Leading 3 Clubs at LBS: A Rollercoaster of Growth and Learnings!

By Alina Ursachi, MBA2023

Navigating Complexity: Taking on the Challenge of Leading Three LBS Clubs

In my second year at LBS, I embarked on an exhilarating challenge – leading not just one, but three clubs! You might already be wondering whether I would recommend this to anyone… That’s a bit of a story, so let me tell you all about it.

Hint: Absolutely yes! Some of my fondest memories at LBS come from this!

The Beginning of the Journey: A Challenging yet Rewarding Choice

I knew I wanted to lead a regional club, moved by my deep passion for community growth. However, at the outset, I hesitated over whether to choose between the Italian Club and the CEE (Central & Eastern Europe) Club (given my dual citizenship and strong ties to both Moldova and Italy). Moreover, I was excited about not only showcasing the best of my heritage – Italy and Moldova –  but also bridging the best of both worlds. The Italian Club enabled me to bring in top-notch executives to share their wisdom, while the CEE Club offered the platform to shape a close-knit community, reconnect with remarkable alumni, and build a robust networking hub. What about a Wellbeing Club? I couldn’t find answers to numerous questions that I had or a platform to explore them, so I thought, ‘Why not create it myself?’. This led me to organise events and workshops aimed at addressing these questions.

And guess how it ended? Over 40+ VPs from diverse courses (MIM, MAM, MBA, and EMBA) joined me in these 3 clubs. This became a chance to forge strong bonds, learn collaboratively, and leave a lasting mark on LBS (or at least in my heart). For me, it was about instigating the change I wished to see, even within the club landscape. In a sense, I aided in growth and furthered my understanding of the manager and leader I aspire to be, starting from these very clubs.

Wisdom in Every Experience: Lessons Learned from Each Club

  • Dedicate Much More Time Than You Expect, Even If You’re a Time Management Pro: Often, we expect to finish an activity in half an hour, only to find ourselves still engrossed three hours later. Honestly, I underestimated the time demanded from each club, initially allocating a mere 2 hours weekly for each. Reality struck however, with an average of 1-2 hours spent daily on crafting cold emails (yes, over a hundred for both clubs!). Moreover, weekends often transformed into catch-up days with the ExCo (follow-ups, replies, and activity coordination). First lesson learned: Passion and commitment require extra time allocation, so always budget more than you think. LBS offers a realm of choices and trade-offs, and one needs to channel their efforts accordingly. Moreover, here’s lesson number two: Find effective tools that help you streamline tasks and significantly trim the number of small administrative tasks required.
  • Create an Open Communication Space from the Beginning: Building a solid foundation right from the start was pivotal for effective club leadership. Discussions about goals (personal and professional, e.g. “I want to lead a stream”, “I want to invite these types of speakers”), commitments (e.g. “I am busy in January for the interview session”), passions (e.g. “I love to speak about nutrition”), and potential obstacles were vital in launching the club. Equally crucial was my understanding of each individual – recognizing their unique strengths. For instance, identifying a marketing enthusiast who excelled in creative tasks and empowering them to follow their passion or even explore slightly unfamiliar territory. To me, this proved the most potent way to assist each individual in maximizing their club experience as a platform for personal growth.
  • Select and Prioritize ASAP: Balancing club responsibilities alongside other commitments taught me a great deal about prioritization. Navigating effectively through these demands became crucial, enabling me to focus on what truly mattered. It’s about making optimal decisions, comprehending the trade-offs that accompany them, and being content in those choices. When time is abundant, one can accomplish tasks, even small ones, meticulously. However, when time is scarce, one must show resolve in choosing what truly holds significance and refrain from investing in more trivial activities. This demonstrates what matters to you and what genuinely resonates with your values.

  • Learn When to Delegate and How to Empower My Team: Each club presented distinctive delegation opportunities that tested my leadership. In some situations, offering crystal-clear instructions with meticulous details and tight deadlines proved pivotal to ensure timely completion. In other cases, my approach leaned towards empowering the team to do what they do best (kudos to the Social team of CEE, you were rockstars!), with more subtle oversight. This experience was a crash course on the significance of swiftly adapting leadership approaches, and tailoring them to suit diverse groups and teams.
  • Embrace Fun and Positivity During the Journey: Arranging informal breakfasts and lunches turned out to be powerful team-building occasions, which holds true both for clubs and later in the professional realm. Events like Tattoo etched enduring memories in the LBS community. Both the CEE and Italian Clubs showcased amazing food and spirited camaraderie, significantly strengthening our bonds. Seizing numerous opportunities beyond mere “admin work,” fostering community, and wholeheartedly embracing the LBS spirit is of utmost importance.
  • Learn to Be More Assertive to Create an Enjoyable Space for Everyone: Shying away from conflicts might be natural, yet I learned that assertively setting professional boundaries while nurturing trust and respect, and sometimes parting ways with individuals misaligned with the team’s vision, was paramount. Although this can be arduous, it’s an integral part of “business as usual.” My journey through the MBA was an invaluable lesson in enhancing assertiveness within a risk-free environment, sometimes providing concise lessons on the consequences of insufficient assertiveness. Moreover, this fosters an excellent environment for everyone present, facilitating their commitment and growth together. I learned that being assertive means being kind to everyone involved while upholding the shared commitment.
  • Embrace Imperfection while Giving Your Best: Leading clubs entails acknowledging that perfection is not always attainable. Nonetheless, giving our utmost and embracing the learning process was of primary importance. When I organised events, I always aimed for the stars. Sometimes, we can come remarkably close, however at other times, achieving a significant milestone that holds relevance for the future is equally pivotal.

  • You Will Learn to Negotiate and Influence Many Stakeholders Like a Pro: Organising significant events necessitated honed negotiation skills (from requesting sponsorships to securing organizational support) and a substantial level of influence, particularly in garnering support from fellow club presidents and commitment from external members. Moreover, forming a network of enthusiastic supporters across diverse groups, even before assuming club leadership, proved indispensable. Demonstrating your dedication, ethical work practices, and skill in influencing and collaborating will be pivotal in building your club’s brand and subsequently receiving assistance.

  • Be Creative and Budget Accordingly: Executing events on tight budgets demands ingenuity. For instance, during “Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month,” a simple whiteboard and colourful pens sparked over 200 heartfelt responses, all at no cost. Frequently, we can achieve much more even with minimal financial resources, contributing to inclusivity among all members. However, seeking additional funding could prove significantly beneficial as well.

  • Focus on Kindness and Empathy to Empower Everyone: Club leadership enriched my understanding of the kind of leader I aspire to be, a role extending beyond the mere issuance of directives. Creating a loyal and friendly atmosphere through empathy is pivotal – recognizing that team members have lives beyond the club (and work) makes all the difference. Learning to facilitate growth, provide assistance, and empower individuals to explore new horizons adds a subtle yet substantial value resonating not just within the club but also beyond it.

Why Share This Journey and Learning?

For those on the brink of joining LBS, the possibility of leading clubs as an Ex-co or president awaits. My advice? Immerse yourself in the experience and savour it to the fullest. For me, it was the best decision I ever made during my MBA. This transformative journey will give you quick decision-making prowess, the ability to steer dynamic and highly skilled teams, the toolkit to inspire and empower individuals, and the opportunity for personal and professional growth that endures a lifetime.

But most importantly to make lifetime friends 😊 Here is a picture mixing Wellbeing and CEE friends.

So, brace yourself for this exciting adventure – prepare to roll up your sleeves and dive right in!

Explore the Clubs at LBS

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