Wisconsin veterans, you might have more military benefits available to you than you think! Learn how these Army veterans capitalized on military benefits to earn their DBA.

Ryan Moore at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan in 2014.

Ryan Moore, of Neenah, enlisted in the U.S. Army directly after graduating from high school. He says he didn’t have the emotional maturity at the time to tackle higher education. He certainly didn’t think he would engage in much more than a few years of schooling beyond what was required.

Now, after 17 years of military service, he has three degrees under his belt – one bachelor’s and two master’s degrees – and he’s en route to his fourth degree, a Doctor of Business Administration from Concordia University Wisconsin.

Capitalizing on military benefits

Ryan Moore

Suffice it to say Moore has morphed into a man who makes the most of his opportunities and potential. It’s surprising then that he almost unwittingly left some of his earned military benefits on the table.

When he began to research doctoral programs a couple of years ago, he was prepared to pay out of pocket for the terminal degree.

“I assumed I had maxed out the credits available to me under the GI Bill at that point,” Moore said.

“As a veteran, if you’re interested in a school or a program, really be sure to check in on the benefits,” he continued. “If not at the school, then check in with your county representatives. Sometimes you just don’t know until you reach out.”

It wasn’t until Moore began the application process at Concordia and connected with CUW’s Veteran Services Office that he learned about a 2020 bill Gov. Tony Evers passed. The Wisconsin Veterans Grant for Private Non-Profit Schools extends similar benefits as the WI GI Bill to private and independent universities in the state.

Professional advancement

This grant, combined with Concordia’s extremely generous military credit transfer policy, has allowed Moore to rise in the ranks as a civilian. Over the summer, he landed a new job as Director of Human Resources and Operations at Northwestern Mutual. He had just enrolled in CUW’s DBA program when he was interviewing for the position. Undoubtedly, his doctoral pursuit helped push his name to the top of the candidate list.

“It shows that I take my education very seriously,” Moore said. “It offers me a specialized set of skills that I’m able to put towards this company. Especially within HR, it’s important to be that scholar-practitioner and understand why we do what we do.”

Like Moore, other veterans have flocked to CUW’s DBA program as a way to help them advance their careers. James Trazile and CJ James, both U.S. Army veterans, are anticipating the degree will open doors to new job prospects in the government realm.

Trazile served eight years in the U.S. Army and left active duty this past summer. He now works as a Rating Veterans Service Representative for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“The DBA definitely opens up better prospects for me,” Trazile said. “The VA has many opportunities once I earn that degree.”

CJ James

James, a Milwaukee native, echoed Trazile’s sentiment. She currently serves as a civilian in human resources at the Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion. She ended her term of active duty in 2013 after 10 years with the Army.

“With the federal government, you can apply for higher-level jobs with a doctoral degree,” she said. “The fact that Concordia’s DBA is online makes it as convenient as possible for me to earn my degree without interfering too much with my work life and my responsibilities as a mom.”

The Concordia DBA difference

James Trazile

For all three military veterans, the online format of CUW’s DBA program was a key part of their decision to enroll. 

Trazile presently lives on the East Coast. However, the Haitian native considers Wisconsin his home and he’d eventually like to return to the Badger State.

Even from afar, Concordia has provided a hospitable environment for him.   

“Every time I come back to campus I always feel welcome and I always feel like it is somewhere I belong. I started my Concordia journey as an MBA student, and I wanted to continue to be a part of the Concordia family through the DBA program.”

When push came to shove, the convenience of an online program ultimately won out for Moore as well. He had plenty of options when it came to earning his doctorate. He was seriously considering a PhD from the University of Notre Dame for a while, but his commitment to his family and raising two young children made it difficult for him to justify relocating to Indiana for a degree. He’s been pleased to find that the quality of CUW’s program has lived up to his standards of excellence.

Moore cited additional selling points for the CUW program:

  • Access to experts: “I have a research advisor with whom I get to meet regularly. This individual is clearly an expert in the field. …I ran into Drs. (Matt and Laura) Hurtienne at the most recent Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) state conference. I think they were presenters. It makes a big difference to have direct access to people who know their stuff.”
  • Curriculum above the curve: “(This program) really immerses you in all the theories and latest research. All the data that Concordia has shown me, I truly believe that this program is above the curve, and it probably will be the next MBA.”
  • Online, but not impersonal: “With some of my previous (online graduate) experiences, I didn’t meet my cohort until I walked, but with Concordia I really appreciated getting to know people before we even started this journey.” While Concordia’s DBA program is online, there are two requisite on-campus residencies at the start and midway through the program to encourage relationship building and networking. 
  • Solid care and support: “I’ve just been blown away by the support and the generosity at Concordia. People are so nice, and I’ve been so impressed with everyone I’ve interacted with at Concordia.”

Want in?

If you’re feeling inspired to earn your doctorate, learn more about Concordia’s DBA by clicking below.