“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Smoke billowed from the North Tower. As I watched from my freshman college dorm room at Brown, a second plane flew into the South Tower. Andrew, a new friend, asked, "What do we do, Scott?"

My answer was not immediate. But my love for my country, its ideals and values, and my commitment to making an impact, led me to a simple answer. I would serve as an officer in the U.S. Army.

As a 23-year-old Army platoon leader in Iraq, my unit was sent into the heart of the Iraqi insurgency. Our mission was to clear the area of insurgents, hold the ground with our Iraqi comrades, and rebuild the city through political and economic development projects. A young soldier in my unit, fresh on what would turn out to be a 15-month-long mission, asked me in a fearful tone through a stone gaze, "What do we do, Sir?"

My training as an Army Ranger led me to a complex answer. We would embark on a critical mission to turn the tide of the war in Iraq.

As I depart from HBS, I reflect on the personal values, life lessons, business insights, and leadership training gained from friends, classmates, and professors. The future challenges and opportunities I will face as a business leader are unknown, but I believe I am ready to answer the question, "What do we do, Scott?"

— Scott Quigley