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Transitioning From the Military to Business Through the Darden MBA

Transitioning From the Military to Business Through the Darden MBA


I’ll never forget. My fifth grade teacher wrote
on one of my quarterly progress reports when I was
in fifth grade. He said you’re going to
be a great leader someday. And I’d never thought of
myself as a leader before that. I’d never had any
leadership roles. I was never a team captain. That word leader
really stood out to me. What is he trying to say? I was a high school senior. I had a lot of different ideas
about where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. A lot of people kind
of giving their advice. That was also when
9/11 happened. So my senior year,
I felt this calling. I wanted to do something a
little bit more with my life. I wanted to join the military
and serve my country. I was leading Marines. I did that over the course
of two deployments to Iraq. One to Panama, one to
Guantanamo Bay, and one in the South Pacific. It was a very rewarding time. It was an honor
and privilege to be able to serve and
to lead Marines in combat and other
operations around the world. I looked at that and said, now
with a family, a young family, on the way– I want
to do something else. I want to take the skills
I got in the Marine Corps from leading and communication. And I said I want to do
something else with this. I want to go into business. There were a lot of times
in the military where you don’t have all the
information you would like to to make a decision. You’ve got your
intelligence people gathering information for you. But at the end of the day,
as a leader in the military, you’ve got to take
that information, you have to make the
best assumptions you can. Make a decision and go
forward with that decision. I think that it’s very
compatible with the world of business, especially in the
case method here at Darden. You’ve got a lot of information. There’s also a lot of ambiguity
in the case method as well. But at the end of the day,
you as a business leader need to take information,
make some assumptions about what you
don’t know, and make that decision going forward. And make the best
decision you can. So I think the military
really prepared me for that. I think I’m going to be able
to take that and move it to the business world
in a leadership capacity very easily.


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