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Director
Joined: 20 Feb 2008
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17 Jul 2008, 19:06
Can anyone explain in detail about the LEAD program and what it is all about? Curriculum, objectives, importance, etc.
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18 Jul 2008, 07:15
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I don't know if you are asking because you are actually interested, or because you need to write about it in your essays. I'll answer it both ways:

If you are actually asking because you are curious: IMHO, LEAD is a waste of time, effort and space.... but... other people say they really get something out of it.

Basically LEAD is an introductory quarter long mandatory course (the only mandatory course) taught by LEAD Facilitators (2nd year students who are selected and trained in this insanely intense schedule) that teaches the basic fundamental theories of leadership, teamwork and handling difficult situations. It provides avenues for some introspection and personal growth for those who take the course seriously, but, I admit that few do. The LEAD program consists of a mix of theory and practice - you learn some basic theories behind leadership concepts (and I admit that there are some interesting tidbits at times) and then you get one or two 'role play cases' where you act out what you've learned in fictional situations.

Thats all good and well, but the fictional situations are, in my own opinion, worthlessly inapplicable to a MBA students reality. You role play positions like CEO, CFO, CMO or EVP, SVP of Operations for a $5B firm, etc. You debate things like whether or not to have a multinational merger or, as the CFO of a Hospital being bought out by a PE firm if you should disclose that Nurses have been secretly helping poor people without insurance... crap like that. That can be fun if you get into it - and some people really do - but I just always looked around the table and thought 'WTF?'. I hated the role plays because they felt so contrived - I'd be pretending to be a CFO of a Hospital? What? How am I supposed to seriously have an opinion on subject X? The case would also tell me what opinion I should take - why, what if I don't actually agree? Often it would also describe my character style - aggressive, submissive, dominant, etc - as well as everyone elses... so was I supposed to be submissive even if I'm not? Whats the point of that? Then I'd just be acting... Often the case would leave out tons of important details (like, really, how much does it cost the hospital to help the poor?) meaning you couldn't really take an educated position anyway and people would just argue the same points that everyone already knew because everyone already read the case. LEAD could have been good, if for instance, the role plays included, lets say, confrontational interviewers, or how to deal with a team member at school who isn't pulling his or her weight, or anything else more applicable to being a twenty something MBA student. Or if the outcomes actually had winners and losers. For instance, in strategies and processes of negotiations (another course, which I do recommend) you role play in different negotiations - many are just as contrived as LEAD's, but the difference is that there is a clear winner and a clear loser in each one. In that course, just like real life, you have some information the other side does not and the other side knows things you don't. At the end of that you get a z-score comparing how you did in role X as compared to everyone else in the class - so you can see whether or not you did better or worse than average. Thats actually helpful.... Of course, I'm being harsh..... and to be fair, a lot of people think they got something out it. Some people, I can see how they benefited: the internationals who need to learn to speak up in a group (so many of them just sit there quietly) - they seem to finally find 'a voice' - or maybe the younger kids who don't have a lot of experience - they seem to get a lot of out it too. I don't know, but in general I find that LEAD people fall into two views: It's either an amazing experience that fundamentally changes how you think, or it's arguably the stupidest thing you've done in the last ten years. You can probably guess which side of the fence I sit on. The people who really benefit? The 2nd years who go through a TON of training to teach the course. They get to stand in front of 60 people and practice lecturing, answering questions, moderating and leading role plays. Those are the people who benefit. So much so, that I seriously thought about signing up as a 2nd year facilitator, but in the end two things stopped me : 1) its a ridiculous time commitment -- you take a *whole day* Friday class in the spring, teach one night a week in the spring and then have to teach twice a week (3 hours each! - the same as TWO classes!) in the Fall, to say nothing of all the meetings and other related stuff you have to participate in... and 2) I wasn't sure I could pretend that I actually thought any of the LEAD material wasn't completely useless. If you are asking because you need something to write about: LEAD provides the foundations for a lifetime of leadership development through various risk-free practical applications of theory. These are achieved through "role plays" which occur nearly weekly. Through these meaningful efforts, journal entries, and introspection, students continue to grow during their two years, becoming able bodied leaders as they leave their MBA program. Or something. Director Joined: 20 Aug 2007 Posts: 851 Location: Chicago Schools: Chicago Booth 2011 Followers: 11 Kudos [?]: 95 [0], given: 1 Re: Chicago GSB Lead Program [#permalink] ### Show Tags 18 Jul 2008, 07:45 rhyme wrote: LEAD provides the foundations for a lifetime of leadership development through various risk-free practical applications of theory. These are achieved through "role plays" which occur nearly weekly. Through these meaningful efforts, journal entries, and introspection, students continue to grow during their two years, becoming able bodied leaders as they leave their MBA program. Or something. Classic. I don't recall you mentioning this part about LEAD when you hosted me at the GSB. I think you pretty much just discussed it from a practical standpoint (the first 80% of your post) Director Joined: 20 Feb 2008 Posts: 797 Location: Texas Schools: Kellogg Class of 2011 Followers: 6 Kudos [?]: 146 [0], given: 9 Re: Chicago GSB Lead Program [#permalink] ### Show Tags 18 Jul 2008, 07:59 Thanks Rhyme, I am asking because of the essays. Something to discuss for the 1a and 2a questions. GMAT Club Legend Affiliations: HHonors Diamond, BGS Honor Society Joined: 05 Apr 2006 Posts: 5926 Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2009 GMAT 1: 730 Q45 V45 WE: Business Development (Consumer Products) Followers: 300 Kudos [?]: 1944 [0], given: 7 Re: Chicago GSB Lead Program [#permalink] ### Show Tags 18 Jul 2008, 12:29 Also see: http://www.chicagogsb.edu/fulltime/acad ... /lead.aspx And especially http://programs.chicagogsb.edu/lead/ From an older page: "LEAD builds interpersonal effectiveness through role playing, team building, and a host of other creative activities and experiences. We consider these interpersonal skills so critical to business that we require all full-time campus and International M.B.A. students to complete the class. Students are grouped in cohorts of about 50 and participate in all LEAD activities together. Cohorts build the camaraderie of shared experiences and a lasting network of friends and contacts." Also: "LEAD’s mission is: Through skill-based, interactive curricula and programming, we advance students’ interpersonal effectiveness and foster