Tag Archives: Harry Davis

30 years of LEAD: Reflecting with Professor Harry Davis

Chicago Booth is known for its flexible curriculum, which allows students to curate a tailored MBA experience by picking and choosing the courses they want to do. In fact, there is only one class that is mandatory for everyone: Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD). The course is designed to enhance one’s self-awareness and interpersonal effectiveness by working in teams and going through modules such as cross-cultural communication, personality development, and feedback and coaching.

Each year, 40 second-year students (called LEAD facilitators) are selected by faculty to design and deliver this flagship course to an incoming class of ~600 students. I had the pleasure of being a LEAD facilitator this year, an experience that has been the highlight of my time at business school.

But in a school that is known for cutting-edge research in finance and economics—and has faculty that is at the forefront of their fields—why is a student-run course on leadership the only mandatory class? I got the amazing opportunity to sit down with Professor Harry Davis to reflect on the journey of LEAD, 30 years after he started the program in 1989.

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So you want to be a rock star? Take a strategy class with Harry Davis at Booth.

Over the last two years, I’ve had the opportunity to play in several rock bands with some incredibly talented MBA student musicians. There’s nothing quite like performing music in front of others. Every time I play a live show with my Booth rock band, Ida Noise, I feel overwhelmed with joy. It’s not that different from how I felt when I was working this summer as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group – I loved structuring and solving problems for my clients and then collaborating with my co-workers in live, improvisational, brainstorming sessions.

Jamming at the 2018 Booth Battle of the Bands Auditions with Maroon 7.

Before coming to Booth, I always thought that my identity as a would-be business strategist conflicted with my love for playing and making music. How can you have a demanding, challenging, and financially rewarding career as a strategist and be a serious musician at the same time?

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