By Audrey McLaughlin White
First year online MBA student and U.S. Air Force Officer, Brian Misuraca, recently founded the Kelley Direct Veterans Association for online MBA and MS students in our program. His motivation was his own experience when exploring MBA programs and his desire for more peer support. He hopes to provide that support for veterans who are considering our program and those who are already in Kelley Direct (KD) with this new association. More from Brian:
Can you tell me about the Veterans' Association and your plans for it?
Founding the Veterans Association goes back to when I was researching Kelley Direct. As a military student, I had concerns on how military life, living overseas, deployments, relocations, and other factors would impact my ability to complete the program. The IU Veterans Support Services staff was extremely helpful but couldn’t offer the peer-to-peer perspective that I needed. And the full-time Kelley Veterans Club couldn’t answer the “virtual student” concerns I had. After my first Kelley Connect Week I began to make connections with other student veterans, and quickly realized that there were many. With the support of the Kelley Direct Student Leadership Association (KDSLA), we formed the Veterans’ Association.
As with every endeavor at KD, the people I have the opportunity to work with make the projects special. Throughout the process, the Veterans’ Association Leadership Team has worked tirelessly, enabling the association to operate at full speed within a matter of months.
The Veterans’ Association is the primary instrument for military students at Kelley to network and collaborate. We are a chartered Student Veterans of America Chapter and are continuously working to connect with other national veterans’ groups as well as local chapters of those organizations. Finally, we provide prospective KD student veterans with a peer-to-peer perspective about the program. We are currently laying groundwork to support career advancement and transitioning support for our members through webinars, events, and strategic alliances with military recruiters. In the future, we hope that those partnerships afford KD student veterans an advantage in the free agent economy.
Why did you choose to pursue your MBA online?
In 2011, while deployed to Afghanistan, I had a lot of time to consider my future. Although I was considering several career options, the common denominator was that an MBA was either required or desirable for all of them. I began to research full-time programs. I thought that my only real opportunity was to complete my service obligation, exit the military, and attend an in-residence program for the next two years…until I stumbled across Kelley Direct.
An MBA is very much a brand decision. Ultimately, my interest in Kelley Direct and my decision to attend came down to one key point: Kelley, recognized that the online MBA was a disruptive innovation over 15 years ago and is at the forefront of a revolution that is drastically changing business education. That was the kind of school I was looking for and wanted to invest my future in.
Earning an MBA while working has also allowed me to apply concepts I learn to my current position. Each class offers more insight on how I can improve my processes and myself as a manager. Consequently, my operation was ranked #1 in the Asia-Pacific region and for my leadership, I was named the top manager.
What advice do you have for new MBA students and those considering our program?
You only get out of the program what you put in. Know what your goals are and take advantage of every opportunity; there are many. Networking events, AGILE study abroad trips, KDSLA and Associations, and career services offerings are just a few of the unique aspects of the KD program. If the opportunity you are seeking doesn’t exist, entrepreneurial spirits rejoice. The faculty and leadership is open to improving everything. I started a new association to help me accomplish my goals. You can too.
About Brian Misuraca
Through eight years of service in the US Air Force, Brian Misuraca has forged a passion for the public sector and government. He is currently stationed in Guam, with his wife and three kids. Brian manages operations that support deployed B-52’s and all stages of planning and execution for military exercises and regional training events in the Pacific. He received my B.S. in Leadership from Penn State and is currently finishing his first year in the Kelley Direct MBA program.
Brian recently received the KDSLA Student of the Month Award for his contributions to our student community as KDSLA's President and Founder & President of the KD Veterans' Association. Under his leadership, the Veteran Association helped the Kelley Direct Program unite Veterans.