Leadership is a much discussed theme in business school, especially here at Ross. During the last year, I've had the opportunity to observe leadership both inside and outside of the classroom. Some people are natural-born leaders, while some including myself, are probably not. Some people lead by actions, some by words, some by just being who they are. What Ross provides to everyone is the opportunity to challenge yourself as a leader through numerous workshops, classes, and extracurricular activities. However, ultimately leadership development is very personal and it's up to you to make the most out of your Ross experience.
Starting with RLI orientation activities, you are encouraged to explore who you are as a leader and where you can improve. In addition, classes offered by the Management & Organizations department allow you to take part in real-life applications and experience leadership firsthand. A prime example is a class that I took in Fall A called "Business Leadership in Changing Times", which brought in top executives from six different firms to speak about on-the-job leadership and crisis management. I can think of no other opportunity that allows students to question the CEO of Union Pacific about his commitment to railroad safety or the President of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company about ads that some groups claim target children. Different students each week also formed an advocate team that the rest of the class peppered with questions about these same crisis issues. This class really gave you the opportunity to experience "real-life" leadership, by not only allowing you to step into the shoes of an executive team for an hour, but by having these same executives speak to you about the real challenges of leading a company in today's business world.
That being said, I've found that leadership at Ross is often more apparent outside of the classroom. There are numerous opportunities to take on both formal and informal leadership roles within your section and within student clubs. Last year, myself and a group of 4 others noticed that there were few opportunities for students to get involved in the local Ann Arbor community. In response, we started up a new club this year called Community Action @ Ross, with the goal of getting everyone to commit to 10 hours of community service for the academic year. We're currently at 140+ pledges and counting! This just demonstrates that leadership opportunities are always out there- it's just up to you to take action.
"The Future Leaders of the World": MBA Class of 2012 Section 6!
At our Weekly Supper Club! Photo Credit: Shu Toyofuku