The USMC veteran, Tillman Scholar, MBA holder, and Ph.D. student is owning his transition.
Service: U.S. Marine Corps, 4 years
Education: Pennsylvania State University (bachelor’s), University of Rhode Island (master’s and MBA), UCLA (Ph.D.)
Major: Bachelor’s: Chemical Engineering; Master’s: Energetic Chemistry; MBA: Strategic Management; Ph.D: Materials Chemistry
FourBlock Cohort: Los Angeles, Spring 2018
Hobbies: Skydiving, BASE Jumping, wingsuiting, rock climbing, shooting
The FourBlock Los Angeles Spring 2019 Career Readiness Program begins on March 27. (Registration is open through March 18.)
In anticipation of the program’s start, we spoke with Spring 2018 alumnus Zeeshan Parvez, a USMC veteran whose post-transition experiences have cumulated in a world-class resume; he’s a Tillman Scholar, MBA holder, and Ph.D. student at UCLA.
What struggles/barriers did you face during your transition from active duty back into civilian life?
The transition from special operations with MARSOC to chemical engineering at Penn State. These two programs have limited cross over in skills, so I had to start from 0 again and build myself up to the point where I was able to keep up with the curriculum. I also felt divided in the sense that I was losing who I was in the Marines. It was also very difficult to find a community of veterans because it was not as prevalent during my undergrad.
How did you first hear of FourBlock?
From one of my friends that was taking the course at the time.
What drove you to join FourBlock’s LA cohort?
I wanted to get a leg up on the job market and possibly get an internship with one of the companies that we visited.
How did the program impact your transition?
This helped me find a community of veterans outside of my school that I could network and build relationships with.
What were your key takeaways from the course?
“It is not what you know, it is who you know.” This program showed me the importance of networking and gave me strategies to contact people that will help me get to where I want to be.
Since completing FourBlock’s Career Readiness Program in Spring 2018, Zeeshan has gone on to earn the prestigious Pat Tillman Scholarship, while continuing to pursue a Ph.D. in Materials Chemistry from UCLA. Upon completing the Ph.D. program, the Marine has his sights set on management consulting, “with a focused route ending in corporate management.”
What one piece of key advice would you give to veterans who are currently transitioning?
Take this course as early as possible, so you can get plugged into the FourBlock network, and can devise a strategy to where you want to get for your career.