Interdisciplinary Lessons from the Marines

David "Bull" Gurfein


Thought Leader

Episode: 10
June 2, 2017

Episode Description:

David Gurfein, whose nickname “Bull” fits the bill, is a decorated Marine Corps Combat veteran who enlisted at age 17. He drove tanks and was an honor graduate from Officer Candidate School while attending Syracuse University. Upon graduation from college, he accepted a commission as a Marine 2nd Lieutenant. Over the subsequent eleven years, Bull served as a combat Infantry Officer, leading Marines in the jungles of Panama, in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and on the fence-line at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He left active duty to earn his MBA at Harvard in 2000, where he was Co-President of his class.

Bull started a business career after graduate school; however, when the U.S. was attacked on 9/11, Bull voluntarily returned to active duty. He saw combat action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and served as a Congressional Liaison for the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and the Special Operations Command.

With a daughter on the way and 25 years of service under his belt, Bull retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. Since then, he has applied his leadership and management experience to the business world, focusing on organizational design and business development. His leadership training program, entitled WHOOPASS, has positively impacted start-ups and Fortune 500 companies alike.

Oh, and he took a break from that in 2016 to run for U.S. Congress.

Despite his vast accomplishments, most who meet Bull are particularly intrigued by his brief cinematic cameo. With a physical appearance right out of central casting, Hollywood producers tapped him for a role in the film A Few Good Men. Bull prevented Jack Nicholson's Colonel Nathan Jessup from tearing apart Tom Cruise’s Lt. Daniel Kaffee in the movie’s climactic court room scene.

Our conversation discusses principles of leadership, management, and resource allocation, alongside colorful stories of successes and failures. Bull's frameworks have clear applicability to anyone overseeing an investment process.

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