Saturday, May 21, 2011

Leadership roles I played this year

I've spent two semesters at CBS already! The next wave of newbies will arrive, come fall. Looking back, the year had enough ups and downs to make it interesting and worthwhile. It's funny to note that the 2nd years who graduated had a "disorientation party" in May. The class of 2013 will have the "orientation week" in August. Where does that put us, the class of 2012? I for one am eagerly looking forward to the 2nd year. With one year at CBS, now I know what to do and what not to and there's so much left to do. I wonder how it feels if you do a 1year MBA. How much quickly can you get settled, when do you try out new things and when do you have the liberty to do course correction? Oh well, I'm a proponent of the two year program then, I guess!

I know I've to blog about many topics that occurred through the year. For this post, I'm going to focus on some of the "leadership" activities I contributed to at CBS in the past two semesters. As I wrote long ago, there are many avenues at CBS where one can develop these skills. My resume lists the following.
  • AVP Careers, South Asia Business Association (2011)
  • Member, Hermes Society (2011 & 2012)
  • Volunteer, India Business Conference (2011)
  • Co-chair, India Business Conference (2012)
  • Peer Advisor, Class of 2013 (2012)
If you are a serious applicant or already been admitted you'd have learned that there is an AVP role available for every single first year who wants one :-). That's not to disregard the importance of these roles but to say that there are enough opportunities to showcase and build these skills. As an international first year student and on top of that a career changer, recruiting was on the top of my mind from the day I set foot in the campus. Therefore, I gravitated naturally towards a role that would work on getting together the various 2nd year students who have been there and done that and set up discussion panels and mentoring sessions for the 1st years.

One thing, I would recommend is to develop relationships with 2nd year students during my first semester itself. First semester life is very busy and there are more than enough things to do everyday when you are recruiting for finance/consulting. And also you prioritize getting to know your cluster better, figuring out accounting and any other difficult subjects that you may more or less forget these 2nd years are also in the same campus. The various clubs do a good job in getting the 2nd years and 1st years to mix especially during the first semester, but not every 2nd year is an active member in these clubs.

Hermes society is a club that assists the adcom. There is an application/interview process to get membership. It was a great experience being part of Hermes. I met with many prospective/admitted students, replied to many emails especially from applicants in India and also got to call/email and congratulate a new bunch of admits from India/South Asia.

As a first year, one gets involved in many things on campus. It's a chaos and you just try to live in the moment. After two semesters of that, a time comes when you might think more deeply about how you wish to make a real difference, like leaving a mark/legacy for the future. To me, the India Business Conference fills that void.  I had great fun and enjoyed the experience of volunteering for this year's conference with a bunch of 2nd year and 1st year students who were part of SABA club. The commitment to the conference, the positive attitude especially during challenging times that I observed in two of the 2nd year co-chairs - Surya Mohan and Saurabh Malpani really inspired me. And the way the team of 2nd and 1st years jelled together, the camaraderie was outstanding. Needless to say, the conference was a great success! So when the time came to apply for the co-chair position, this is what I wrote.

We learn many aspects of leadership at CBS and even pass judgments on various cases that we study in courses like Organizational Change and Leadership Development. But only platforms such as IBC actually provide us with a real world experience on leadership. My experience volunteering for IBC 2011 was phenomenal. As a volunteer, I enjoyed working with the IBC team and also developed my own organizational skills. I believe a co-chair has much more responsibility and many more opportunities to develop such skills. Given the chance, I will work diligently with my co-chair, the SABA and the IBC volunteers in ensuring we raise the bar even higher!

And I am thrilled that I was selected to co-chair along with Shobhit Datta who was also a strong contributor in the 2011 conference.

Considering this has been a long post, I shall write about Peer Advising as a separate one. Peer advising is one of the most sought after leadership roles on campus and I think it will be worthwhile to write about it separately.