at Wharton. Wharton, above all other business schools that I considered, was the most understanding and supportive of the military community.  The staff and faculty are well acquainted with the value that veterans bring to the classroom and the challenges that they face during transition.  Consequently, the network of veterans at Wharton is a tight-knit, accomplished, and expansive group.”

— By Meghan Laska

Posted: November 1, 2021

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