Robert Bloomer Captain
United States Marine Corps, Reserve
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.
United States Coast Guard
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.
United States Army Reserve
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.”
United States Marine Corps (Ret.)
Smith Executive MBA
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.
If you’re ready to transition into business leadership, the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business is ready for you.
Getting your Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Science in Business (MS) degree from a top-ranked school is an excellent way to jump-start your civilian career or qualify for new responsibilities in your military career. From understanding veterans’ benefits to dealing with unexpected deployments, you need a program with a proven track record of outstanding service to military members.
The Smith School offers qualified candidates:
- Full-tuition and fees coverage for Maryland residents, including a stipend for books and supplies under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Out-of-state students may be eligible for separate benefits.
- Close proximity to Washington, D.C., a location where employers value your service and experience
- An alumni network 50,000 strong
- Top-ranked programs in convenient locations in College Park, Md., downtown D.C., Rockville, Md. and Baltimore
- A collaborative learning environment
- Top-ranked graduate business programs in a variety of disciplines and degrees
- World-renowned faculty
- Collaborative learning with diverse and ambitious students