An approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Education will make it easier for more veterans to enroll in Wharton Executive Education programs.

May 21, 2020

PHILADELPHIA: After a three-year effort mounted in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Registrar’s Office, Wharton Executive Education has won approval from the state of Pennsylvania to allow veterans to use their Post-9/11 GI Bill® tuition benefits toward its programs.

“It's a way of acknowledging the sacrifice and dedication of veterans who have spent years serving our country,” says Michael Malefakis, Wharton Executive Education’s Associate Vice Dean. “And it's a way to help them re-engage and enhance their careers as they transition back from military service.”

Previously in Pennsylvania, veterans were able to apply their tuition benefits only to traditional degree-granting programs such as an MBA. But for many veterans who have full-time employment and busy family lives, these programs aren’t necessarily optimal or feasible.

Take the case of Sean Freitag, a vice president at the Blackstone Group and a former Navy SEAL and Special Operations Chief, who is married with three children and already has an MBA from Wharton. He is interested in Wharton Executive Education courses to augment his financial acumen and further his career, but has found it understandably frustrating that he could not apply his “thousands of dollars’ worth of earned benefits” from 15 years of military service.

Freitag believes that veterans with GI benefits should have the opportunity to pick and choose applicable courses with a manageable time commitment. He notes that Wharton Executive Education “offers very specific courses to refine your skill set for the job you’re currently working in.”

Malefakis agrees, saying that “executive education is ideally suited for veterans or busy professionals in general because [of the] modular format that allows for quickly updating skills and focusing on areas most needed to get that next job or promotion.”

Richard Shell, a Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics who teaches in several Wharton Executive Education programs, says the courses offer “just-in-time, actionable business knowledge that turbocharges personal effectiveness and professional credibility.”

Veteran Josephine Nguyen is a medical doctor and a deputy chief medical executive at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in Illinois. Earlier this year she completed Wharton's General Management Program and she highly recommends the learning experience. She says she strongly encourages her military colleagues to attend a Wharton program. “Quite simply, it’s life-transforming. It allows you &mash; and equips you with the tools &mash; to become the best version of yourself.”

For Wharton Executive Education, having more veterans in the classroom yields advantages of its own, bringing fresh perspectives and insights from outside the private sector that greatly enhance everyone’s learning.

Under the new Pennsylvania policy, eligible veterans can use the Post-9/11 GI Bill® to pay for several Wharton Executive Education programs including the General Management Program, Advanced Management Program, and Advanced Finance Program. These multi-week programs confer Wharton alumni status upon completion. In addition, the Post-9/11 GI Bill® can be applied to the Executive Development Program, the Certificate of Professional Development, and Wharton Online’s Leadership and Management Certificate.

Additionally, for program tuition that is not covered by the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, veterans can apply for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Wharton Executive Education can accept up to 50 veterans per academic year for the Yellow Ribbon Program beginning August 1, 2020.

Freitag calls the success of this entire effort “a huge milestone for the University of Pennsylvania and for the veteran community, as vets will now be able to access Wharton’s top-tier educational programs funded by their hard-earned education benefits.”

Malefakis is looking forward to welcoming more former servicemen and women to Executive Education’s programs. “It makes me &mash; and all of us in Executive Education &mash; feel proud to do something to reward them for their service.”

For more information. please contact Wharton Client Relations at

“GI Bill®” is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at

About the Wharton School

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