After 12 years in the U.S. Army, Matt DeVivo knew he needed to go back to school to transition into the private sector. The first step was earning an undergraduate degree, which he did while working full-time at a cybersecurity startup. When he graduated from Columbia University, he decided to continue his education with an MBA.
“As a Green Beret, I worked long and hard at high-level military tasks, but my professional skill set was incomplete for the civilian workplace. I wanted to get a top-notch business degree to level the playing field and access more opportunities,” he says.
“The Wharton name helped me get my foot in the door and gave me the confidence that I could do well in the private sector. However, not all veterans have as smooth of a transition out of the military. Many are unsure what they want to do or how to pursue other interests. I wanted to do something to help others in this situation and thought about doing a podcast.”
The podcast, he explains, is a platform for veterans to share their stories about life after the military and for civilians to learn more about vets. “A lot of civilians say, ‘Thank you for your service,’ but they don’t ask questions or understand military life. This is a way for everyone to learn more.”
The next step was figuring out how to make the podcast a reality. That’s when Matt turned to his Wharton EMBA classmate Ben Murray.
They named the podcast “Thank You, Now What?” as a nod to that phrase “thank you for your service” that veterans often hear. During each episode, Matt interviews a guest about their experience going from the military to civilian life. He discusses what they did in the military, lessons learned, what they liked about it, how they planned on leaving, and what went according to plan—and what didn’t go as planned. “We don’t offer advice—just other veterans’ stories,” says DeVivo.
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