18 March 2015: Students learn from leaders in diverse fields

Written by Clare Isabel Ee

What does being a leader mean? How does an undergraduate learn about leading?

These questions were on the minds of more than 40 Yale-NUS students who attended ‘Lessons in Leadership’, a panel discussion and networking reception organised by the Yale-NUS Centre for International and Professional Experience (CIPE) on 9 March 2015.

“We hope that as our students explore what leadership means to them and their own personal leadership styles, they can be exposed to people with different leadership styles in a variety of industries and roles,” explained Nhaca Le Schulze, Programme Manager (Leadership & Global Citizenship) in CIPE, and a main organiser of the event.

She added: “We hope that students learn that leadership is not only about achievement but also service.”

The evening kicked off with panel session that included Ms Linda Koch Lorimer, Vice President for Global and Strategic Initiatives at Yale University, and Yale-NUS Governing Board Member; Mr Vinod Kumar, CEO and Managing Director of Tata Communications Limited; Ms Mae Anderson, Head of Credit Suisse Wealth Institute; and Mr Geoffrey See, Managing Director of Choson Exchange.

embed - cipe panellists(from left to right) Ms Linda Koch Lorimer, Mr Vinod Kumar, Ms Mae Anderson and Mr Geoffrey See.

The four panellists shared their personal experiences and reflections, and took questions at a lively panel discussion on leadership.

Some students, like Ng Sai Ying (Class of 2017), found it a useful forum for undergraduates to learn about leadership.

“I think the panel had many great learning points, and I really liked the mix of panellists we had that day who gave us different views of what it means to be a leader,” Sai Ying shared. “I think it was particularly interesting to recognise that even among accomplished leaders, there are many different interpretations of what it means to be a leader.”

Similarly, Dominic Choa (Class of 2018), found it gave insights into how different leaders “began on their paths” and to “appreciate different kinds of leadership in various contexts, be it corporate or nonprofit”.

He said: “My greatest takeaway is that we are all able to exercise leadership in every circumstance that we are in – we can all ‘lead without a title’.”

The panel discussion was followed by a networking session with 18 alumni from Yale and NUS, who come from a wide range of industries. Students found this segment especially useful to practise their networking skills, and to experience such a professional social situation, which they would not encounter in their daily classes.

“The best part of the event for me was talking to some of the alumni and panellists after the panel discussion,” said Sarah Novak (Class of 2018). “Hearing their perspectives and advice on such a diverse range of areas was really valuable, especially as a student considering my future job prospects.”

At the end of the successful event, many students shared their hopes of seeing more of such events at Yale-NUS in future.

“The energy amongst the students was high, and many of them almost missed the bus back [to campus] because they were so engaged in conversing with alumni!” said Nhaca. “With such positive feedback we hope to host more of these events in the future.”

Yale-NUS CIPE offers other distinct programmes and courses related to leadership, such as the NGO Bootcamp that will be held in May, a training and internship programme that focuses on social impact and public interest work, and the recently launched Leadership Certificate, a five-part sequence that focuses on leadership development for interested students.

For more information, please visit cipe.yale-nus.edu.sg/leadership-global-citizenship.