Last week, UVA’s Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows Program culminated in a panel discussion with the Deans of the Law, Public Policy, and Business Schools. The conversation focused on Global Leadership and the increasing importance of training leaders to work across sectors of the economy.
As a young professional working for the federal government, the importance of this cross-sector perspective is the reason that I chose to pursue my MBA. I had completed my undergraduate education in political science, moved into a career in the federal government, and found myself in management roles where the analytical and leadership skills taught in business schools would be incredibly useful. And so I made the decision to come to Darden, where only two hours from the seat of the United States government, I have had the opportunity to build a new set of skills and enrich my cross-sector perspective through curriculum, student organizations, and extra-curricular activities such as the Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows Program.
The Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows Program, which is run out of Darden’s Institute for Business in Society, brings together students and prominent business, legal, and political leaders to talk about the challenges and opportunities of cross-sector collaboration; but even more importantly, it brings together the students of the three graduate programs (law, business, and public policy), allowing us a forum to get to know one another and understand each other’s perspective on various issues. I have built great relationships with law and public policy students that I will carry forward into my life and career.
At the end of the panel discussion, we were left with three pieces of advice as we embark on careers in multisector world:
- Remember that the world is evolving. The world is not a set of givens; it is not fixed. Rather, it is an interconnected set of variables that we as leaders have the power to change
- Be a leader at all levels. You don’t to be partner of a law firm or CEO to be a leader. Take ownership of wherever you are in your career to lead and inspire.
- Make friends in different places. Surround yourself with different people, different perspectives, build trust and understanding and you will be more successful for it
These are words of advice that I will carry forward into my life and career in the federal government after I graduate from May. But they are also tenants that have brought me to Darden. I came to business school to learn to think differently and approach problems analytically so that I can navigate an ever evolving world. I came to Darden for the community where, coming from the public sector, I would build relationships with a diverse set of people with different perspectives than my own. Finally, I chose Darden, because I knew it was the best place for me to build the leaderships skills I needed to make a difference at all levels. I have achieved each of these goals and look forward to continuing the journey after graduation.
The Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows Program a cross-university effort designed to explore effective, responsible leadership and the importance of multi-disciplinary perspectives in decision-making administered by the Darden School Institute for Business in Society. The program brings together graduate students from the Law, Public Policy and Business with prominent global leaders for intimate discussions throughout the fall semester.
Written by Lydia Hackert, MBA Class of 2018