In honor of Veterans Day, we checked in with the HBS Armed Forces Alumni Association, the club on campus for student veterans.

The mission of the Armed Forces Alumni Association (AFAA) is to help talented veterans transition out of the military to Harvard Business School, assist in the professional development and job search process of members, and raise awareness and support for the military among the members of the Harvard University community. The AFAA welcomes service members and veterans from all branches and nations.

What does the AFAA do?

The AFAA sponsors an annual veteran career fair, which we held on October 11th. We had representation from 16 companies and more than 100 HBS veterans. We hold semi-annual admissions outreach events, and we sponsor the Harvard University Veterans Day ceremony. Additionally, we sponsor a variety of veteran community events and service birthday celebrations.

Who leads the club?

Orry McDonald, Co-President (Admissions)

The AFAA was instrumental in helping me learn more about HBS and in helping me think about my application, so it was an easy decision to volunteer for club leadership and help the next generation of veterans matriculate to business school. I love being part of a community of people who care about each other and work so hard to pay it forward. The community’s values are an extension of the military culture that I left behind, and that has been an immense help as I switch careers.

Kristin Wihera, Co-President (Community)

I chose to join AFAA leadership to give back to a community that has provided me a lot of assistance, friendship, and support. During my application to HBS, one of the AFAA leaders, Phillip Jones, was incredibly helpful. Last year, as a first-year RC student, the second-year EC veterans were an amazing resource for advice on academics and daily life at HBS. Some of the fellow female veterans were instrumental in helping me prepare for midterms! The AFAA Community Co-President last year, Yung Winata, created some amazing bonding opportunities for the AFAA despite having had no examples the previous year due to COVID precautions. Given how much I owe to the AFAA - my presence at HBS and the lifelong friendships I have made here - it felt natural to carry that forward for the next generation of HBS Veterans.

Mike Laffin, Co-President (Careers)

I wanted to serve the AFAA community by easing the transition from the military and helping veterans land their dream jobs after graduation. I had a number of mentors along the way who helped me, and I wanted to pay it forward.

Chris Lowman, Co-President (Treasurer)

Plain and simple, I just wanted to give back. To give back to a community that helped me with my transition out of the military and to a community of people that came from similar backgrounds as me. Some veterans will have it easy transitioning out. Some veterans won’t. I wanted to be part of an organization that not only helps veterans get into a great school, but also helps veterans gain access to the best resources, companies, and opportunities available.