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# How to Show Leadership w/ No Managerial Experience?

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Joined: 12 Sep 2011
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31 Dec 2011, 11:23
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So I know I'm normally the guy answering the questions, but I think this question would be better left to an admission expert. I'm sure I'm not the only one out there that is wondering how to show leadership potential and experience without actually having any.

So how do you formulate your essays when you have no direct reports, to show that you have leadership potential? I did hold "leadership" positions in college campus clubs, I had many in highschool... but I don't think I should go back that far because then I'll sound like a kid.

I've heard that explaining how you've shaped projects you've worked on can help show leadership potential, but do any of you experts have any further ideas? What is a great way to draw on examples, or experience, to show that you're a natural born leader and someone that will do the business school proud in the working world.

Happy New Year everyone!
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05 Jan 2012, 13:52
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I found this question interesting and asked Poonam@myessayreview to respond to this. Here is her response.

A lot of people equate leadership to having managerial or supervisory responsibilities. In reality, a leader and a manager are very different. A manager copes with complexity, brings order and predictability to a situation. whereas a leader shows how to cope with rapid changes. This is not to say that a good manager cannot be a good leader but it’s just that management and leadership are 2 different beasts. Quoting John P. Kotter – at a high level:

- Management involves planning and budgeting. Leadership involves setting direction.
- Management involves organizing and staffing. Leadership involves aligning people.
- Management provides control and solves problems. Leadership provides motivation.

In short, demonstrating leadership (or even practicing) does not require you to have people reporting to you.
To demonstrate leadership you can show examples where you have embraced changes and motivated others to do the same to embrace changes in the global world, taken calculated risks to seize opportunities; set the right direction for your team helping them work more efficiently; created alignment among people, and also between people.

Currently, I am working with an applicant who has demonstrated excellent leadership skills throughout his career spanning six years as a financial consultant at Financial Services Business Unit in India. During his first 6 months, this bright candidate volunteered to take up a challenging project which no experienced manager was willing to take up this task due to the risks associated (due to stringent operation time-window, no established model to emulate etc.). By accepting the challenge and, making it a highly successful project, he demonstrated true leadership qualities of taking a calculated risks and setting a clear direction for people even though he held no reporting responsibilities .

A successful applicant who I recently worked with and who was accepted by the prestigious LBS in MiF program doesn't have people reporting to him but is still an outstanding leader. He has demonstrated his leadership skills by convincing others of his innovative ideas. He worked tirelessly to prove to traditionally conservative Swiss bank that adopting modern technology will benefit their customers and bring new business to them. He then executed with a team on these ideas and this bank is reaping the benefits ()

Another applicant I have worked with for his INSEAD essays took up the challenge of planning & execution of a project to deliver textile goods at nearly twice the usual rate of production . He overcame the hurdles of communication, planning, cultural gap, shortage of time and team members 'pessimism by motivating them to work extra hours by adapting to their culture and observing fasts in the month of Ramadan. Thus, he achieved the target deadline successfully by showing leadership qualities of motivating people, showing cultural adaptability , and leading in crisis. Again – this guy did not have people reporting to him.

Now that you have a better understanding of what leadership is , you can look back and look for times when you had demonstrated one or more (note you don’t need to demonstrate all) of these qualities in your professional career. You may also look for instances in your personal life , if you have strong leadership experiences to share.

I hope this helps you with your essays!!

Poonam
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Current Student
Joined: 12 Sep 2011
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Concentration: Finance, Finance
GMAT 1: 710 Q48 V40
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05 Jan 2012, 14:16
Absolutely excellent response! This could actually make a very good post on it's own!

I think there is some really great information to take from this. It is so easy to think that Management = Leadership, when you are absolutely correct in realizing that they are quite different. They can come together, but they do not have. Well done, and thank you for your response!

Perfect timing too since I'm in the process of writing my essays. I think I have an idea or two to portray my past leadership...

+1 Kudos, wish I could give more
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05 Jan 2012, 14:23
Thanks!!

-Rajat
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Re: How to Show Leadership w/ No Managerial Experience?   [#permalink] 05 Jan 2012, 14:23
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