Editor’s note: Jeff Stratton, former President of McDonald’s USA, sent OCC this note for publication prior to his retirement in October. Stratton, an OCC alum, was with McDonald’s for 41 years. We thank him for his kind words. Look for more #OCCis50 alumni profiles in this spot. If you’d like to share your story about attending OCC, please contact Margarita Bauza Wagerson at (248) 341-2125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am proud to be an OCC alum. But when I was a student, I never imagined that I would be in the position I am today.
As the president of McDonald’s USA, I’m responsible for the operations of more than 15,500 restaurants in the USA and Canada. I’ve been with McDonald’s for 40 years. But I started out as one of six kids from a modest Detroit family. And, like many of you, I completed important coursework at OCC.
Ultimately, I received the bulk of my education at McDonald’s itself. In fact, 40 percent of our top executives, like me, started in the restaurants. But that kind of “trial by fire” career success is becoming rarer and rarer. A college degree is fast becoming a prerequisite.
We each chart our own path in life and make our own choices. But if you’re making the choice to attend OCC as I did 40 years ago, know that you’re making a good one. OCC offers the kind of well-rounded educational opportunity that will help get where you want to go in life — perhaps a lot faster than I did!
Here’s a little of what I’ve learned over the years: Build your foundation on integrity and values. Surround yourself with people who think differently than you. And remain flexible enough to respond when the right opportunity comes your way.
When you do, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.