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Students should join clubs that can give them value — and lead clubs where they can add value, says Jesse Loubier ’12 (left), the executive vice president of clubs and finance for the Kellogg Student Association.

Students should join clubs that can give them value — and lead clubs where they can add value, says Jesse Loubier ’12 (left), the executive vice president of clubs and finance for the Kellogg Student Association.

Leadership opportunities abound

'There’s so much more to being here than academics,' second-year students tell those just starting at Kellogg

By Rebecca Little

9/30/2011 - Learning and leading outside the classroom is just as important to the Kellogg experience as a rigorous education. With more than 150 clubs and conferences, students have many extracurricular opportunities to put their management skills to use.

“There’s so much more to being here than academics,” said Evan Sharp ’12, who spoke at a panel discussion on how first-year students can maximize their leadership development at Kellogg. In a casual discussion over pizza, second-year students offered incoming students advice on how to navigate the many opportunities. Here’s their advice:

Balance commitments

Choose two activities to focus on, one professional and one social.

“When you’re assessing which clubs to join, you’re assessing which ones can give value to you. When thinking about where to become a leader, you’re assessing where you can give value,” said Jesse Loubier ’12, the executive vice president of clubs and finance for the Kellogg Student Association.

Loubier said his extracurricular experiences have allowed him to test his management skills before re-entering the job market. “I wanted to do things that are really hard in a low-risk environment,” Loubier said.

Make your mark

Sharp, the Kellogg Student Association’s vice president of career management, chose his activities based on where he felt he could make the biggest impact. For instance, he is serving as the co-chair for the upcoming 25th Black Management Association Conference and has been working on logistics, marketing, sponsorships and fundraising, as well as coordinating speakers. “I wanted to take ownership of something and leave a legacy at the school,” he said. “This particular role, I felt, was where I could leave a footprint.”

Not all business

The professional clubs and conferences are obvious ways to show leadership, but even social activities offer opportunities for leaders in the making. Gabi Arnay ’12 is the executive director of Special K!, the annual student comedy revue. “Academics took up a lot of my time, so I focused on extracurriculars as a social outlet,” she said. She pointed out that while she isn’t going to become an actress (she wants to work in new media strategy after graduation), it was an opportunity to enjoy a grad-school lark while developing her management abilities.

Shradha Balakrishnan ’13 said she appreciated the students’ advice.

“Each opportunity sounds better than the next,” she said. “It definitely helped to hear how they manage their time and all of the activities available.” Balakrishnan isn’t waiting to develop her leadership skills — she has already has signed on to serve as a team leader for the Global Initiatives in Management (GIM) trip to China.