Fuqua is known for being a very student-driven school, which was one of the main reasons I wanted to join this community. In some of my first interactions, I could see the many possibilities for students to be leaders within the Fuqua community. Though these leadership positions would not come without challenges, the potential to make a difference for your peers and the broader community was certainly evident.
Taking the responsibility of being a leader at Fuqua is essential to maintaining the community which we love so much. You have to remain focused on creating engaging opportunities for people who share the same interests as you, that somehow identify with you , or more broadly to the general community. This can mean the world for many people. Recruiting can be especially hard, as the world is changing (like we’ve experienced this past year). People don’t have a lot of time so it is crucial to have that core group of people that will facilitate professional, academic, social and cultural exchange.
Personally, this has also been an incredibly enriching experience for me. Besides enhancing my leadership skills with all the planning and negotiation that goes along with the role, I was also able to make many unique connections with the staff, faculty, other classmates, and my partners. In my case, also taking on some responsibilities at Fuqua made me a much more confident public speaker and helped me to build the courage to take risks that were important for me and for the impact I wanted to make.
Of course, you’ll find many challenges that go with leadership along the way. First, pursuing your MBA is one of the moments of life with more opportunities to engage with people. This in turn makes prioritization of duties a problematic task. To tackle that, I always suggest understanding early in the process what are your goals, what you want to take away from each experience, and the kind of impact you wish to make. Also, leading your classmates can sometimes be challenging. But learning how to do that with grace and thoughtfulness will help you to develop the leadership skills required to be a good leader in the business world.
People usually wonder how much time and dedication a leadership position demands. I would say that it depends on the responsibility of the role, the problems you need to address, and the extension of the impact you want to create. Different moments ask for different levels of commitment for various positions. It is up to you, along with your peers, cabinet members, team members or co-presidents, to create a feasible and actionable plan that will contribute to the Fuqua community.
Moreover, taking on the challenges of leadership positions at Fuqua was one of the highlights of my MBA experience. I created new things from scratch and helped other initiatives to keep growing. Along the way, I feel like I connected with people who share my values, expanded my culture to the entire Fuqua community, learned how to be a better leader, and gained a family outside of my home country. And I saw the same thing happening to many other people, as they contributed to the experiences of other classmates, all while building strong relationships.
The many leadership opportunities at Fuqua (whether you want to be a club co-president, a career fellow, a COLE fellow, an MBA Association VP, among many other things) are fantastic ways to give back to your community and drive meaningful impact for your classmates. But also, if you allow yourself to expand outside of your comfort zone and learn from the various roles, it will be an incredibly transformational experience and will make you a better leader of consequence!