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New Smith School of Business Program Inspires Fearless Leadership

fearless leadership

The development of leadership skills is heavily emphasized by many MBA programs. In fact, it’s often a selling point. At the University of Maryland R.H. Smith School of Business, leadership development is a core part of the UMD Smith MBA experience, reflected in the recent launch of a new program to help encourage fearless leadership in its students. 

About the Leading Fearlessly Program

The new semester-long Leading Fearlessly Program was designed to provide a personalized and individualized experience for each student. It relies on experiential learning and teamwork to take leadership development outside the classroom. The program is divided into four phases.

The Leading Fearlessly Program begins with a Kickoff Immersion, a one-day experiential learning activity that takes place in Gettysburg or Maryland. In the program’s first year, one group of students traveled to Gettysburg with a U.S. Naval Academy instructor to practice leadership in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment. 

The second phase involves a 10-week focus on skill development with the help of executive coaches, peer partners, alumni chats and assessments. Phase three is a yacht race, with students participating in a one-day team competition at Annapolis Harbor with peer feedback. The final part of the program is the Learning Gallery—a show-and-tell celebration in the form of an art gallery where students and teams create exhibits reflecting what they’ve learned.

We spoke with Dr. Neta Moye, clinical professor of management and senior fellow with the Office of Executive Programs, to learn a bit more about this new leadership offering at UMD Smith.

Clear Admit: What impact does the new semester-long leadership development program have on the MBA program?

Neta Moye: I think every MBA program tells students that the point of the MBA is to not only focus on gaining technical skills, but to gain leadership capabilities as well. What we’re doing is providing more resources and structure for doing this beyond the classroom.

We have a really robust Executive Development program that works with corporate partners to help develop their existing leaders. So, we’re mirroring what we know and do with regard to high impact leadership development, and we’re bringing that into the MBA. If you look at where executive leadership development has been and where it continues to go, it’s very personalized; it’s not a one-size-fits-all classroom. It’s much more about the individual, discovering what they want to work on and then going through a repeated cycle that is about deliberate practice and leveraging day-to-day experiences. It’s also about gaining the support of other people and learning from others. So, we’re using those techniques in the MBA format.

I don’t want to say that classroom [learning] doesn’t work—it lays the groundwork—but then you have to build on it. I’m really big on leaders learning from experience. So, for me, it’s this idea that not only are MBAs continuing to focus on their development and doing it in a way that’s very important to them because it’s personalized, but we’re also creating habits in them. The new leadership program helps MBAs develop a habit of learning, a habit of continual focus on their leadership.

CA: What signal does it send about the school’s commitment to/resources for fostering great leaders?

NM: The leadership program signals that, “We get it and we mean it.” We truly understand that to be a great business leader, you have to be able to develop great insight and influence others in order to have impact. It’s both how smart you are—how great your idea is—and whether you can get others to come along to help make your idea a reality.

I hope from the outside looking in, that people see that we understand leadership development. We have a good group of people who are passionate experts in leadership development, and we don’t just talk about leadership being important—we are taking action.

CA: Why did the Smith School decide that this program was necessary?

NM: It is part of our continued innovation. We continually look at our program, and then update and adapt. We always ask the question, “Where are we and where do we want to be?” We stay in such touch with what’s happening in leadership development. There’s some really cool stuff coming out of the Center for Creative Leadership, and there’s a lot of great stuff from INSEAD. We keep up with that because it’s our professional specialty.

The UMD Smith School is an extremely well respected research institution. We are constantly doing evidenced-based research of what works best, and we implement changes to the school based on that research. So, if we come across a good idea, we implement it.

CA: In what ways do you see the leadership program being beneficial to students’ career paths?

NM: We built it so it should have an impact on students’ success immediately, in their internships and then long term in their careers. There is immediate impact while students are in the program—it makes it easier to make their personal development a priority. In MBA programs with structured classes, hard deadlines and grades, it’s difficult for students to make their personal development a priority. By putting this leadership program in place, it helps our students hold themselves accountable to spending time on personal development.

Another goal was to help students perform better in their internships and increase their chances of converting their internships into jobs. During the personalized program, students have the opportunity to fix anything that could hold them back and polish strengths that help them stand apart. And, long term, the program is meant to help students ingrain habits of learning and focus on personal development even when things are hectic.

This post has been republished in its entirety from its original source, metromba.com

Posted in: MBA News, News

Schools: UMD / Smith

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