U.S. Marine Corps veteran Captain Corey McMillen (’17) is pursuing his MBA as much to attain his career goals as to make a difference for other military veterans. He specialized in logistics and operations and, in the months between departing the Marine Corps and starting his full-time MBA, he offered his skills pro bono to Wounded Warrior Homes in San Diego.
McMillen is one of four UCLA Anderson students who will receive a 2016 John Wooden Global Leadership Fellowship on November 2. He says early examples of leadership and service inspired his volunteer spirit.
Introduced to the teachings of Coach John Wooden as a teenager, McMillen says he only recently understood how deliberately the Pyramid of Success was built — and “the genius behind it,” as he puts it. “I don’t always think of myself as the smartest person in the room,” he laughs, “but I’m most likely the hardest working.”
The Fort Lauderdale native joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 2004 at age 17 with the consent of his mother, who eight years earlier had seized the reins of the family business when McMillen’s father — a cruise ship musical talent agent — died young. She wanted to see him complete his studies at the University of Central Florida, which McMillen combined with Officer Candidate School in 2005, becoming a full-time officer in 2008 and embarking on his first deployment in 2010, a second in 2011.
McMillen was stationed with a NATO unit in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, navigating and refining operations in a difficult international context when he found himself working under an officer of the Royal Air Force. “He was the smartest and most influential leader I have ever met. He consistently planned four or five steps ahead of everyone else and always knew the right question to ask, regardless of how chaotic or complex the environment,” McMillen says, recalling how he learned to own the challenge of sifting through information and language barriers, covering all contingencies to anticipate the needs of people and facilities while under attack.