I didn’t know exactly what to expect when I signed up for the Booth Leadership Vision Retreat, though it was an concept that had been brewing in Booth’s Leadership Development Office for several years. What I found was an incredible opportunity to get out of Chicago for a weekend, reflect on what was important, share my experiences with my community, and think about the next steps in my life.
Going through Booth’s LEAD program once can bring people together. Going through it twice, builds even deeper relationships. And traveling to the other side of the world together for one of the biggest events of a lifetime ensures lifelong friendships.
As a second year LEAD facilitator, you dedicate two quarters of your Booth experience to creating and learning content, which you then deliver to the incoming Class during Orientation. Between your cohort squad and your work-group squads, you spend an incredible amount of time with the same sets of people.
Do you sometimes feel like less of a Gene Fama and more like a Gene Hackman? Want to practice your story-writing to prepare for internship recruiting? Want to show that you’re the funniest person at Booth? Want to prove you have the most entertaining cohort? I have some good news for you.
One of the major draws to Booth for me was its structured program that would allow me to work on my “soft” skills (or as Booth’s Leadership Development office calls them, “action” skills), like teamwork, public speaking, and leadership. The Leadership, Effectiveness And Development (LEAD) program at the beginning of my first year allowed me to do just that: I had a chance to study how my personality affects my leadership style, understand the default role I tend to play within a team, and practice giving a persuasive speech to my classmates.
These skills and insights were immensely valuable and came into play for me numerous times throughout my first year and my summer internship. So I decided that being a leadership facilitator in my second year would be a perfect way for me to “pay it forward,” while continuing to work on my own leadership skills.
Coming from a non-traditional background of majoring in biomedical engineering and working as a software developer, I have to admit that I was nervous about coming to business school. Not only did I have a lot to learn in the classroom (since I had only taken one business course during my entire undergraduate experience), but I also had a lot to learn outside the classroom when it came to management and leadership styles. The flexible curriculum at Booth really helped me brush up on my business skills for the former, but Leadership Exploration and Development (LEAD) was what really helped me excel at the latter.