A Non-Military Path to Working Abroad

A number of media have been covering global opportunities for the past several months and even years. The discussion has moved past generalizing about the global economy and evolved into realities for workers’ careers and business leadership. Most recently, both The Wall Street Journal and INC Magazine have reported on demand for a talent pool to move the US ahead.

Military MBA has identified this missing pool of talent as former military personnel and officers. In this post, I would like to advance the topic of working internationally for former members of the military. I would like to do so by discussing how the military profile fits these opportunities and then cover some practical information on working abroad further below.

For the past several months, I have been explaining the many advantages former military have by working in the global economy. This is due to the fact that they have served in foreign countries, have lived in different cultures and many of them are fluent in second, and even third, languages. The military has also helped its service members learn the ability to adapt and be highly resourceful. Finally, the military are equipped with a sense of adventure that comes with living in a country outside the US. I could go on about important attributes related to military upbringing, but you get the basic idea.

What follows next is some practical information (i.e., a game plan of sorts) on how to work abroad. You should:
1-Put together an inventory for yourself that identifies countries and industries you are most interested in aboard.
2-Cross these industries and countries with the most proven skills and knowledge you have to offer.
3-Identify multi-nationals and local businesses that could benefit by working with people like you.
4-Go after internally-posted or hidden jobs with hiring managers.
5-Before you contact hiring managers come up with a plan of action which promotes yourself and more importantly helps the company. This plan should include the following:
5a. A package of unique skills the company needs that you can provide.
5b. The ability to easily and effectively transition.
5c. A willingness to stay in a foreign country for more than a year, preferably 1-3 years.
5d. Company savings on relocation and travel costs.
5e. The ability to cover your own living expenses in exchange for more compensation and benefits. The lower cost of living in a foreign country will more than make up for your    increase in personal expenses.

Working in an international location makes sense for global companies who hire former members of the military. Your career will also benefit by working aboard for an organization other than the military.


  1. Military MBA Mashup - July 1, 2015

    […] well-prepared to lead and manage in international business environments. I covered this topic in a blog post 3 years ago and it remains equally true today. Military MBAs can lead in diverse climates and they […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: