Only three months into the Tech MBA program at NYU Stern, my classes have already played a large role in impacting my future career as a professional and leader.
Our Spring semester was packed with many business core classes such as Accounting, Economics, Business Communication, and Leadership. Among all of these great classes, Leadership in Organization (LiO) – the opening class of the MBA, taught by Professor Petitt – specifically stood out. Not only because it was a very engaging class, but also because it’s centered on a topic that all of us can relate to. No matter what point of your career you are at, no matter if you are in a tech, creative or strategy team, Leadership will be the key to unlock your success at its maximum potential as well as the success of your organization. And, a bit more surprisingly, this course also taught me that strong leadership skills are critical to helping your personal relationships flourish.
But first, let me start by addressing the most common question that people ask themselves (including me) when approaching a Leadership class: “Can I really learn Leadership in a classroom?”
The answer is rooted in the notion of leadership itself. Leadership is the ability to create change in a given environment; this could be your organization, your team or your family/friends.
We are all naturally capable of creating change by making decisions; if you think about it, you make hundreds of decisions everyday, with various degrees of risk. This course provided me with the right tools to analyze difficult situations and opportunities to act and to make difficult decisions to achieve the best outcomes for a set goal. And when I say making difficult decisions, I literally mean decisions that impact your actual life – not a business case, not a simulation. So yes, you can learn Leadership in a this classroom!
So what was so good about this course?
– Content: human, social and organizational aspects of leadership
Throughout our six intensive sessions, we have explored all the different dimensions and aspects of leadership, from individual motivations to group dynamics inside and outside the organization, touching on cultural differences in business interactions and ethical dilemmas. We covered a wide range of interesting topics, yet went deep enough to be able to embed these learnings into our professional lives.
– Methodology: pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone
The greatest aspect of this course was the “experiential” component that enabled us to test our leadership skills in many different situations – I won’t spoil anything here, but get ready to push your limits and face some challenging situations! And – bonus point – while doing so, you will get to know your classmates better and also have fun!
– Outcome: increased self-knowledge
Because of the way the course was structured, through each session and each assignment we had the opportunity to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to leadership and take actions to improve some of the key areas that are critical to become a good leader. I learnt about the theory and the frameworks, but most importantly I learnt more about myself, how to recognize my biases and how to overcome them, as well as how to leverage my current skills to improve my leadership style.
Mix all the above points with the enthusiasm and humor of Professor Petitt, and you will get all the ingredients for a memorable, game-changing class!