Leadership has recently become a commonly used buzzword. With such a term being used so frequently, I thought I’d delve deeper into leadership and it’s meaning to me.
The dictionary definition of leadership is ‘the action of leading a group of people or an organization; the state or position of being a leader; the capacity to lead.’ In my experiences with leadership, merely having the capacity or position to lead is not sufficient to truly be a leader. Simply being in a position to lead is not enough because a leader in today’s world is successful using influence rather than authority.
Influence highlights the fact that a leader must have followers in order to lead. In order to have followers, a leader must be able to listen and understand. This is an essential skill that emphasizes leadership the most to me. As said by John Maxwell “people buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.”
Blog Author: Kendell Harris
I am hoping to use my experience as student, Graduate Assistant and a beneficiary of the Leadership and Professional Development Program (LAPDP) to give real life and practical examples of how the LAPDP can help student’s careers.
My Experience as a Student
In the fall semester of 2010 I transferred from Pitt Community College to East Carolina University as a junior. I had the opportunity to participate in 3 of the 4 LAPDP courses and learned firsthand from business professionals that teach the courses now.
My Experience as a Graduate Assistant
In the fall semester of 2012 I started the Masters of Science in Accounting (MSA) at East Carolina University and have worked for the BUSI 2200 and BUSI 3200 classes.
My Experience as a Beneficiary
Between attending Undergraduate and Graduate School, I worked as an intern at Ernest and Young. Using the LAPDP helped me not only get the internship, but to work with teams to successfully complete the internship.
Blog Author: Kendell Harris
Whether you call it professionalism, charisma, or swagger, the knowledge students gain in the Leadership and Professional Development Program brings them a degree of confidence that they wouldn’t otherwise possess. Sure an accountant can crunch numbers, and a marketer can generate sales, however, the intangibles are what make professionals top performers in their field.
About myself: I grew up in Perquimans County (near Elizabeth City) as the youngest of six kids. To keep ourselves busy, my 2 brothers and I learned almost any sport (from golf to ping pong, basketball and football). At any given day you can find me in the ECU gym playing a pickup game of basketball.
When I have free time I love to travel. Some of my favorite places I have been are South Africa, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. I hope to visit Europe for the first time next year.
My wife and I have learned American Sign Language (ASL) and joined a Sign Language Congregation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Interestingly, 4 years ago I didn’t know anyone who was deaf, and now I have deaf friends from all over NC.
My favorite class I have taken at ECU is Tax Research. As odd as that sounds, I always wondered how to use law instead of google to answer tax questions. After taking that class I feel prepared to start my career.
Over the next couple of weeks, I am hoping to use my experiences as a student, Graduate Assistant and beneficiary of the Leadership and Professional Development Program (LAPDP) to give real life and practical examples of how the LAPDP can help student’s careers.
Blog Author: Aaron Hall
The final class of the Leadership and Professional Development Program, BUSI 4200, was the class where we tied together everything that we learned throughout our four years. This class included working as a team to develop a solve a real world problem and then present the problem and solution to our classmates and professors. This would be the final critique of our leadership skills and professionalism that we would receive before graduation.
Most importantly, it is a neat time to look back and see how far you’ve come over the past four years. In four years I went from reading off slides during presentations to being able to engage my audience and know what I am talking about without notes. I went from leading dysfunctional teams to knowing how to quickly solve problems and delegate tasks to group members according to their strengths.
Upon graduation I was confident and impressed in the businessman that I had become. In just a short amount of time the College of Business molded me into a true professional that is confident in his abilities and has high goals for the future. The Leadership & Professional Development Program elevates the ECU College of Business far above other programs in the state. I say this because I’ve talked with business students across the state that envy our program and see the change it has placed within me.
If you are a prospective student or current student at the University who is undecided, I strongly recommend this program. I assure you that you will learn so many important skills while having a little fun in the process. You will be surprised in how what you learn today, will help you lead tomorrow. To read the rest of my blog posts, click here.
Blog Author: Aaron Hall
The third and most interesting class of the LaPDP, in my opinion, was the professional development course. This is where the CoB made me look like a businessman. We started BUSI 3200 by learning the basics of professionalism. For example how to write a cover page and resume. Once we completed that, we had the opportunity to schedule a mock interview with local business leaders who would interview us and critique our interviewing skills. In addition to that, we learned how to properly shake hands with people, how to give and receive a business card, and how to act during a group presentation.
The centerpiece of the class is the professional etiquette dinner. For a couple of weeks, we went over proper “mingling” techniques and dining etiquette. Once learning the basics of etiquette, we attended a practice etiquette dinner. The dinner showed us students how to act professionally when talking with people before the dinner and how to properly act once at the table. At each table a professor would guide us through the process and answer any questions we had about certain situations.
