We Survived Leadership Boot Camp with the National Guard

Posted by on June 5, 2013

What does it take for Minnesota School of Business (MSB) leadership staff to survive boot camp at Minnesota National Guard’s Camp Ripley?

Minnesota School of Business, Camp RipleyDetermination, repetition and a sense of humor to be sure! (A sense of rhythm doesn’t hurt.)

Fourteen staff members recently accepted a training challenge at Minnesota National Guard’s Camp Ripley to better understand military students and hands-on teaching techniques.

Some of the staff expressed reservations prior to the day’s activities, concerned that the physical demands of the military might exceed our desk-jockey capabilities, but the training centered on actual courses soldiers study to complete specified certifications.  That basically let us off the hook for obstacle courses!

Minnesota School of Business, Camp Ripley

Jennifer May and Jim Beck go to work on vehicle recovery.

Staff broke into small teams and rotated through training modules that included transportation recovery, tank engine repair, electrical systems and even M-16 maintenance.

MSB-St. Cloud Campus Director Jim Beck noticed right away the similarities between the military instruction and classes at MSB. “It helped me understand why military students like their learning experience here at Minnesota School of Business,” he said. “We teach the same way!”

He also compared leadership techniques. “I believe in delegation and self-empowerment, and the training they gave us at Camp Ripley was the same,” Beck said. “They told us what we needed to do and then got out of the way and let us do it.”

MSB’s director of government relations, Tom Kosel, noted that the detailed step-by-step manuals and training for very specific jobs was impressive. He added that the Guard “takes pride in their unit and their mission was obvious.”  Similarly, “our veteran students need to find a source of pride in their studies.”

Minnesota School of Business, Camp Ripley

Carrie Winter receives her marching orders from a friendly staff sergeant.

Financial Aid Director Jennifer May believes that the “self-starter” military method of instruction is very telling. “The students are just told to go to the manual and figure it out,” she noted. “They are allowed to fail and learn from their mistakes.”

She sees this approach reflected through our veteran students on campus. “They take care of their FAFSA on their own, they read announcements on campus and do what they are supposed to. They don’t expect hand-holding.”

Perhaps the most stressful part of the day was the final drill practice which required the entire team to follow directions and move in tandem. But there are those of us who don’t really want to talk about that.


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