Leadership Learning Lab: Empowering Students to “Lead with Your Destination”

By: Kruttika Raman

At MBS, we all go by the saying “leadership is leading your own ship.” On April 15, 2020, MBS students learned how to lead our own ships when pitching ourselves in a workshop led by Abbe Rosenthal, PCC, Assistant Director/Head of Corporate Partnerships, Employment & Professional Development, and Executive Coach.

Based on the LinkedIn Learning video by Jodi Glickman, the workshop, “Lead With Your Destination,” gave students a new experience of presenting themselves by connecting their “destination” (what they want to achieve in life) with their backstory to create powerful pitches that can not only help make for richer interviews and other presentations, but which can enhance every interaction through effective communication.

The question of “tell me a bit about yourself” leaves most of us baffled, as we are often not sure what to share about ourselves. We get a good taste of this in Professor Kathleen Cashman’s signature course, Principles of Communication & Professional Development for Science & Technology Management (16:137:502), where the first assignment is an “All About Me” presentation by each student. From family, to hobbies, to academic and professional experience, we talk about what we have achieved so far and where we want to go in the format of “tell me what you are going to tell, tell me, and then tell me what you just told me.” The idea of pitching ourselves is pretty consistent; the difference is in how we do it.

Through the workshop, Abbe reinforced lessons learned in Professor Kathleen’s course and through LinkedIn Learning that it is important to answer the questions of “why I am here today?” “what am I trying to achieve?” and “what do I want to do next?” in order to engage another person and create a dialogue. The key part is linking your purpose with a supportive backstory that emphasizes relevant experience and/or transferable skills. One factor which influences the convincing capability of a pitch is the belief in oneself. If one successfully and coherently connects the dots between destination and backstory in an empowered way, then he or she can create a lasting impact among others.

In sharing stories about what excites us while tying in relevant excerpts from our past experiences at school and work, we honed our skills to make great pitches. Abbe encouraged us to receive some hands-on experience with this style of pitching by practicing during our day-to-day interactions, during our job interviews (or interview preparation), as well as through:

MBS courses, such as:

Concept-to-market courses, including:

Experiential learning opportunities, such as:

Centering our conversations around what we want to do in the future, Abbe’s leadership development workshops—Discovering Your Leadership Style on April 7 followed by “Lead With Your Destination” on April 15—are not only preparing students for our next roles, but are enhancing our leadership personalities.

Students felt enriched as they commented on their experiences and shared their feelings of empowerment in being architects of their own pitches—linking their backstories to their destination and applying these skills in their next opportunities. Let us all take a moment to think about what we want to accomplish, why we really want it, how it relates to our backstory, and then connect those dots all the way to our next pitch!