More than 80 graduate students from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and 15 students from Johns Hopkins University took part in the Quantico Leadership Venture at Marine Corps Base Quantico’s Officer Candidates School on Sept. 20-21.
OCS hosted the Quantico Leadership Venture to give business students exposure to the leadership development and evaluation process used by the Marine Corps.
According to a brief provided by 1st Lt. Erin Ashford, OCS protocol officer, the Quantico Leadership Venture is an optional co-curricular experiential learning opportunities designed to bring participants into remote and difficult environments where they can learn from experience in confronting challenges, solving problems and leading teams. The venture also affords the Marine Corps and OCS an opportunity to foster positive relations with Wharton School of Business and Johns Hopkins to make an indelible impression on the potential future leaders of business in America’s corporate sector.
“This event, both for the Wharton School and for the Marine Corps, is a great partnership because, as students come here, they realize what it takes to become a Marine and my Marines, realize how important it is that these people are going to be going out and leading corporations,” said Col. Kris J. Stillings, OCS commanding officer.
The commander’s intent for this venture was to provide students with insight and understanding of Marine Corps leadership, core values and have an understanding of the candidates’ challenges.
With many of the students having never handled a weapon before, the instructors introduce them to the basics. They also made sure to encourage teamwork and overcoming fears. Unlike with candidates, the instructors lively engaged in conversation with the students about bias for action, risk assessment, rapid decision making, leadership, followership and accountability.
The students came across many tasks and challenges similar to the training provided to OCS candidates. They had classes on gear assembly, purpose of adaptability training, and Leadership and Warfighting principles, as well as how to make their racks. Students also had opportunity to attack the challenges of the Leadership Reaction Course and Combat Course.
The Combat Course consisted of obstacles that tested the students not only physically, but mentally as well. In the beginning there were three obstacles that, if failed, meant a (heavily padded) 6-to-15 foot drop, the sight of which many students freeze. The course also incorporated the Quigley as one of the obstacles. The Quigley consists of a long canal with barbed wire and three 4-foot cement culverts submerged in swampy, snake-infested water that students had to high crawl and side crawl through.
“This was tough experience,” said, Bailey Jones, a Wharton School student. “I gained a lot of respect for the Marines, especially the drill instructors. I was really happy to have access to the classes and courses provided by the Marines. If I ever get a chance to come back, I will definitely jump at the opportunity.”