By Sunita Chambore, Student-led Learning Manager
The Student-led Learning team invited students considering leading a club to hear from our virtual panel of current Club Presidents: Gaby Wu (China Club), Mustafa Buxamusa (Healthcare Club) and Parsha Hobbs (Women in Business Club).
This virtual session created space for current student leaders to share an honest, insider perspective on leading at LBS, including the challenges and opportunities available for experiential learning.
Students got the lowdown on what to expect when leading clubs: the good, the bad and the ugly!
- Leading a club is the perfect opportunity to practice leadership competencies in real-time. Do you want to develop public speaking? Do you want to gain experience in leading a large 70+ team? Do you want to manage a budget? Leading a club will increase your confidence in these areas and more.
- Being a club leader means you will have tangible examples to provide in future interviews and conversations about leadership. You will have walked the walk!
- If you want to immerse yourself into the inner workings of the school, leading a club is a great way to do this. As a club president, you’ll work with and manage a multitude of stakeholders across the school such as Faculty, Career Centre, Advancement, Recruitment and Admissions, Estates, Catering, Security, Programme Office, Experiential Learning and more.
- As well as school connections, leading a club means connecting with alumni, leading to developing a valuable personal network of like-minded people.
- As a club leader, you can apply to join the Student Leadership Incubator in May 2021. The Incubator provides space for you to reflect on your leadership journey. Besides faculty insight and 1-1 coaching, you’ll also get access to workshops where you can practice having difficult conversations, which will undoubtedly be needed when managing a club and your career post-LBS.
- When you take over as a club president, it can be daunting to know where to start, especially if your predecessors have not left things in good order. How can you make your mark and push the club forward? Our advice? Try new things! You may fail, but there is a whole bunch of learning and growth that comes with that.
- As a club president, be prepared to make unpopular decisions and deal with the fallout. You will need to step up, provide strategic direction and keep the club on track financially, sometimes resulting in decisions that do not please everyone.
- Motivating your team will be challenging. Every student will be prioritising their limited time at LBS, and the excitement of doing big things for the club can wane quickly. It will be a challenge to motivate others and keep them on track during competing demands like assignment and recruitment deadlines.
- The virtual setting this year has been an obstacle in creating a sense of community. Hopefully, next year does not hold the same challenge!
- As a club leader, you are leading a volunteer army of peers. This can get complicated! They are your friends, but you’re also leading them. How do you hold them accountable? What happens when they miss deadlines? How do you balance friendships with the needs of the club?
- You can get lots of interest from your peers in joining your club’s ExCo, but unfortunately, not everyone makes the cut. How do you keep these individuals engaged in the club when they don’t have a formalised role? You’ll find that many drift away. Is there a way to keep the mobilised?
- It can be tricky trying to balance an individual team member’s goals with the club’s purpose. For example, someone may be forging ahead to connect with a particular organisation they are interested in, but this may not align with the club’s priorities. How are you going to manage that? As a club leader, you will need to mediate across different personalities and interests.
- Alumni are vital supporters of clubs but can also be harsh critics. They can be a significant source of connection and historical knowledge, but what happens when they are critical of the decisions you are making for the club? Some of them may have set the club up 10 or 20 years ago and have a vested interest in seeing it succeed. How will you keep them on your side at the same time as making your mark on the club?
- As exciting as it is leading a Club, you will need to be mindful of your capacity. It is easy to burn out as you pick up the lion’s share of the work. March-May is a super busy time for club activity so manage your energy and pace yourself.
We hope the good, the bad, and the ugly of leading a club at LBS has you thinking about what you can gain as well as what your legacy might be at LBS. Leading a club involves many challenges and difficulties that are ripe for learning and practice.
This panel was delivered as part of the CLAN or Club Leaders Action Network, a network where student leaders connect, solve shared challenges and develop as leaders.
If you’d like to know more about the CLAN or the Student Leadership Incubator, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.