Veteran Adventure Orientation


  • Yellow Ribbon Program Participating Institution Benefits
  • Waived Application Fees
  • Armed Forces Association & Campus Student Veterans of America Chapter
  • Merit-based scholarships for Military/Veteran Students
  • Veteran MBA Alumni on staff to advise and advocate for Military/Veteran Students
  • Veteran-centered programming
  • In-state tuition extended to veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States who reside in Maryland and active duty members of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed in Maryland or reside in Maryland

Maryland is one of 15 Centers of Excellence for Veteran Student Success in the nation.

Mike ConnollyThe Smith School's military and veteran initiative is led by Mike Connolly. As director of military and veteran affairs, Connolly serves as a one-stop resource for military and veteran students during their entire association with Smith. As a student moves from curious prospect to current student to working alum, he is there as a resource, confidant and concierge for anything a military-affiliated student may need. Connolly served two tours in Iraq in the United States Army National Guard. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science and government.

“There is no better place for a military or veteran student to get a business education than right here at Smith,” says Connolly. “From our world-class faculty and research to our veteran community, no school can provide the value-add that Smith offers. I am personally available to guide you through the on-boarding process and beyond, and can be reached directly at 301-405-9506 or”

Partnerships and Conferences


TOPSAAC Yellow Ribbon Program Participating Institution

Tips for Military Applicants

Know your benefits

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • Qualifying for in-state tuition
  • Tuition assistance

Use your essay and resume as an opportunity to highlight your military experience

Know your resources

  • Military Education Centers
  • Education Service Officers
  • MD State Yellow Ribbon Program Information
  • Veteran’s Affairs
  • Veteran Student Life
    • The University of Maryland’s Veteran Student Life (VSL) at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union is a wealth of resources. VSL offers information regarding VA Education Benefits, University of Maryland Call Up procedures, counseling, housing, career fairs, financial aid and scholarships, all specifically for military students. In addition, VSL offers transition assistance programs for military transitioning to civilian life, civilians transitioning into military life, and for those transitioning from college to careers.
    • Veteran Student Life is also a place to unwind and relax with peers – the community space includes televisions, computers and printers, free coffee and a study lounge. Through Terp Vets, Maryland’s veterans’ club, military students have a supportive community that focuses on variety of volunteer and social events while building a network that enhances personal and career growth.


  • Annual Veteran’s Day Scholarship Reception and Football Game
  • Veteran’s Week
  • Veteran’s Awareness project
  • Veteran’s Orientation

Our programs


Robert Bloomer“My tuition and fees were completely covered”

Robert Bloomer Captain
United States Marine Corps, Reserve
Smith MBA

Read more about Robert

Unlike most of his classmates, when he graduated from the University of Maryland in May of 2005, Rob Bloomer knew exactly what he wanted to do next — join the Marine Corps. By December, he was commissioned second lieutenant, USMC and was shipped out to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, Calif., where he supervised satellite, radio network and multiplex communications for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. A native of Rockville, Md., Bloomer, 28, was then deployed in Bahrain and Afghanistan during his five-year tour of active duty. He’s currently in the Marine Corps Reserve, stationed at the Air and Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) in Palm Beach, Fla.

Bloomer saw the Smith MBA as the logical next step in transitioning to a civilian career. “Military men and women are ideal MBA candidates,” Bloomer says. In choosing a school, Bloomer says he had two criteria: “Is it in the D.C. area and is it top ranked?” Located about eight miles from the White House in College Park, Md., the Smith School’s MBA program is ranked No. 28 in the U.S. by the Financial Times.
Bloomer liked the Smith MBA for another reason. “About 80 percent of Smith MBA projects are team oriented,” he says, “and teamwork is drilled into us as Marines.” A Maryland native, Bloomer’s tuition and fees are completely covered by the Post 911 GI Bill. He also receives a livings expenses stipend from the GI Bill.

Paul Rodriguez“A great place to be and a great place to be from”

Paul Rodriguez
Lieutenant Commander
United States Coast Guard
Smith MBA

Read more about Paul

One of the defining moments of Paul Rodriguez’s career did not come while he was diving under 12-foot-thick polar ice caps in Antarctica. Rather, the Coast Guard lieutenant commander was seated at a conference table. “It was during a negotiation with a team of shipyard executives,” he recalled, “I suddenly realized my abilities and my interests met in the world of finance. I was looking for that intersection for a long time. It led me to think about what I’d like to do, and what I’m good at. I decided to get my MBA at that conference table.”

With finance and management as his coordinates, Rodriguez set a course that brought him to the full-time Smith MBA program. He says he chose the Smith School because of its strong regional reputation and top rankings. Just as important was the Smith School’s close proximity to Washington, D.C. “If I was going to be a financial manager, I needed to go where financial decisions were being made, and that is D.C.,” he says. “What led me to Smith was the regional reputation it had, as well as going to the campus and working with the staff. It’s a great place to be and a great place to be from. The experience you will have there and the networks you will establish are simply the best.” The Smith School also turned out to be the place where he met a certain MBA classmate, Shawn Rantas, his future wife.

Kristi Zobel“You want a military-friendly school”

Kristi Zobel
Staff Sergeant
United States Army Reserve
Smith MBA

Read more about Kristi

Say you’re scheduled to graduate with an MBA degree in June and start your new job at Booz Allen Hamilton. Suddenly duty calls. You’re being deployed to Afghanistan in March — in the middle of your final semester. The timing couldn’t be worse.

“If that happens to you,” says Staff Sergeant Kristi Zobel, “you want to be in a military-friendly school.” Fortunately for Zobel, she was. “The Smith MBA program staff went above and beyond the call,” she said. “I was immediately put on an improvised fast track to graduation,” she says. To complete the required number of courses for graduation, Smith MBA program staff provided her with the flexibility to take more classes in several locations. “Smith helped me graduate early, which meant that Booz Allen could sign me and I’d have a job to come back to.” She’s currently an associate in the Army Decision Analytics Decision Department at Booz Allen.

“As a military person, I knew Smith was a top-ranked program, but I found out the people there will bend over backward to make it work for current military people. It’s an excellent program with a huge network.”

“If you want to go to school in the D.C. area,” she explains, “the University of Maryland’s Smith School has by far the best value. It’s a top-ranked, high-quality institution with a huge selection of courses and an outstanding faculty.”

Bar Ludlow“I wanted an accelerated transition to a civilian career”

Bart Ludlow
United States Marine Corps (Ret.)
Smith Executive MBA

Read more about Bart

After he made the big decision to retire after 20 years as a Marine Corps aviator, choosing the Smith Executive MBA program was easy for Bart Ludlow. “I started looking for a graduate business program that could provide an accelerated transition to a civilian career” he says. He considered other schools in the area but the Smith Executive MBA (EMBA) turned out to be the perfect fit.

Learning intensely from a small group of seasoned professionals, weekend classes of the Smith EMBA, and the business school’s College Park location were the key motivators for him. “I was able to commute to D.C. from Southern Maryland for class, work full-time and still be home for my family,” Ludlow said.

Currently a program manager at Avian Engineering in Lexington, Md., the Minnesota native explained that military members are uniquely qualified for business management, but making the right career and education decisions after military service is different for every person. “My main purpose of going to business school was to understand how business works, to understand what it takes to succeed in business.”

Ludlow plans to remain in the air defense industry after MBA graduation and make the D.C. region his home, along with his wife and three young children. It’s a region ripe with opportunity and one he’s looked down on from the sky—as a former pilot of the world’s most famous helicopter, Marine One.