The MBA Hub

Leadership Immersion Experience

The winning teamThe winning teamOn my second day of orientation for the MBA program, I remember Dr. Carolyn McKnight telling our incoming class of MBA students that “becoming a leader is becoming yourself.” For me, this was a classic “ah-ha” moment; it’s not about changing me, it’s about accessing another element of my personality in order to be more effective.

Throughout the last year and a half in the MBA program, this idea has really been put to the test. Countless group projects, challenging courses and general uncertainty have taught me how to be a stronger, more effective leader, all without sacrificing my authentic self.

My experience at Leadership Immersion last week was yet another opportunity for me to put challenge my skills. This two-day simulation places students in groups to gain first-hand experience practicing the business and leadership skills we have honed over the course of the program.

Enjoying some of the snacks provided during ImmersionEnjoying some of the snacks provided during ImmersionBefore the simulation, students are encouraged to revisit their Personal Leadership Agendas developed in the first term. The Personal Leadership Agenda, which MBA students create in the Leadership Development and Assessment course, is intended to help students identify the impact they want to have as a leader, as well as the leadership competencies they plan to build to best serve their purpose. During Immersion, we each focused on two competencies to develop, which we shared with the group.

On the first day of the simulation, we divided into groups of 10 or 11 and chose roles to embody, including CEO, CFO and assorted VP and division manager positions. Acting in these executive roles, each of us needed to make a set of decisions to drive the business results and achieve goals outlined on the first day. Finally, each student group presented its strategy and results to the Board.

This experience of actively practicing my leadership competencies in a safe environment gave me incredible feedback on my skills and areas for improvement. The Leadership Immersion experience was easily one of the highlights of my MBA career thus far!

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By Mallory Miller: Mallory has experience in marketing, management and sales. She plans to apply her experience, interests, and skills to a career in product marketing and business development. She will graduate from the Portland State full time MBA program in June 2013. You can connect with Mallory on LinkedIn.



Tags: Carolyn McKnight, leadership, leadership competencies, Portland State Leadership Immersion

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Portland State's MBA program has earned numerous accolades, including a 2011-12 Beyond Grey Pinstripes Report rating of #1 in the world — for small schools — for its emphasis on environmental stewardship.