"Leadership Labs is a transformational experience. One of my issues that I've faced before I came here was being conflict averse. When it came to talking to someone about their performance or just an overall difficult conversation, I didn't know where to start. Then I learned about the leadership labs program here at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
The leadership program is a program that places you with seven other MBA 1s, and you simulate real life executive environments: layoffs, hiring, firing...it's different from sitting in a classroom and learning about how to talk through these conversations. It's about actually practicing it so when you face it in real life, it's not a surprise. Some of my best friends have come from that group…that environment where we've been pushed to challenge ourselves time and time again.
So the Leadership Labs culminates... into not your typical final exam. It's called the Executive Challenge where the School flies back hundreds of its top alumni. CEOs, partners, managing directors from all these firms across the globe, and these executives challenge you with real life cases. I actually won the case, and now I'm a leadership fellow! I'll be a second year MBA who steps in and trains first year MBAs on those exact same skills that I was looking for prior to coming to the Stanford GSB.
Naturally with a Stanford MBA you're going to be placed in situations where you're expected to lead. I, for instance, want to work in general management with large corporations. And I know that there's a stereotype for what a CEO or for what an executive looks like...and I don't naturally fall in that category. I'm a female. I'm African-American. I'm short, (laughs). But with these leadership skills there's going to be no doubt that I'm fit to lead these organizations."
"I wanted to combine my passions for the environment and for entrepreneurship. I'm a joint degree student in the E-IPER program which combines the MBA with a MA in Environment and Resources. The value of the program for me is that environmental problems are interdisciplinary in nature and therefore the solutions also need to be interdisciplinary. And so the fact that I can collaborate with all the other schools within Stanford makes it a very valuable experience for me.
I come from a fairly modest background. My parents immigrated to the US from Colombia when I was five, and my mother raised my brother and I on less than $12,000 a year. I took advantage of the one thing that was available to me, which was a good education, and I decided to apply to Business School to round out my managerial skill set. Prior to Business School, my wife and I spent five months traveling around the world, and it was through this experience that we confronted face-to-face abject poverty, and this is what inspired me to start a nonprofit called WriteGreen.org.
WriteGreen.org is a civic engagement platform that empowers citizens to express their support for the environment and create structural policy change. Via access to all the resources that the GSB has here, I've really been able to pursue my true dream in a way that wouldn't be possible otherwise. WriteGreen was recently announced as a finalist in the BASES Social E-Challenge, which is Stanford's social-entrepreneurship competition. We're also finalists for the Stanford Social Innovation Fellowship. We're currently looking for seed funding so that I can work on this over the next year. But I know that because I started WriteGreen at Stanford, my chances of success will be much greater.
I've recently become a father, and I feel that coming to the GSB has equipped me with all the tools and knowledge that I need to have an impact on the world around me and leave a better future for my daughter, as well as for the hundreds of millions of people around the world that haven't been as fortunate as I have been."
"Real leaders are the people that not just get things done, but inspire people to follow them and own what's getting done. I came to Stanford, really, because I wanted to become a leader in the public education sector, and the joint MBA/MA Education degree they offer here just seemed like a really perfect fit. One of the things that differentiates the curriculum here at Stanford is that there is a compulsory global experience requirement. You're actually meeting social entrepreneurs, non-profit leaders, and government people who are dedicating their lives to start affecting the social challenges affecting those countries.
I went to India with a group of around twenty other GSB students, and we looked at healthcare at the bottom of the pyramid in India from all the different angles. So we visited a clinic and a slum in Mumbai and we also visited a company that runs a private ambulance service in Mumbai. But then we went out into the country and started seeing smaller NGOs that are working on the ground in rural India, developing healthcare programs there.
I think what was so powerful about the trip was that even though my passion is for working in the public education space and the trip was about healthcare at the bottom of the pyramid, I actually took a bunch of really profound and important learning's from the trip that I know that I'll be able to apply in my future career as an education leader. It's helped me look at the issues that I do care most about and look at those in a whole new way."
"What I believe entrepreneurship is...is to make a difference. I was born and raised in Morocco, came out to the United States about eleven years ago. I launched a start-up about three years ago called dignswap.com. The start-up's purpose is to enable people to exchange their used clothes and accessories.
While at Stanford, I've been elected co-president of the Entrepreneur Club. Within that role, I'm trying to connect better with schools "across the street." Schools like the Medical, Engineering, Business, and Design schools. Thus enabling me to meet and connect with like-minded entrepreneurs from a variety of places. We have regular events where we talk about start-ups and businesses and what it is that we can do with all the resources we have here.
I've also been exposed to many alumni who have helped me understand their experiences and given me the background necessary for me to be successful in the future.
Entrepreneurship is about increasing the size of the pie. It's about creating more opportunities, creating jobs, adding value to the community.
Post graduation I really see myself as an entrepreneur. I would love to be able to create value and also be able to build something that can make a difference in people's lives. The curriculum, the people, the experiences, the interactions that I've had here at the GSB will help me convert my ideas into successful organizations."
"My name is Sonia Samagh, and I am a student here at the GSB. I've completed three years of Medical school and I'm here at the GSB to complete two years of my MBA. My interest in medicine stems from the values that my parents instilled within me. As a member of the Sikh faith, the idea of Seva and selfless service drew me towards a profession like medicine.
My interest in global health was really sparked by this idea of health and innovation. I teamed up with the professor who led the course. Essentially what he did is he brought in surgeons from around the world to tell us about all the amazing things that they were doing, either leper colonies in India or cataract surgery in Africa...and I thought to myself "this is something I absolutely want to do, too." And so he and I organized our first trip to Mexico, where we helped another group of surgeons treat cleft lip and palate and burn victims. With this professor, I started the non-profit Global Health Volunteers.
In founding Global Health Volunteers and going to medical school, I've realized that my long-term goal is to become CEO of a non-profit in international health and medicine. In order to run an organization effectively, I needed a tool set to do so...more importantly a business school tool set that the Stanford GSB in particular cultivates in its leaders. We're on the campus that has so many different disciplines, so for me coming in as a MD/MBA student there are a lot of opportunities to combine my medicine background and a new business skill set. The motto of the Stanford Business School is "change lives, change organizations, change the world." And I realized that that's what I wanted to do with Global Health Volunteers and coming to Stanford will really give me the toolkit to be able to become an effective leader. To create an organization that really did change lives, and change the world in the area of international health and medicine."