From One Battlefield to Another

Lucas Mohr and Matthew Pizzo have both been deployed to Iraq during their careers in the U.S. Military.

Lucas H. Mohr—Lucas served five years as an active-duty Supply Sergeant in the U.S. Army and one year in the U.S. Army Reserves as a Civil Affairs Sergeant. He is currently pursuing an MBA at Columbia Business School with a concentration in finance. This summer, he is with NYSE Global Listings. Read more of Lucas' story here.

Matthew Pizzo - In the U.S. Air Force, Matt specialized in Network Security, serving as a Communications-IT Technician. He is currently a volunteer with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the National Veterans Legal Services Program. Matt is with NYSE Global Compliance for the summer, and recently joined the NYSE Euronext Global Compliance Division on a full-time basis. Read more of Matt's story here.

Now, as the pair prepare for employment in the private sector, they reflect on the parallels between the corporate grind and military tumult.

“I didn’t want to feel constricted by what I could accomplish. In finance, there are no limits to where you can go and what you can do,” says Matt.

Luas adds, “In the financial services industry, it’s up or out. I’m going into investment banking…those twelve hour days I used to work in the Army, I’ll be wishing for those I’m sure.”

Lucas and Matt should consider themselves somewhat lucky. The 8.2% nationwide unemployment rate has become a major point of contention in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. However, the 30.2% rate of unemployment amongst veterans aged 18-24 who have served since 2001 is not as well publicized.

But for those veterans looking to come out of the military and break into the formidable world of corporate finance, difficulties seem abounding. The competition comes not only from those with an already well established background in finance, but also from the millions of recent college graduates waving around a diploma with no place to put it.

“Coming out of the military, I was lacking in some of the business and finance areas,” says Lucas, who is currently pursuing an MBA in Finance at Columbia Business School. “I did a lot of research, a lot of planning before I came out of the Army. The first step for me was business school.”

Matt also had little difficulty in choosing to pursue a career in finance after obtaining a degree from the NYU School of Law. “In my mind, there was no ceiling to what I could accomplish. Your hard work would pay off and you’d be rewarded, and the lateral opportunities that are available put you in a position to continue upward.”

After traveling halfway around the world, acclimating back to civilian life, and overcoming the seemingly interminable hunt for employment, the mood seems to be that of unabashed optimism.

“Everything I wanted to have happen when I came out is happening. At this point, I’m just excited with the path I’m on,” says Lucas.