Retired four-star General and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency David Petraeus spoke at the USC Marshall School of Business on October 11, discussing his military career and transition to civilian life with nearly 40 active-duty military and veterans enrolled in Marshall’s Master of Business for Veterans (MBV) program.
After 37 years in the military, Petraeus, who holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University, has taken on civilian roles with governmental and veterans’ organizations, financial firms and academic institutions, including his position as a Judge Widney Professor at USC.
Introduced by Victor Shen MBV ’14 and fellow West Point graduate, Petraeus addressed Professor of Clinical Management and Organization Robert Turrill’s MBV class on adapting veterans’ experience and expertise to different work and cultural environments. He recommended that veterans select an intellectually and remuneratively rewarding career and develop expertise in that field.
“An enormous percentage of our veterans—especially after the experiences of the last decade—have discipline, appreciation for the blessings of life, extraordinary experience and expertise and a degree of determination to take advantage of the opportunities that they have,” said Petraeus. “You are part of that cohort. You are in a university that is in a surge, … and I know that you will make the most of it.”
Afterward, student and veteran Annette Leija MBV ’14 who served under Petraeus in the Middle East, expressed her thoughts on the visit.
“In theater, when we were deployed, everyone gravitated to him,” said Leija, “not just because he was the four-star general on the ground but because of the genuine sense that he cared for us as our leader. Going through the MBV program at Marshall, those are the leadership skills on which I want to build.”