BTU #15 – Tom Spahn: Law School, Corporate Law, and Management Consulting

“We underestimate the incredible experience and leadership skills that we bring to the table, and I think that veterans don’t appreciate the magnitude of that when they’re in the thick of it.”
– Tom Spahn

Tom Spahn has spent time in his civilian career as both a Corporate Lawyer at Sullivan & Cromwell, as well as a Management Consultant at McKinsey & Co. He has a collection of degrees – he received his JD from Stanford Law School while also obtaining MS in Management Science & Engineering at Stanford at the same time. He also holds a Masters in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University. Tom graduated from the Naval Academy, served on submarines with the crew of the USS Chicago (SSN 721).

In this interview we discuss:

  • Why Tom chose to remain in the Navy Reserves
  • Advice for veterans considering Law School
  • What day-to-day life is like as a Corporate Lawyer and as a Management Consultant
  • What the typical career path looks like for both Corporate Lawyers and Management Consultants
  • How the military prepared him for Corporate Law work… and where he had to catch up
  • What it’s like to interview for a Management Consulting firm
  • Signs that you may like a career in Management Consulting… and indications that you might not enjoy it
  • And much, much more…

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QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • [1:44] – Background
  • [3:22] – Deciding to leave the Navy
  • [4:08] – Choosing to remain in the Reserves
  • [6:37] – Choosing to get another Master’s Degree, and choosing Law School
  • [8:12] – How the military prepared him for Law School… and where he had to catch up
  • [10:45] – Advice for those considering Law School
  • [12:15] – Why Tom chose Corporate Law
  • [14:31] – Applying to Law School, and applying to a Corporate Law Firm
  • [19:15] – Day-to-day life as a Corporate Lawyer
  • [23:00] – How the military prepared him for Corporate Law work… and where he had to catch up
  • [23:47] – What a typical career path looks like for a Corporate Lawyer
  • [25:40] – Choosing to switch to Management Consulting
  • [27:10] – What it’s like to interview for a Management Consulting firm
  • [32:45] – Day-to-day life as a Management Consultant
  • [37:43] – What a typical career path looks like for a Management Consultant
  • [41:18] – Signs that you may like a career in Management Consulting… and indications that you might not enjoy it
  • [46:34] – The biggest surprise about the transition to civilian life
  • [48:18] – Don’t sell yourself short as a veteran