How and what steps can I take to expose and boost my leadership potential. What are the good places to start with. What are the things I can do. How can I improve my chances for getting in the top5 and make the world a better place to live in! Thanks in advance for yours constructive feedbacks.
Yup, you're right that it's something that every top school will look for. Honestly, it will be hard to position yourself as a leader if you haven't yet had the chance to show off your leadership skills. Adcomms generally work off of the assumption that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Naturally, if you haven't led or made a big impact yet, it's hard for them to envision you doing so in the future. Saying that you intend to is nice, but obviously everyone will say that. They therefore look for actions and achievements in your past that show that you are someone who takes charge and makes a difference.
The most obvious advice I can give you is to try and identify an opportunity where you can make a difference, and go and make it happen. This can be in your job or outside of it. Ideally you'll have some of both, but if you forced me to pick one I'd say make it in your job. How exactly do you find such an opportunity? Well, is there an area where your company/work group consistently falls short? Do you have a strong opinion along the lines of "Why don't we do it this way," etc? Know of someone who needs more help than he's getting?
These are just high-level ideas, but you see what I'm getting at. Generally speaking, look for opportunities that will allow you to say, "I did something beyond my normal job description," or "That would NOT have happened unless I had been around." Those are good guidelines to use, both for professional an extracurricular opportunities. The other thing to keep in mind is that when I say "opportunities," I don't mean projects that will just be handed to you. Remember that a leader goes out and finds a way to make a difference, rather than waiting for something to be assigned to him. You should take the same approach.
Are you still fairly young (25 or younger)? If so, then you still have time to gain some good leadership experience. I would recommend trying to gain some more of that kind of experience before applying to top-five schools. You'll increase your odds of success a lot!
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