relationships that last a lifetime." (Note: If you think that sentence is meaningless jargon filled sh*t, congrats, you are correct) And in particular... (warning: the below is OLD... from 2006, it might not be 100% accurate) Curriculum Group Process An intense experiential activity, this three-hour module is consistently ranked as one of the most popular LEAD sessions. Teams of students are given a challenging task and then videotaped as they work on the project. Students then analyze the team dynamics and their own contribution in a team environment, discussing feedback and observations in an individual coaching session with a second-year-facilitator. Students gain a very clear picture of their strengths and areas for development within a group context. Everyday Leadership Everyday Leadership provides students with an introductory discussion about leadership including a review of relevant research in the area. Interpersonal Communications Interpersonal Communications provides students with the building blocks of effective dialogue and interaction by helping to improve their awareness, listening, feedback, and performance management skills. Exercises are designed to develop attentiveness to communication tendencies and the impact of these tendencies, as well as how to manage interpersonal situations optimally. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI), this session helps students analyze how individuals gather information and make decisions within a work context. Based upon the theories of Carl Jung, this interactive section helps students identify their own preferences as well as those of others. Team Dynamics This module provides the framework for analyzing group process and team dynamics, specifically addressing how to move through conflict and productivity. Students gain useful tools to diagnose where conflict or blind spots may occur within project teams and navigate successfully through process issues that can stymie their productivity. Conflict Management Leaders are faced with conflict situations daily, from minor disagreements to seriously disruptive situations. The ability to manage these conflicts whether they directly involve us or those around us is a critical skill for leaders in any setting. This module examines the behaviors typically present during conflict to help students better understand the short-term and long-term consequences of these behaviors, as well as how to effectively manage and resolve them. Audience Captivation Training (ACT) Classroom & Seminar During this three-hour seminar, students improve their presentation skills by addressing visual and vocal delivery, dialogue with the audience, and stage fright. Each student then signs up for a small group seminar outside of class. During this time, each student delivers a prepared speech, is videotaped and given personal feedback – leaving the seminar with a detailed action plan. Decisions & Integrity The module focuses on business ethics and provides an opportunity for students to implement decision-making processes and to see if they can collaboratively find solutions that all can live with in rather difficult circumstances. Testing both motivation skills, influencing skills, and relationship-building skills, squads must advocate a particular constituent’s point of view throughout two cases. Interactive case studies are provided as pre-work. One-On-One Coaching Conversation After Ethics, the LEAD program takes a break from formal class time and gives the facilitators an opportunity to provide personalized one-on-one performance feedback to each of their first year squad members. This half-hour coaching session gives students a comprehensive review of their individual LEAD skills and addresses a specific development plan for the future. Manager Joined: 25 Jan 2008 Posts: 91 Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 1 [0], given: 0 Re: Chicago GSB Lead Program [#permalink] ### Show Tags 19 Jul 2008, 07:08 Rhyme, I am actually interested and am going in thinking I want to be a LEAD facilitator, primarily because leadership development is one of the things I want out of my MBA...I have had my leadership kinda training at work and they always give me that WTF feeling you mentioned. However, am hoping LEAD will be something different. Firstly I think it is run under the supervision of Dean Stacey Kole, whom I have come to admire (already). Secondly, the course evaluations of LEAD show it is one of the highest rated courses at GSB..(should I even believe them?). Also, during the AW2 reception, Dean Kole gave a small speech highlighting the LEAD program..She mentioned some HBS case study on business schools (as a part of their centennial celebrations) and GSB leadership program was the best among the top business schools (couldn't find that case with a simple google search).. I am thinking 'LEAD facilitator' because of the some of the plus points you mentioned and also because 1) LEAD facilitators form a good community 2) They get to know some first years really well 3) LEAD is looked upon positively by the recruiters (is this true?) I would encourage applicants to write about LEAD, especially if you can find something unique and insightful about it. GSB is pretty high on LEAD and considers its program a differentiator.. ps: Rhyme, I still marvel at how much you write on this forum and still manage to keep it rational, structured and very very useful. Kudos. Just curious, is this a skill you picked up at GSB or have you always been a 'writer'? Are you equally good at doing powerpoint decks? BTW, is being able to write fast a big big plus when you do you cases/presentations at school etc? GMAT Club Legend Affiliations: HHonors Diamond, BGS Honor Society Joined: 05 Apr 2006 Posts: 5926 Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2009 GMAT 1: 730 Q45 V45 WE: Business Development (Consumer Products) Followers: 300 Kudos [?]: 1944 [0], given: 7 Re: Chicago GSB Lead Program [#permalink] ### Show Tags 19 Jul 2008, 11:36 ujjib wrote: Rhyme, I am actually interested and am going in thinking I want to be a LEAD facilitator, primarily because leadership development is one of the things I want out of my MBA...I have had my leadership kinda training at work and they always give me that WTF feeling you mentioned. However, am hoping LEAD will be something different. Firstly I think it is run under the supervision of Dean Stacey Kole, whom I have come to admire (already). Secondly, the course evaluations of LEAD show it is one of the highest rated courses at GSB..(should I even believe them?). Also, during the AW2 reception, Dean Kole gave a small speech highlighting the LEAD program..She mentioned some HBS case study on business schools (as a part of their centennial celebrations) and GSB leadership program was the best among the top business schools (couldn't find that case with a simple google search).. Those are all true. I don't recall the case, but the GSB did win some kind of award or get written up in an HBS case as particularly strong in leadership development. Stacey was certainly instrumental in the program, though the degree to which she is involved on a day to day basis - I don't know. Quote: I am thinking 'LEAD facilitator' because of the some of the plus points you mentioned and also because 1) LEAD facilitators form a good community 2) They get to know some first years really well 3) LEAD is looked upon positively by the recruiters (is this true?) All true things. I can't speak to #3 really, but I'm sure it plays well in interviews. They also get paid a little bit of$, they get lots of free food, they get something like 40 hours of one-on-one private leadership development coaching with the staff, they get use of an office space, etc. They try to sell you on all this when it comes time to sign up.

