"Getting out of the Marines was a harder decision than staying in," says Mike Cornacchione (MBA '11). "There’s nowhere else I can imagine getting those management experiences."
Cornacchione, a new full-time Kogod graduate student, was at the end of a four-year contract with the U.S. Marine Corps in June 2009.
He had joined the service full-time after his undergraduate graduation from Elon College; he’d attended the Marines’ Officer Candidates School in Quantico over his college summers and was commissioned as a lieutenant upon finishing school.
"I was always interested in the Marines," he explains. "There’s a pride of belonging. I wanted to join a branch that was very challenging and rewarding."
The Marine Corps designated his specialty as aircraft maintenance and he spent time training in Pensacola, Florida before being stationed in Japan for two years.
In Japan, Cornacchione oversaw more than 50 Marines at a facility where aircraft were inspected and repaired. He was in charge of logistics and maintenance and would occasionally deploy to other islands in Japan, Thailand and Australia to organize training exercises. When he had the chance, he spent free time visiting places such as Hong Kong and Vietnam. It was those managerial experiences that led him to pursue an MBA.
"The Marines are an incredibly efficient organization," he says. "They are 100% committed to getting the job done. Everything comes second to that."
But after spending his last year managing Marine Corps recruiters in Cleveland, Mike was ready for something different – a "career accelerator," as he puts it.
Although he doesn't completely rule out returning to the military, he’s considering the International Business concentration, perhaps because of the considerable time he spent abroad.
"It was a once in a lifetime opportunity," Cornacchione says.