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Finance BOLC

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Cgr61
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Finance BOLC

Postby Cgr61 Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:56 pm

Hey everybody, I graduate Finance BOLC tomorrow and thought I would throw my experience up here. There was nothing on here about finance when I started the class, so I'll post a quick summary and if anybody has any specific questions just post them. That way everybody can benefit from the information.

I am active duty and commissioned through active duty OCS. There was only one finance branch available on branching day, and although some people had submitted packages for it, nobody got it. It went straight off of the OML. I was number 15 and grabbed it when I had the opportunity. I had no previous finance experience.

I got to Fort Jackson a little over 2 months before my class started, and I was a snowbird during that time. Basically just did odds and ends for a couple Majors in the Finance school. It wasn't bad at all, pretty standard work day and I was treated very well by everybody I worked for. It is not like basic or OCS at all, you go back to the hotel at 5 everyday and don't work weekends or holidays!

This is a gentleman's course. As long as you remember proper customs and courtesies then life is great. The course is 12.5 weeks, with the first week consisting of a lot of inprocessing. After that you spend a couple weeks doing land nav, along with qualifying on rifles again. There is only 1 pt test, and I think we did it the second week.

The average day of class starts with pt at 0550-0700. Then you get released to go shower/change/eat breakfast until 0900. Lunch is from 1130-1300, and usually you will be released between 1600-1700. After you finish land nav and rifle qualification, the classes start. Lots of power points, but if you choose finance as a branch then you should expect that. There is a week that concentrates on disbursing operations, another on military pay and one on budgeting. We also spent a full week at the University of South Carolina in a masters level Business Analytics course. Those were long days but the class was great. Also, you wear civilian business attire there, and they cater the lunches. The food is great! At the end of the course you do a 5 day "field" exercise. It is based in a fob, and you do simulated finance operations. You may or may not sleep in the tents out there. We went home every night, but if you did have to sleep out there the tents are heated/air conditioned so it wouldn't be bad if you did have to. The instructors were great and always available to help.

I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot, so if there are any questions just ask!
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Fromage
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Re: Finance BOLC

Postby Fromage Thu Sep 01, 2016 12:12 am

A Finance branched person out of OCS who posts on this site? You're like a unicorn. Congrats on getting the slot though, great luck.

Finance is a mystery to me, how many active duty officers graduated your course? Did you guys all get Division or higher postings? I know there are budget officers at BDE level, but never seen a 2LT be one.
Also, you wear civilian business attire there, and they cater the lunches. The food is great!
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ybemerica
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Postby ybemerica Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:42 am

Congrats Cgr61, Do you know what the job opportunities are like Post Army with the experience you get being a Finance Officer? Also why did you choose to go finance and not anything else?
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Ljacksoc
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Postby Ljacksoc Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:58 am

Where your BOLC orders to TDY en route or did you pcs to Fort Jackson?

How long did you snowbird for?
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Cgr61
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Postby Cgr61 Thu Sep 01, 2016 1:48 pm

Our class had 28 people in it, 2 of which were international officers. So of the 26 US officers, around half were active duty. Of the 13 of us who are active, 3 are going to Korea, one to Italy, 2 to Germany, 2 to Hawaii, 2 to Fort Riley, 1 to Fort Bragg, 1 to Stewart and 1 to Fort Campbell. I'm one of the ones headed to Korea. There is one other finance class going on right now but they are a lot smaller, less than 20 total, and I'd assume that only half of those are active. There is only 3 finance BOLCs this year, with the other one starting in January. It is a very small branch, and I have basically met everybody in my year group, either in the two classes now or the other class that was going on while I was snowbirding. I am the only active duty OCS grad in my class, but there are a few others scattered around.

Most of us will start off as disbursing officers. That is why so many are headed overseas, because stateside the disbursing job is done by civilians at DFAS. There were a couple who were filling disbursing jobs stateside, but they will actually only do their job when they deploy with their units. The rest of the people will fill S8 positions at the battalion. We each had a sit down meeting with the branch manager the other day and she went over our different career path options. There are command opportunities at the Finance Management Support Units/Detachments/Centers. The Ranger Regiment is an option for 1LTs, and I know SOF takes 1LTs as well. Both of those options are for budget jobs. From the way it was explained to us, we should try both the disbursing and budget sides and see which one we like best. Finance is currently in the process of shedding the military pay duty, and AG will take that over.

As far as the job opportunities post Army, I know a majority of the branch is civilian so I would assume the possibility of getting a GS position would be good. The training could loosely line up with an accounting/auditor/budgeting position in the civilian sector.

As far as my reason for choosing Finance over the other branches, there was a lot that went into it. On branching day when I walked up to the table to pick my branch, every branch except for Aviation was available. I am a pilot and originally wanted aviation, but paperwork issues with my physical prevented me from getting it. My second choice was Armor, because what is cooler than shooting a mobile cannon?!? I also thought infantry would be cool, and there was actually an infantry branch detail finance available. But on the other hand, I am married with three young boys at home. I am prior service Air Force, so I had to go through basic training again and OCS. By the time branching day came around, I had been away from my kids for 6 months. I know that everybody deploys, and so no matter what branch I picked I would miss that time with my kids. But I also know that everybody doesn't spend the same amount of time in the field. Finance would give me (for the most part) a day shift, Monday through Friday job with (a majority of) weekends off. Finally, when picking Finance specifically, I figured if a branch only had one, or maybe even none, spot available then that must mean that there is a low turnover rate and that must mean that the people working in that branch must think it's a good job. So, I grabbed the Finance diamond.

Concerning my BOLC orders, I was TDY enroute. I was a snowbird for just over 2 months before starting the class. I'm on leave now and I fly out to Korea in a little over a week. I got my family command sponsored, so if anybody has any questions on that just let me know.

One extra thing to add, we just had a meeting with a Colonel the other day and he asked if anyone was interested in Ranger school. He said there are spots available if people wanted to volunteer to go. So just because you choose a support branch doesn't necessarily mean you can't get a cool hooah school.

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