Learning to Lead Leaders
As I near the last few weeks of my 1st year, I have been thinking about the many experiences that I have had while here at Kellogg. Like many students, I went on KWEST, participated in Complete Immersion in Management (CIM), learned to snowboard during Ski Trip and met with a variety of companies and alums during Global Initiatives in Management (GIM). Though these experiences have been AMAZING, the most transformative and enjoyable experience I have had has been co-chairing the Day at Kellogg (DAK) executive team. In this role, I had the opportunity to meet many individuals in the class of 2014, work with administrators and admission staff, and work with 13 passionate and driven 1st years.
Because Kellogg is EXTREMELY student-led, co-leading this team allowed me to build my leadership and organization skills in a way that I do not think I would have been able to do elsewhere. Each year, DAK brings 300 admitted students to campus in February and April to experience what life is like at Kellogg. Unlike other business schools, our admitted students weekend is student-led with the support of the administration. Taking on this leadership endeavor was scary, time-consuming and challenging but given the opportunity, I would do it again in a heartbeat! Why you ask? Because taking on challenging, “meaty” roles like this is not just what business school is about, but it is what being a leader is about.
When I leave Kellogg and head back to the workforce, I will be expected to challenge myself and take on roles that are large and complex. In those roles, leveraging the technical skills I learned in business school will be important but equally important will be how I work with and manage people. The best leaders set, articulate and gain buy-in for a vision, support and encourage their team ,and help clear any barriers that may stand in their teams way. These are the skills that I am focused on and I successfully tackled this challenge because of the Management and Organizations coursework and watching the many leaders around me.
I think people come to business school focused on switching jobs, taking a break from jobs or learning new technical skills, but they underestimate how important the “softer” managerial skills are to their success. I have to say, growing in this area has been wonderful and one of the most important skills that I have improved upon while at Kellogg.