With only 16 months remaining in the military my transition to civilian life is fast approaching. 16 months sounds like ample time, but I already have plenty going on, including:

  1. Completing a rigorous masters degree with Creighton University.
  2. Already being engaged in a full-time career with the U.S. Army.
  3. Planning on sitting for the CFA Level 3 Exam in 8.44 months.
  4. Going to Oktoberfest this weekend and spending the night in Munich.

Well, maybe #4 isn’t too demanding but it will still take time which is fast becoming a precious commodity as my transition looms. There are resources to assist transitioning soldiers such as TAP (Transition Assistance Program). I haven’t been to TAP yet, but I have not heard great things about it. The problem with TAP seems to be that it is a one-size-fits-all type program for all soldiers transitioning. I will still use TAP, because there will be some useful information for me. However, I don’t think it will be sufficient to help me achieve my goal of becoming a financial analyst.

This is why I need to network like a ninja and look at alternative programs to help me reach my goals.

Here are the five main resources I plan on using and my progress within each of them:

  1. Reaching out to my fellow classmates in Creighton’s MIMFA program (Investment Management and Financial Analysis). I am already speaking to one on a regular (quarterly) basis. I won’t reveal his name, or details to protect the innocent, except that he works within the fixed income world and has been an absolute Godsend for me. I plan on reaching out to a few more of my classmates in the near future.
  2. Reaching out to my professors from Creighton University and the Career services center. I am certain that my professors will have some sage advice for me and they always seem eager to help.
  3. LinkedIn. This is what LinkedIn is for, right? In particular, the Veteran Mentor Network group on LinkedIn seems especially active and useful. This is a good place to ask questions as there always seem to be tons of people willing to help out and point someone in the right direction.
  4. American Corporate Partners (ACP). ACP is a non-profit organization that helps veterans transition into corporate America. This program is awesome and it is much better than the one-size-fits-all program that the Army offers. Basically, you fill out a questionnaire, conduct a phone interview with the excellent people at ACP, and they attempt match you up with someone who fits what it is you are trying to do. I am currently the happy protégé of a veteran from a major financial firm. I was not sure what to expect from ACP, but I was blown away by the program. It really has exceeded my expectations. If you are a transitioning veteran I highly recommend ACP.
  5. The CFA Society of Cincinnati. This one is a bit difficult considering I am currently living in the middle of Bavaria. I currently have a student membership with the CFA Society of Cincinnati. They hold events on roughly a monthly basis. These events are usually luncheons with a guest speaker. I would love to go to any of these, but have not had a chance yet. The CFA Society of Cincinnati also sends out job postings which give me insight into what firms in Cincinnati are looking for. I have 16 months remaining to refine my skill set to better match what these job postings are looking for.

As you can see, I have much work to do. Time to get busy.