Hire a Master Sergeant instead of Master’s Degree; Bringing Senior Military Leaders into your Organization


Hiring decisions are not always easy especially for your leadership positions. A good recruiter or hiring manager is going to screen all applicants looking for the best candidate for the job. Often times, a graduate degree is the preferred criteria, but is there a better way to find potential leaders and managers for your organization? Have you considered Senior Military Noncommissioned Officers to fill critical leader position?

Before we continue, let’s pause for a brief military history lesson. Prior to 1958, the highest enlisted pay grade across the U.S. military was E-7. On June 1, 1958, under an Amendment to the Career Compensation Act of 1949, the pay grades of E-8 and E-9 were added to the military rank structure. At the time, these pay grades were known as “Super Grades”. This is also the reason the Air Force does not have Warrant Officers, but that’s a story for another time.

Iraqi FreedomThe fact that these new pay grades were referred to as “Super Grades” was no accident. The men and women who attained those ranks were the top leaders in their respective service branch.  Their leadership was tried and tested over a decade or more and they continued to remain at the top of their game. The attributes of those pioneering E-8 and E-9s still exist in the senior military leaders of today.

Here is a list of the “Super Grades” you might see on a resume:


E-8      Master Sergeant/First Sergeant

E-9      Sergeant Major/Command Sergeant Major


E-8      Senior Chief Petty Officer

E-9      Master Chief Petty Officer/Command Master Chief


E-8      Senior Master Sergeant/First Sergeant

E-9      Chief Master Sergeant/Command Chief Master Sergeant


E-8      Master Sergeant/First Sergeant

E-9      Master Gunnery Sergeant/Sergeant Major


So why should you consider hiring a Master Sergeant as opposed to a Master’s Degree? Here are the top 10 reasons for hiring a tried, tested, and proven senior military leader.

  1. A senior NCO has been leading employees for 15-20 plus years. It one thing to ask an employee to load boxes on a truck, it another thing all together motivating people to carry out a mission in a life or death situation.
  2. They get the job done on time, to standard, and on budget. In the days of growing military budget cuts, senior NCOs know how to do more with less without sacrificing organizational effectiveness.
  3. For Senior NCOs, safety is second nature. They have an ingrained respect for policies and procedures.
  4. The have a cultural understanding that most can only imagine. How many new MBAs have lived in Germany, Korea, or Italy? How many MBAs have broken bread with Afghan tribal leaders or guarded a U.S. Embassy?
  5. Senior NCOs are great planners and problem solvers. They routinely apply the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) weighing the best course of action to accomplish a mission.
  6. They are experts at teaching, coaching, mentoring, and counseling subordinates. They are expert trainers who have dedicated their lives to serving and developing others.
  7. Senior NCOs always present a first class image. They are consummate professionals who will represent themselves and your organization in the highest esteem.
  8. Senior NCOs take responsibility for their actions. They hold themselves accountable for the successes and failures of their team. They learn from their mistakes and they exploit the strengths of themselves and their organization.
  9. There is a huge cost saving for organizations that hire a veteran from just the VOW Act alone. Furthermore, veterans statistically take fewer sick days and every retired military member have their own health and dental coverage taken care of. Cha Ching!
  10. Surprisingly, a majority of Senior Noncommissioned Officers have a master’s degree. By hiring a senior military leader, you can get the best of both worlds.

Today’s military men and women are of the highest caliber in US history with regards to training, leadership development, and their varied skill sets. Our military is the best in the world because of exceptional senior leaders.


Forward March Inc., has been helping organizations attract, hire, and retain the best Senior NCOs for organizations who want to achieve exceptional things. Let us show you how to bring those outstanding men and women into your organization. Take the next step to move your company from great to Extraordinary!

~ Article written by Jason Caswell, Forward March Inc – Director of Training and Talent Pipeline Services

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