Authenticity: A Key to Management Education

Photograph by Martin Barraud

Warren Bennis
Writing this blog today, Aug. 3, 2012, excavated a memory almost seven decades old. It was my four-month training at Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Ft. Benning, Ga. In 120 days I would become a “shave-tail,” a 2nd Lieutenant, Infantry, a “replacement officer,” U.S. Army, headed for combat in Germany. It was 1944 and I was 19 and when my commanding officer pinned that gold-colored strip of brass on my epaulets, I felt like shouting, even more than the day of my bar mitzvah: “Today I am a Man!” For many years after, I would often refer to my Benning days as the “best education” I ever had. Now I know why. OCS exposed and prepared me for the future I would soon face; as close and proximate to the “actual” experience of leading an infantry platoon in southern Germany. If you define a good education as that which prepares you for your next step in life, Benning was as good as it gets.

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