From battlefield to business

Katie Robertson.

It’s a tricky balancing act for a married couple to pursue MBA degrees while also raising three young children. Yet for Katie and Colin Robertson it’s nothing compared with what they experienced during 10 years of active duty in the U.S. Army.

The Robertsons, both West Point graduates, are among the 36 veterans enrolled in the full-time MBA program at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Veterans make up about 20 percent of the program’s class every year.

Carlson stands out nationwide in its support for veterans—with an on-staff military coordinator, veteran-specific career counseling, and a pool of scholarships.

About eight years ago, two Carlson alumni and Vietnam vets—Bill Van Dyke, ’68 BA, ’76 MBA, and Bill Walter, ’66 BS, ’72 MBA—began talking about how they could help young men and women who were returning to civilian life after serving in the current conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan. 

From that conversation came the Carlson School Military Veterans Initiative. To date it has raised $10 million in scholarships for veterans. This support has been crucial for students like the Robertsons, who will each graduate this May.

“We couldn’t do this program together full-time without scholarship support,” says Katie Robertson. “It has made all the difference.”

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University of Minnesota, Twin Cities