By Tyler Evans Jun 10, 2019
I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. in 2008 and served for four years, including one tour in Afghanistan. I joined as an open contract, which meant that my placement was identified by matching my aptitude test results against the area of greatest need at that time. When I received my assignment in Information Technology (IT), honestly, I was a little disappointed because I didn’t see myself as a computer person. Now, I realize that I hit the lottery with that assignment, as it provided me valuable training and experience in a field that is in high demand and rapidly evolving. I have grown to love what I do.
When I left the Marines in 2012, I decided to finish my college degree which I started prior to enlisting. My service enabled me to take advantage of the GI Bill, a program created 75 years ago which provides education assistance to veterans. Through this program, I enrolled at New York University (NYU) where I completed my undergraduate education. In 2018, I joined KKR on the Cybersecurity team. This year, I began a Master’s program in Cybersecurity at Fordham University. Earning my degrees while working full-time has not been easy, but I feel prepared because of the skills I learned as a Marine and am grateful for the GI Bill as it enabled me to further my education. I am also grateful for the opportunity to serve my country, and for my experience and training in the Marine Corps, which ultimately positioned me for a career I’m passionate about at KKR.
Speaking to fellow veterans, one of the aspects that many of us struggle with is finding the same sense of camaraderie and purpose after we’re no longer actively serving. I feel blessed to have found that similar sense of community and significance in what I do here at KKR. People at the firm want me to grow and develop in my role. My colleagues puts their heart into their work, they help each other, and they’re proud of what they do. At KKR we speak a lot about like, trust and the value of integrity – it’s ingrained in our culture and values – and that sentiment is very comparable to the bond I had with my brothers and sisters while I served.
Beyond this strong culture fit, I’m proud to be part of KKR’s Vets @ Work team. When I think about the large network KKR has through its portfolio of companies, the opportunity to positively affect other veterans’ civilian careers – while adding top talent to our portfolio companies – is exciting. After all, as General Petraeus has noted, hiring veterans is not just the right thing to do; it is also the smart thing to do. Fortunately, my path from the Marines, to utilizing my GI Bill, to joining the Cybersecurity team at KKR, and to becoming involved with KKR Vets @ Work has also enabled me to reconnect with the veteran population – this time from a different vantage point.
I encourage my fellow veterans to take advantage of the resources available to us. When we combine the skills we learned in uniform with the knowledge we gained in the classroom by utilizing the GI Bill, the result is powerful and opportunities abound.