I loved this class because it was laid back and fun. It showed me that professionalism isn’t about being stiff and boring; it’s about making yourself and everyone around you comfortable. After graduation, I had the opportunity to attend a couple of dinners that required professional etiquette. I have to admit that without this class I would’ve been lost and could have made myself and everyone at my table uncomfortable. Instead, I used my knowledge to meet new people and enjoy a nice meal with business professionals. The culmination of the skills acquired the past three courses leads me to the Cap-Stone course.
Read more of my posts by clicking here.
Blog Author: Aaron Hall
The second class, BUSI 2200, had two parts to it. One was a leadership/team building lab and the other was a class focused on working on a team for a client.
The lab was an interesting concept that I was certain no other business school had. Each week, for a couple of hours, we would spend time learning about our classmates with different personalities/skills and how a leader must understand each member in order to accomplish objectives. The instructors would purposely put us in groups of different people and ask us to accomplish a task that would require communication and identifying who is strong or weak with certain items. We also participated in a challenge course that would also help us improve our communication skills and understanding of each other. This experience was helpful in providing me with the skills to lead a student organization where I had to work with people with different personalities.
In the class, students were divided into teams and placed with a client that we would complete a project for. Our team was given Uptown Greenville, an organization focused on improving the brand image of the “downtown” area of Greenville. Our task was to create a marketing plan that targeted young families with the idea of bringing in better businesses.
While working with the client, I was able to apply the fundamentals I learned in BUSI 1200, as well as the leadership skills learned in the lab, to a real world situation. It was also great experience to work with a real client by meeting with them, learning about their organizational objectives, and making recommendations for a marketing plan. Later in my college career, I would use this knowledge to work with local small business owners and other clients who needed help with their strategy. My experience working with a real client leads to my next blog and the start of my professional development.
To learn more about the Leadership and Professional Development Program, click here.
Blog Author: Aaron Hall
My first experience with the LaPDP came upon recommendation as I took the first class, BUSI 1200 with Professor Ralph Flanary. Unlike other professors I had encountered, Professor Flanary had spent his entire career working in the business world and was spending part of his retirement teaching. As mentioned in previous posts, I had zero business experience and really did not have much of a network of businesspeople to learn from, so Prof. Flanary was the first business “mentor” I ever had.
In the class we learned the basic fundamentals of what business is. We learned important definitions and listened to Prof. Flanary tell countless stories that he had experienced. One of the neatest things about the class was that the CoB provided us with new copies of BusinessWeek and a big part of the class was reading assigned articles and then discussing them in class.
Another big part of the class was preparing our first professional presentations. The assignment was to choose a company (I chose Coca-Cola) and we would present on the company using the basic definitions we learned and talked about in class (SWOT analysis, finances, marketing strategy, mission statements, etc.). The main purpose of the assignment was to make sure we knew how to do a professional presentation. I remember Prof. Flanary heavily critiquing our presentations from having “busy” slides, inappropriate dress, reading off the slides, fidgeting, and other things. I was nervous and made a lot of mistakes, but I learned a lot about what a professional presentation looks like.
So, now I have the basics down. I have an idea of how the business world works from a knowledgeable source, I know the lingo, and I know what my weaknesses and strengths are. BUSI 1200 helped me become more confident in myself as a sought to pursue my BSBA. Most importantly, I started my leadership development.
You can read my previous posts by clicking here.
Blog Author: Aaron Hall
When I first came to orientation, during the summer of 2009, I had finally decided what major I wanted to pursue. I confidently walked into the West End dining hall (where they hold the major specific information booths) and an ECU advisor asked me what I wanted to major in so she could lead me to one of the booths. I exclaimed, “Physical Therapy!” She replied, “That’s not an undergraduate major, why don’t we visit the undecided table?” And so began my semester-long trek of finding the perfect major.
After going through five different majors, I finally decided on pursuing a business degree over my first Christmas break. I had gone to work with a local small business owner and I got to see how he ran his successful business. All day I watched as he motivated and treated his employees with respect, how he conversed with customers, and how fun accounting actually is. I was blown away by how cool running a business was, but I had zero business experience. I didn’t know anything about finance, leadership, and customer service. What makes me think I could run or work for a business?
Luckily, I had a roommate that was in the College of Business and he explained how a business degree at East Carolina University works. The College had just created this new Leadership and Professional Development Program that focuses on building important skills that will make students more marketable and successful in the business world. They do this by starting you out at ground level with the basics of business. As a result, anyone could join in and not be hampered by the fact that they’ve never had any business experience.
Basically, the College of Business allows students to “come in as you are” and they will mold you into a leader and a professional.
Today I am a proud graduate of the ECU College of Business. Watch for my next posts as they share my experiences in the Leadership and Professional Development Program!