VETERANS AT TGG:
SERVICE, SUPPORT, AND TRANSITION
At The Gunter Group we take pride in hiring consultants from a variety of backgrounds. This purposeful approach results in a diverse team with talent and experiences that deliver meaningful value to our client partners. A key pillar of our award winning team are veterans who served in our country’s military.
Founder Mike Gunter said “The veterans in our company have been fantastic additions to our team. We actively look for team members with backgrounds that are not always typical for consulting, and their experiences and diverse skill sets have allowed them to thrive in our firm. The critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in the armed services translate well into the world of client service, where emotional intelligence, adaptability, and practical solutions are critical”.
Recently we sat down with three veterans and discussed their transition to consulting, what it was like wrapping up their military duties, and advice they have for others transitioning to the private sector.
To get us started, can you share when you joined The Gunter Group and briefly tell us about your military and professional backgrounds?
Liz: I joined The Gunter Group in January of 2022. I previously served almost nine years in the Navy; first as a Surface Warfare Officer and then as a Human Resources Officer, and spent time at the Naval Postgraduate School working on a Master’s Degree in Operations Research. I now serve as a Reservist, as well. With The Gunter Group I’ve had the opportunity to apply my data science skills in our tech services team supporting client engagements.
Brad: After commissioning out of ROTC, I joined the Army in 2013. I served 10 years as an Infantry Officer and am still serving as an Army Reserve Officer. I joined The Gunter Group in February of 2023 and am a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). My transition to TGG was pretty much a straight line as I received the offer letter while still on active duty.
Keith: I was in the Navy for eight years. I started out serving on a Naval ship and then wrapped up my time serving as a Military Policeman (MP). After leaving the Navy I completed my accounting degree as a potential step towards joining the FBI. After doing some accounting and financial work I decided to stay in the accounting and finance industry and worked in various capacities for a number of years. I accepted a position with TGG in November of 2020.
What knowledge, skills, or experiences from your time in the military were beneficial in your transition to management consulting?
Liz: Throughout my various roles in the Navy, I was constantly switching positions and taking on additional collateral duties, and in all those situations, I had limited time to figure out the scope of the work, how I was going to solve a problem, and who could help. To that end it really captured one of TGG’s Non-Negotiables, “Thriving in Ambiguity.” In management consulting I’ve found this skill to be very valuable and used frequently. It’s a skill I started developing heavily in the Navy and is applicable more than ever in the consulting world.
Brad: First off, it’s crucial to emphasize the development of effective people skills and leadership, both formally and in peer roles. In every military career, working with people is vital, especially in Infantry where the individual is the key asset. Effective guidance, supervision, and teamwork are pivotal. I echo Liz’s sentiment about the value of diverse job roles. This resonated with me when I served as a Chief Logistics Officer, and managed complex logistics including supply reception, analysis, resource transportation, and timeline management. These experiences greatly enhanced my move into management consulting.
Keith: I have been out of the military longer than Liz and Brad so my transition timeline looks a bit different. There are certainly skills the military provides that are beneficial to management consulting, especially experiences working with people. I found that in the military I worked with people different from my own background and culture set. There were numerous benefits to this experience and it has been very valuable in consulting.
What was it like when you started the process to transition out of the military? What were some of the questions or concerns you had as you approached the change?
Liz: For me leaving the military, the first big piece was: where are we going to live? However, we also needed a job to anchor the move. The other challenge was being a dual military household and both my husband and I getting out at the same time. Logistics were demanding: time zones for interviews, calendar coordination, moving cross-country with a child. Parental leave and a positive culture mattered, especially since we were planning for another child. The other biggest concern personally and professionally was finding a place with a great culture. Not one that talks about it but really lives it out—where I can transition well, learn, and connect.
Brad: Leaving the military is highly stressful. The military shapes your purpose and identity for most of your adult life. Suddenly, you face the challenge of rediscovering yourself. The first step is understanding who you are beyond the military, which is no simple task. Then comes the question: what’s next? Contrary to belief, not everyone has their post-military path figured out. After research and reflection, I knew I wanted to be a consultant. However, I didn’t want to relocate, living in the same place was a priority.
Keith: It was a little bit different for me because I was enlisted, not an officer. When I was leaving the military I was looking for financial stability and being able to take care of my family. At the time, I had almost finished my degree and I was fortunate enough to have a professor that had contacts in the accounting world and he helped me land my first post military job.
How did The Gunter Group support you during this process and transition?
Liz: In my situation I received my job offer in October and I was not able to start working in my new role until the end of January. The team at TGG set up recurring check-ins until I departed Virginia and stayed in good contact, making sure if I had questions I could receive answers and updates frequently. After that, the onboarding process was very smooth. With a lot of life changes going on, it was really nice how other people recognized I was going through a stressful time. That was something that really stood out to me.
Brad: There were two key ways, starting with the first person I met from TGG, Jim Calko. During my early exploration of consulting firms, Jim took time for meaningful conversations despite my non-employee status. He provided insights, aided my resume, and supported my transition from the military. It was genuine and meant a lot. The second part came during the interview and recruitment phase. TGG’s responsiveness, organization, and swift turnaround eased my already busy situation, turning potential stress into clarity and calmness.
Keith: TGG is the best company I’ve ever worked for first of all. I’m very happy with the people I work with. They are the smartest, kindest people I’ve come across in my career. The management is genuinely concerned about the employees and these characteristics initially revealed themselves during my recruiting and onboarding process and continue to exist on a routine basis year after year. Anytime someone is making a career change the TGG style would be a welcomed support but especially during a post-military transition.
What advice do you have for other military personnel that are about to conclude their service and enter the next phase of their professional career?
Liz: Write down your priorities for big life areas such as: family, work, and location. Then as you think about and evaluate post-military options, reflect on your lists. It’s okay to be picky. Don’t settle for a solution that doesn’t match with your priorities.
Brad: Figure out who you are and what is important to you. Develop a plan and don’t settle for the first thing that comes your way (it will be tempting). It can be beneficial to leverage the programs afforded to you as a transitioning veteran. Personally I found The COMMIT Foundation and American Corporate Partners the most helpful.
Keith: It may sound simple but I’d say to have a plan. Give thought to, and create a plan for what you want to spend your time on once you leave the military. Additionally, it’s incredibly beneficial to have an applicable skill that transitions to civilian life or to have an education plan to further your knowledge in professionally relevant areas.
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