Professional MBA program alumnus Jared Evans (’12 UofSC sport and entertainment management, ’17 MBA) combined his military experience with the business skills he gained from his MBA to lead veteran initiatives at the University of South Carolina.
Evans, officially the executive director of military engagement & veteran initiatives, took advantage of the business acumen he gained while in the Professional MBA program to elevate veteran and military visibility, programming and support.
“Earning my MBA had a direct impact on my ability to develop a business plan that was presented to university leadership to explore the creation of a new department that would oversee a university-wide strategy responsible for supporting and growing our footprint into the veteran and military community,” he said. “My military experience, like all veterans, provided me with perspective and courage to take a risk and pursue an opportunity that many felt and advised me wouldn’t be successful.”
Evans engages with corporate and private sector leaders across multiple industries to try to bolster support for the university’s military and veteran initiatives and to recruit military personnel and veterans to get their degrees at UofSC.
“For what I’ve done with the university within the veteran and military community, communicating who our market segment is and developing strategies of market penetration have been aspects of the program that I’ve utilized the most,” he says. “Also, connecting and embedding these strategies into the larger university-wide strategy and understanding the landscape of higher education as an industry has been invaluable.”
In addition to the hard skills he learned as part of the Professional MBA program, Evans said he also gained an invaluable network that includes strong business professionals across a variety of industries.
He commends the program’s “dedicated” faculty, who he said help MBA candidates grow while also understanding the multiple responsibilities their students are carrying.
Evans said he decided to enroll in the Professional MBA program because financially, he couldn’t quit his job. He encourages individuals who think it would be too much to balance MBA coursework and a full-time job, along with a family, to take the opportunity the Professional MBA program offers.
“Between three kids and work, there were certainly times that were challenging to balance my coursework,” he said. “However, once I got into a rhythm, everything flowed and went very smooth.”
Balancing multiple responsibilities was nothing new to Evans, who was in the U.S. Marines from 2005-2009; he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2007-2008. Immediately following the end of his service in the Marines, Evans enrolled at South Carolina to get his undergraduate degree in sport and entertainment management. Before his role directing military and veteran initiatives, Evans worked as a UofSC Athletics Department legal liaison 2012-2018.
Through his time as an undergraduate student and his work in athletics, Evans was able to see the need for a more cohesive strategy to support military members and veterans.
Since Evans’ current position was created in 2018, South Carolina has been bolstering efforts to attract and retain veterans. A recent initiative included opening the Veteran and Military Center for Excellence, the new home for UofSC’s veteran and military-affiliated student population in the Byrnes Building across from the Horseshoe.
While Evans advocates for military service members and veterans across the university, he also suggests veterans and military service members consider the Professional MBA program so they can continue developing their skills while gaining a competitive edge.
“It’s clear that veterans bring to their organizations hard and soft skills and are viewed as value-adds, regardless of the industry, and that’s certainly true in the business sector,” he said. “This is reinforced by the number of Fortune 100 and 500 companies that have strategies dedicated to identifying and hiring veterans. So, the combination of military experience with an MBA makes our community members a sought-after commodity in a competitive workplace.”