AGSM Wandering Warriors Scholarship provides smooth career transition for former military officer, Nicola Hood

Monday, 9 March 2020  @Business School

Nicola Hood has served as an Officer in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps for eight years and has held a variety of roles in Australia and overseas. Her next step, however, has taken her outside of the Military as an inaugural recipient of the Wandering Warriors Scholarship.

Working in partnership with AGSM @ UNSW Business School, Wandering Warriors offers current or former members of the Australian Defence Force a full tuition waiver to complete the AGSM Full-Time MBA program.

Last year, Nicola made the decision to transfer from serving full time in the Army to a civilian life – a move that can prove challenging for many in the Military.

“I found it quite hard to translate my Defence skills into a business context,” she says. “The emphasis that AGSM and UNSW in general puts on military service is great. Receiving the scholarship has given me a lot of confidence in my skills and that they are transferrable to civilian employment.”

Although she is still unsure of exactly what she will do once she finishes, Nicola hopes to utilise the knowledge and skills gained from the MBA, as well as her previous military experience in strategic and operational planning in her future career.

“I am keen to keep working in the health space and am particularly interested in health innovation and international development in the not-for-profit sector.”

The Wandering Warriors scholarship was founded to support the men and women of the Australian Defence Force to make their transition to civilian life easier. As a globally top ranked business school, AGSM has a proven track record of developing veterans into successful business leaders and entrepreneurs – part of the reason why Nicola decided to complete her MBA there.

“It offers so much more than a management degree. To have a program that helps bridge the gap between Defence and business, particularly if you've served for a long time, is invaluable,” Nicola says. “It helps you transition smoothly, rather than just being in uniform one day and in the workforce the next.”

The opportunity to make new connections and learn from her cohort and past scholarship recipients was also a key drawcard for Nicola.

“I didn't grow up in Australia, so I don't have much of a network outside of the Military. Having to leave all of my connections who are essentially family was quite confronting,” she says. “One of the biggest benefits from the MBA for me has been the opportunity to build my network.”

Nicola will have the opportunity to extend her network overseas as well, through the International Exchange program as part of her MBA.

“It is another reason why I wanted to go with AGSM - working in a different environment, learning about different organisations and getting that international experience.”

Five weeks in and by getting to know her cohort, Nicola has realised a range of opportunities she hasn’t considered before.

“My cohort includes people with diverse backgrounds in finance, international development, not for profit, e-commerce, start-ups and various consulting roles – which is something that I'd never considered exploring. Listening to some of the work they've done and projects they've been involved in has been really eye-opening,” says Nicola.

So far, she says, the AGSM MBA has exceeded her expectations.

“It’s a holistic program that goes above and beyond to develop your personal skills and provide networking opportunities. It helps you develop a whole career, rather than just giving you a degree.”

AGSM offers a range of scholarships to support leaders of the future. To read more about them visit: www.agsm.edu.au/scholarships

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