Finding the Leader in You

Every leader is unique.

When I was a freshman, I learned about leadership through a communication class. The definition of leadership was easy to understand. However, how to build leadership skills in my college life was abstract and unclear for me.

I thought serving in a leadership position was the only way to build leadership skills. So I waited for those kinds of opportunities to present themselves, instead of seeking out other chances to build leadership skills.

One semester later, a professor asked me if I had leadership experience during a mock interview. I froze. But then she asked me to think of a time when I was a small group leader, or a group member in her class. She said I could use either scenario as a starting point to find concrete examples of my leadership experience.

I finally realized that I didn’t need to wait for a “big” position. Being a leader in a small group taught me how to make a decision, how to build relationships with group members, and how to solve problems. Also, when I was a group member, I learned how to manage time, how to face conflicts, and how to leverage my best skills — as well as those of my teammates — to benefit the group as a whole. Everyone has their own leadership style, and we can all learn from one another.

Learning to lead is an adventure at ASU.

Outside of class, there are tons of ways to build leadership skills as a W. P. Carey student, including W. P. Carey Mentorship Programs. I am involved with Connectors@WPC, a peer-to-peer mentoring program for first-year business students. I was a mentor for two freshmen last year, and currently have two new mentees.

I enjoy mentoring because it gives me a variety of opportunities to practice leadership, such as giving advice, adjusting schedules, and solving problems. I always learn from my mentees as well.

You can also strengthen and grow your leadership skills by getting involved with W. P. Carey student clubs and organizations. You can run for and serve on an executive board, help plan and host events, and network with other business students and professionals. You might even expand your understanding of leadership by getting a job on campus.

Very few people are natural born leaders. But with so many opportunities around you, it’s easy to find the leader in you at ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business.