When Lieutenant Commander Gary Ryals interviewed for the UCLA Anderson School of Graduate Management executive MBA program in 2006, the Navy SEAL did so on a secure phone line from his command center in Baghdad. During his first year in the program, Ryals continued to serve in Iraq and was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic achievement. Not at all surprising, he became a leader to his academic peers and was his Anderson class’s commencement speaker. Ryals was nominated for a second Bronze Star in Afghanistan, where the 18-year veteran led 21 combat missions as the Commander of the SEAL Task Force for Southern Afghanistan. Now the Executive Officer of SEAL Team One in Coronado, California, Ryals is also a sought-after consultant in team building and leadership development.