Marine Training for the Leadership Development Initiative

This past Friday, Stern offered me a unique experience. As part of the Leadership Development Initiative, I attended a modified marine training course with some of my classmates. We left from Stern at 8am and headed to the course on Staten Island. Upon arriving, we had little idea what to expect. I was fearful that the activities may be more physically demanding than I was prepared for. A former marine was running the course and I hoped that the sneakers and athletic gear, including helmets, were simply a precaution.

We were put into groups randomly and then proceeded to the first obstacle course. We were given a task and asked to choose a leader for each one. Each obstacle required a combination of problem solving, teamwork, and trust. It was great to work so closely with a new group of Stern students. Even though I didn’t know several group members, I felt we shared a common bond as Sternies. It was comforting to feel like they would support me. I found the tasks challenging – activities such as building a bridge with three planks no wider than six inches, getting a barrel across a “booby-trapped” tight rope, etc. The activities required a lot of giving and receiving feedback. It tied well with the course material from Leadership in Organizations.

I learned I could adapt quickly in unknown situations, even where I didn’t know my team well. It was nice to see how we bonded with ease over the course of the morning. While I was initially hesitant, I’m ultimately glad I participated.