By Amrit Chavada
It would be hard to imagine any business school degree without significant coursework on leadership. Yet I think many people believe it is a skill individuals are born with, or something that perhaps could be honed over an extensive period of time in the right environment.
As a first-quarter student in the One-Year MBA program at Kellogg, we dove into our academics with a course titled “Leadership In Organizations.” The class is designed to enhance our leadership skills.
The coursework for leadership is interesting because it places a lot of importance on practical and conceptual training. The professor for the course brings together theories and concepts from behavioral sciences to understand people, and he uses these insights to change behavior for more effective leadership. Through case studies, class discussions, research findings and simulation exercises, we have been able to think through the application of these concepts to real-life situations.
Many of my fellow classmates have held important leadership positions at some point in time in their careers. These are people who are used to managing teams and making hard decisions in complex situations. With that context, we had particularly interesting sessions on negotiations and influence; it is challenge to negotiate in situations where all individuals involved are dynamic and powerful.
The ability to participate in simulations and class discussions with a variety of powerful, well-informed personalities adds tremendous value to the overall learning experience.
My classmates and I are already taking the concepts taught in class and applying them to our lives outside of the classroom. From actively building diverse networks to trying to influence what after-hours spot we go to, we are using these behavioral science tools extensively and constantly find ourselves referencing them in casual conversations.
This leadership course has given us a strong base of concepts, and going forward, there are many electives in the One-Year program that build off of this course.
Can leadership be learned in a classroom? My answer would be a strongly resounding yes.
Amrit Chavada is a student in Kellogg’s One-Year MBA Program. Prior to Kellogg she worked in brand management and marketing roles in retail. She is from Mumbai, India.