Quote:
Rhyme, I still marvel at how much you write on this forum and still manage to keep it rational, structured and very very useful. Kudos. Just curious, is this a skill you picked up at GSB or have you always been a 'writer'? Are you equally good at doing powerpoint decks? BTW, is being able to write fast a big big plus when you do you cases/presentations at school etc?

I really think my writing here is pretty crap most of the time - very quick and dirty, often with spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, run on sentences, very stream-of-thought and disjointed, frequently verbose or repetitive... Nice to know that it still makes some half sense to people! Thanks.

I've always been a 'writer' -- in that I can write a lot of crap quickly without much effort. As for being helpful in school, I've never really thought about that, but now that you mention it... I guess it doesn't hurt. I suppose that it is helpful for some classes when you have to throw together a page on something every week. I can imagine that for some people thats a big task.
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20 Jul 2008, 23:56
Thanks rhyme, your insights are always valuable. I recall you telling me that it's either doing LEAD or TWO other things. I hope that the first quarter LEAD experience isn't too disappointing for me to change my mind about LEAD facilitator...I did make note of one other thing you said before...make a list of things you wanna do at bschool, and try not to waiver too much from it, as it is very easy to get carried away by the herd. I will need to balance it with another advice I keep getting from some current students - "the possibilities are endless...so keep an open mind coming in"

I ask about writing because, I seriously can't seem to write complete sentences anymore. It's been 5years since I was last in school, and the bschool essays are the only real stuff I wrote (and struggled mightily at it). I just end up thinking of everything in terms of slides and bullet points..
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21 Jul 2008, 00:09
btw, any new admits planning to keeping a public blog about your bschool life? I thought about it, but killed the idea immediately..Don't think I can make a honest commitment to it, and it really isn't worth much to write once a month..

But I like reading blogs and found them pretty useful during App time..
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23 Jul 2008, 21:59
ujjib wrote:
Thanks rhyme, your insights are always valuable. I recall you telling me that it's either doing LEAD or TWO other things. I hope that the first quarter LEAD experience isn't too disappointing for me to change my mind about LEAD facilitator...I did make note of one other thing you said before...make a list of things you wanna do at bschool, and try not to waiver too much from it, as it is very easy to get carried away by the herd. I will need to balance it with another advice I keep getting from some current students - "the possibilities are endless...so keep an open mind coming in"

I ask about writing because, I seriously can't seem to write complete sentences anymore. It's been 5years since I was last in school, and the bschool essays are the only real stuff I wrote (and struggled mightily at it). I just end up thinking of everything in terms of slides and bullet points..

You know that's great advice - I know in undergrad, going into school with some thought of what I wanted to do helped tremendously. If only I can remember that for the future - after the apps and stuff are done!

Is there a stickied thread somewhere (or should there be?) where those are in school can post misc bits of advice? I know some threads in the Life section talk about this kinda stuff....
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