Veteran's Day Profile: Sarah Jackson, MBA Candidate 2019, Military Spouse

Author: Ryan Millbern

Sarah Jackson Smaller

Sarah Jackson, MBA candidate 2019

Military affiliation: Military spouse since 2002. My husband is currently an active duty Army officer serving as a program analyst in the Pentagon.

 

The experience of being a military spouse:

It’s hard but rewarding. My husband and I have spent a lot of time apart during regular training exercises and deployments, but we’ve also had the opportunity to live in places we never thought we’d live and meet people from all over the country. Before we moved to South Bend, we were stationed at a remote base in upstate New York. When our guys and gals were deployed to Afghanistan, the spouses pulled together, snow blow each other’s driveways and do whatever it took to get by. It really takes a village.

 

Serving at home:

Before coming to Notre Dame, I spent eight years in a volunteer capacity supporting Army families. In that role, I connected people with resources both on and off post and served as a liaison between military families and the command node. I also worked with other community members to identify problems affecting military members and their families. Issues I have worked on ranged in scope from the simple need for a street light at an elementary bus stop on post to more complex policy-change recommendations affecting military members across all branches.

 

Decision to pursue an ND degree:

My husband just finished his two-year MBA from Notre Dame in May 2018. He initially chose to come here because I loved Notre Dame and he saw how excited I was about it. Of course, he loves it now too. Notre Dame is a special place. At the end of his first year in the program, I realized that earning my MBA was still something for which I had a desire. I wanted to learn from amazing professors and fellow students and develop the skills necessary to look at complex problems in new ways. I’m currently in the one-year accelerated program.

 

Decision to choose Mendoza:

My grandmother is an Irish Catholic from the Fort Wayne, IN area. I grew up loving this school. But as I got older, I realized the emphasis that Notre Dame places on family, values, and the basic building blocks that make us good people. As I did research about where to get my MBA, I was pleased to see Notre Dame offered classes smaller cohorts. The collaborative environment was so different than other business schools that have a more cut-throat type of reputation.

 

Similarities between the military and ND:

Both of my parents are retired from the Air Force and my husband has been active duty since 2000, so this is the first time I’m living in a civilian community. Both communities definitely have a diverse mix of people from all over the country.

 

Future plans:

I’m really focusing my job search in the D.C. area. My No. 1 choice would be defense consulting. I’ve interviewed and I’m doing a lot of networking, but I don’t have a job lined up quite yet.