The Rady Veterans’ Association (RVA) hosted its first annual Leadership Challenge at the San Diego Paintball Park on Friday, April 10. The event, which was open to all students, staff, alumni and faculty of the Rady School, involved seven different paintball games, lunch, networking and leadership education.
“We wanted to challenge Rady students to get out of their comfort zones and provide immediate feedback to the leaders and players for their decisions in strategy and actions,” said RVA member Vance Lopez. “[The event] required players to embrace fear while working together to accomplish a shared goal or vision. Once people realized what they were capable of in the arena, their decision-making tempo, process and teamwork improved.”
During the event, RVA members focused on four core military leadership principles that are easily applicable to the business world: leading by example, clear and concise communication, the importance of team cohesion, and utilizing the OODA (observe, orient, decide, act) loop process as a strategic element. Players were introduced to the principles in mission briefings before and after the games. They also participated in discussions of their experiences and implementations of the leadership principles.
The event was sponsored by Waddell & Reed, an asset management and financial planning firm in San Diego. The sponsorship allowed RVA to provide lunch and purchase extra paintballs for extended play at the event. In addition, students were able to network and interact with representatives from the firm.
Ultimately, the paintball games gave students the opportunity to network and bond with each other in a unique, fun way and encouraged team building in a relatively high-intensity yet risk-free environment.
In the future, RVA hopes to expand the event, adding elements such as a leadership award, corporate recruiters and an influential guest speaker who is both a veteran and a leader in the business community.
“The hope is that each person learned a little something about his or herself at the extent to which they can push their mental and physical capabilities to achieve greater potential. Our hope is that in their future endeavors, they consider the four leadership principles we addressed to improve their decision-making, teams and companies,” said Lopez.
RVA will continue to host similar events, including the annual Fall BBQ, beginning in the next academic year. Through these events, RVA aims to share military experiences and values with classmates in the hopes of developing strong and ethical business leaders.
Small class sizes, individualized career development and a curriculum focused on real-life business solutions at the Rady School provide a personalized MBA experience to help current and former military leaders choose the right career path or provide a competitive edge for top military positions. Download our MBA eBook for insights from current students and alumni on their professional background, why they chose Rady, the top industries alumni secure jobs in and more.
Aleena Karamally is a student writer for the Rady School and a freshman at UC San Diego. She is a Human Development major and a member of the UC San Diego Equestrian Team.