I still remember the time that I fell in love with the University of Washington. I had flown in on an impossibly sunny January day in 2014 to attend a “Preview Weekend” of the Foster MBA program with fellow admitted and prospective students, and the President of the Foster Veteran’s Association invited me out for a coffee chat. We discovered that we had both served at the same base in Afghanistan but had missed each other by a few weeks, and we ended up talking for almost 2 hours. After that great conversation, I was convinced. I decided to explore the area and eventually found myself at Drumheller Fountain at sunset, where I was met with the same awe-inspiring view that moved a century of UW students to become more than they thought they could be.
That’s the career advice I’ve heard countless times. Follow your dreams, and the rest will come. If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. When I was in the Air Force, I thought about life on the outside and imagined how great it would be to be your own boss, to be in control of your own destiny. I devoured stories about people starting their own companies, and learned how veterans can be amazing entrepreneurs.
Congratulations on your assignment as an IMA! You’re going to get a lot of advice, take it all with a grain of salt because every position is unique. What worked for me (or for any other IMA) might not work for you.
This is one piece of advice that I got that I will definitely pass on. You don’t want to be an empty uniform — you want to be a contributor to the unit. One of your key benefits is that you have an outside perspective, and you might be able to find solutions to problems that no-one else can see. Go above and beyond on your main projects, but also show that you can think outside of your job description and discover and execute novel solutions…within a limited amount of time.
After a quarter in the MBA program, it's been really eye-opening to see just how well being a 6X-series in the Air Force can translate into the civilian world. However, since there are so few 6X-series officers (development engineers, scientists, acquisition managers, financial managers, contracting officers, etc) in the Air Force, even members of our own service don't know what we do...
The Full-time MBA Class of 2016 at UW is a little over two months into the MBA program and we have finals next week. It's been a good run so far, but the fear of missing out is going to ramp up again next quarter.
Hope someone finds this useful - I had to look around all over the place for this information because the Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA) program is kind of the stepchild of the Reserves. I could find a lot of info for Guardsmen and Trad Reservists, but not so much for IMAs.
Honestly, if you asked me in 2013 I wouldn't be able to tell you what it meant, either. But to a very small fraction of the force, it's a special type of reservist: the Individual Mobilization Augmentee.