The MSSA program challenges veterans to actually do something big — possibly bigger than what they did in the military. That is one thing that most people will never find in their life again, and I didn’t know if I would ever find it. Now I wake up every morning and I know that I’m doing something that’s just as challenging and just as rewarding as being a Marine.
My wife and I have been married five years; we went to high school together. She was there from the beginning of my enlistment, through the entire process, and there at the end.
The best way to describe MSSA is you get out what you put in. I think that’s true anywhere in life, but especially in the MSSA program. This program is designed to find those who are going to go above and beyond what is expected. That’s what most veterans want, to do something great. You show up day one and realize this is no joke. If I want to do this, I’m going to have to put every minute of every day into it. That’s what’s really amazing about it. As an active duty Marine, I got to wake up every day and I got to focus on becoming a software engineer 100 percent. My job was to learn the technical skills to land a job and find that job. Because of that focus I knew that whatever I put into MSSA, I got out an equal amount of value.
When it came time to interview at Microsoft, I told my wife that whether or not I got the job, the experience of interviewing at one of the most sought-after companies in the world — they get thousands and thousands of applications a day — that experience alone would be well worth the entire MSSA program for me. Afterward I felt really good about my interview. I was fully prepared and I put my all into it.
We studied so hard for that interview, and we had a lot of help from MSSA and our mentors. They dedicated so much time to make sure we went into that interview prepared that I felt comfortable and relaxed. Two weeks later, I got a phone call. It was right before a holiday weekend. Nothing official, but a heads up that I had a job offer on the way. I’ll never forget it. I knew that life was about to change — in a really positive way.