Tag Archives: LEAD

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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From Overlooking the Bean to Exploring Beantown

Greetings from Boston! This summer, I traded my view of Chicago’s “Bean” sculpture for the city nicknamed Beantown (though I have avoided the eponymous summer food staple due to the recent heat spell we have been facing in the Northeast!). I am about to kick off week nine of my internship at Providence Strategic Growth, the software-focused growth equity arm of Providence Equity Partners. I have been lucky to have had an incredibly active summer—both at work and at play—slotting in on a few deal teams for platform and add-on acquisitions, attending a couple pitches and board meetings, testing out what I learned at Booth in leadership, strategic problem-solving, and even meeting up with our deans for a sneak peek at the new initiatives being implemented for the upcoming year.

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A Path To The Tipping Point

“You going to sign up for this ‘Tipping Point’ deal?” a friend asked me as we walked out of one of our Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD) classes early in the quarter.

I replied, “I don’t know – I’m not clear what it is, exactly. A case competition? With alumni as judges? And you only receive materials the night beforehand? Sounds intense – and there’s already so much else to do this quarter.”

“I know man – but every second year who did it says it was one of the best parts of LEAD.”

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