IAVA & the Fullbridge Program: Week 2 Reflections
Posted by Christina Kim on January 17
After two intense weeks, the first cohort of IAVA members in the Fullbridge Program's Business Immersion Program have been on a wild ride. They've experienced failures and successes, lows and highs, and - above all - the opportunity to both use and build upon the skills and experience they gained in the military to succeed in an intensive business bootcamp.
"My military experience has greatly aided me in this program because it has given me a level of focus that is crucial in absorbing the intense 8 hours of information presented," said James Wang, a Communication Watch Officer in the Marine Corps at the National Military Command Center.
He added that, in addition to the focus, teamwork and leadership that have been key to succeeding in the program, "these are skills that I have honed in the military and they have served me well in accomplishing the objectives of the Fullbridge Program."
For Evan Bruno, a former Navy Intelligence Officer, the program has meant learning to jump from one concept to the next and to keep the final project or goal in sight:
"Being able to rise above the initial frustration and get to a point where I understood the topic has been immensely satisfying."
He has also said that participating in the program is akin to drinking from the "proverbial 'fire hose' of information."
"It's been very comparable to on-the-job training, or learning through total immersion, which is a frequent occurence in the military," he said.
Despite the challenges in learning new concepts, such as analyzing financial statements and the significance of projected cash flows in relation to interest rates, the cohort has been supportive of one another - and has had support from Fullbridge coaches and staff.
For Jessica Aranda, a former Marine Sergeant, the diverse experiences of Fullbridge staff and coaches has brought a unique perspective to her experience:
"They each bring a unique and impressive cache of knowledge from previous industry and academic experiences: Harvard Business School, Google, McKinsey & Company, and Goldman Sachs to name a few."
She added: "The past 10 days have provided a forum for learning more about myself as an individual, a leader and team member."
The intensive curriculum and demanding schedule has also brought up memories and reflections of the emotional ups and downs of being assigned to a new unit: "an initial influx of energy and excitement" followed by challenges - and future successes.
"We're very fortunate," said Todd Hendricks, a former Navy Petty Officer. "All of us have answered our generation’s call to duty. A very small percentage of the population can make that claim."
Bruno echoed that sentiment. With the perseverance these vets have learned in the military, it's quickly become a "business asset and also a key foundation of the IAVA cohort’s success at Fullbridge thus far."
Though the Member Veterans have one more week remaining in the program, they had the chance to be recognized for their participation in a celebratory reception on Tuesday, January 15 in Boston, Massachusetts, at the Omni Parker House Hotel. Joined by IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff, the co-CEO's of the Fullbridge Program Candice and Peter Olson, IAVA staff, and other business leaders in the Boston-area, the vets had an opportunity to share and celebrate their experiences and to connect with other Boston-area Member Veterans.
In just the last year, IAVA has connected hundreds of veterans with employers through innovative career fairs, helped over 10,000 veterans go to college on the New GI Bill, and provided mental health support to over 50,000 veterans—all at no cost to Member Veterans. Programs like these are only made possible through your generous support. Fight for those who fought for us and help us keep these resources and benefits completely free for new veterans and their families. DONATE >>
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