Marine officers trained Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) students on leadership skills during the 2014 Marine Corps Leadership Seminar (MCLS) at VCU’s Snead School of Business, Feb. 21.
The MCLS is a one-day event that provides Marine leaders the opportunity to provide face-to-face mentorship to college students.
“The purpose of the MCLS is to showcase Marine Corps leadership to students who may not otherwise be exposed to the Marine Corps,” said Capt. Michael Schulz, chief instructor, Marine Corps Leadership Seminar.
For many students, this was the first interaction with Marines.
“Before the workshop I thought of the Marine Corps as the authorities on leadership,” said Damond Allen, a VCU school of business student. “After the event I still view the Marines as exceptional leaders with an added sense of passion for leadership.”
Marines integrated personal experience into every lesson at the MCLS. College students received a series of Marine-led classes on decision-making, team-building, problem-solving and ethical leadership.
“One of the first questions I ask the students is what their concept of leadership is prior to college and then in college,” said Schulz. “The answers always vary but tend to reflect the fact that leadership is often overlooked and glossed over.”
Students had the opportunity to utilize the skills they gained in team-oriented exercises. One student took charge and had to ensure the task given was completed correctly.
“Being engaged with the Marines was thought provoking,” said Allen. “They presented us with situations that required us to think about all the aspects of the decision making process.”
“Some of the concepts were new to them, so the learning curve varied by individual,” said Schulz. “But most of them were easily able to identify with basic Marine Corps leadership principles and seemed to try to incorporate them.”
The seminar finished with a panel discussion where students had the opportunity to ask Marine officers questions about the Marine Corps, leadership and personal experiences.
“There are a lot of students out there that have given some thought to leadership but there are not nearly as many formal opportunities for them to learn and practice leadership skills in everyday life as we have in the Marine Corps,” said Schulz. “By the end of the seminar, we have taught it, practiced it and shared many perspectives on it, so I think that tells us we're on the right track.”
In the end, students left with a new outlook on leadership and the Marine Corps.
“I think the event went great,” said Allen. “I couldn't have put together a better group of men and women to teach students about leadership.”
For more information on leadership opportunities available in the Marine Corps, visit www.MarineOfficer.com or call 1-800-MARINES.