News: VCU students receive leadership lessons from Marines
Story by Cpl. David Flynn
RICHMOND, Va. - Students from Virginia Commonwealth University had the opportunity to learn leadership skills from Marine officers during the Marine Corps Leadership Seminar at VCU’s Snead School of Business, Mar. 15.
The MCLS is a one-day program designed to impart college students with Marine Corps leadership skills.
“The MCLS is a program that parallels with Marine Week,” said Dr. Kenneth D. Dunn, director, Marine Corps Leadership Seminar. “Our goal is to develop a connectedness with mainstream America and attract top talent to the Marine Corps, using Marine Corps leadership as the vessel.”
The MCLS featured a series of classes on leadership topics, team building exercises and a panel discussion where students had the chance to ask Marine officers questions. Leading the day’s activities were Marine officers currently serving as instructors at Officer Candidate School and The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
An important point stressed by instructors was making good leadership decisions in a timely manner. As told to the students, a good plan now is better than a perfect plan next week.
“Whether you’re on the battlefield or in the business world, the ability to analyze a situation and make a good decision faster than your opponent will make you successful,” said Capt. Michael R. Schulz, instructor, OCS.
To aid students in quickly analyzing variables and making sound decisions based on them, Schulz introduced the concept of the OODA Loop.
Developed by Air Force fighter pilot Col. John Boyd, the OODA Loop - Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action, is a battle-tested decision making tool that has proven successful not only in the military, but in the business world as well. For one VCU student at the MCLS, the OODA Loop put the decision making process in a perspective he hadn’t seen before.
“What was unique about the workshop was the way the Marines were able to objectify leadership and decision making into a systematic way of problem solving using the OODA Loop,” said Jeffrey Chow, 21, a computer science major from Virginia Beach, Va. “Using it you will be able to come up with solutions and adapt to changing circumstances faster than your opponent.”
While leadership and decision making lessons are important, according to Dunn, nothing can compare to the experiences gained by being a Marine officer.
“The Marine Corps gives Marines a work ethic, honesty, integrity and accountability,” said Dunn. “Most young people don’t get these traits straight out of college. The Marine Corps instills them very early on.”
The VCU administrator instrumental in bringing the MCLS to his school agreed with this sentiment.
“There is no question that successful prior military experience is beneficial to a career in the private sector,” said Mike Eisenman, director, career services, Snead School of Business and a former Navy officer. “Almost everything said today that is relevant to the Marine Corps is relevant to the corporate world as well.”
In closing, students at the MCLS heard from Col. Robert C. Clement. Clement, an enlisted Marine before earning his commission, shared lessons learned during his near 30 years in service.
“Take care of your people and they will take care of you,” said Clement, in summation of the wealth of experience he has accrued in his career.
Looking ahead, the MCLS will be making stops at several universities in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. area in April. Seminars will be held at the Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy and North Carolina State University in Raleigh, Apr. 11, at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Apr. 12, and North Carolina Central University in Durham, Apr. 12.
For more information on leadership opportunities available in the Marine Corps, go to www.MarineOfficer.com or call 1-800-MARINES.