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Grant will help USF St. Pete veterans earn MBAs

ST. PETERSBURG — The University of South Florida, known for being one of the nation's most friendly schools for student veterans, just received a new grant that will help make it easier on those students to pursue master's degrees in business.

The Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), is giving USF St. Petersburg $400,000 for two years, funding a prep course for that test, a workshop on veterans returning to higher education and some scholarships.

Called "Leading in a Civilian Context: A Socially Responsible MBA for Returning Veterans," the program will also integrate principles of corporate social responsibility into coursework. That's a major tenant in USF St. Pete's MBA program.

"I want them to be responsible leaders in the business environment," said project director Alison Watkins, associate dean for graduate education at USF St. Pete's business college. "Whether they become managers and CEOs of local companies or CEOs of local non-profits. I want them to be leaders."

It's expected to cover 20 veterans, said USF St. Pete spokesman Tom Scherberger.

"We hope the program will be a model that can be replicated across the country wherever there is a significant veteran population," Scherberger said.

The university will begin recruiting students for the program in June, which means students can start taking classes in the fall.

Michael Partridge hopes he is one of them.

Partridge, a 24-year-old Iraq veteran finishing up an applied sciences undergraduate program at USF Tampa, is eager to get started on his master's. Having to take a full course load this spring and again this summer, Partridge was nervous about having to take the GMAT entry test.

"It's a lot more intense than you think it is," he said. "It's been kind of stressful for me."

That is, until he heard about the help on the way through this new grant. Now, he's excited.

What does he want to do when he finishes?

Something in business, something where he can use his leadership skills.

And, he says, "I want to work with veterans."

Kim Wilmath can be reached at or 813-226-3337.

Grant will help USF St. Pete veterans earn MBAs 04/17/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 12:01am]
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