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BBA Orientation

Undergraduate Leadership Opportunities Prepare Graduates for the Professional World

by Brittney Mitchell Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Wisconsin School of Business has a history of investing in programs that inspire students, help them discover their passions, and connect them to industry leaders.

For the past seven years in August, the school has hosted a six-day leadership boot camp called LeaderShape®, which is limited to 65 students. In order to better ensure undergraduate students have the opportunity to gain professional experiences prior to graduation, the Wisconsin School of Business implemented the Compass program for all incoming undergraduates for the fall 2012 semester.

The program leads students through pre-defined curricular and extracurricular activities to help them develop leadership abilities, communication skills, and the professionalism necessary to be future business leaders.

First-semester business student Annelise Gerschke said the Compass program has been an important addition to her classroom experience.

“There are a lot of opportunities in Grainger that students don’t know about or take advantage of,” said Gerschke. “The program gives students a glimpse of them.”

Throughout the program, students complete community service and attend leadership events, as well as learn the importance of regular academic and career advising and the basics of résumé writing. A full list of requirements can be found online.

Junior and Management and Human resources major Lisa Marcus said she found volunteering to be the most rewarding part of the program.

“I went to a Make-a-Wish walk, where I cheered on the walkers and helped direct traffic,” Marcus said. “[It was] really good to see people who were thankful we were there, and they were glad to see students volunteering for a good cause.”

BBA Orientation 2012

Incoming BBA students at orientation during summer 2012

LeaderShape® is an interactive bootcamp designed to help students become leaders and make their goals a reality. Students spend the week interacting with peers, LeaderShape® staff, Wisconsin School of Business staff, and guest leaders.

Sam Hoppen, a sophomore majoring in marketing with a specialization in supply chain management, participated in LeaderShape® the August before his freshman year. Hoppen said the program helped him learn more about himself.

“We go through the core values, and do assessments to find out what our own leadership style is and what qualities we hold personally,” said Hoppen. “This helped me realize what is important to me as far as leadership and has allowed me to apply these core values when leading a team or group.”

Hoppen served as an onsite coordinator at the 2012 LeaderShape®, which allowed him to give back to the program that likely helped him gain admission to the Wisconsin School of Business.

“I personally want to provide some sort of mentorship to other younger students similar to the way that the people have helped me,” Hoppen said.

Gerschke also participated in LeaderShape® and said every day of the program was challenging, which forced her and her fellow participants to learn and grow. The values and skills she learned at LeaderShape® will help her in her professional career.

“Ultimately, we’re being prepared for life outside the classroom. We’re going into the real world whether we like it or not,” she said. “Our studies are important, but our ability to work with people and thrive in social situations are adaptable to every career in the future.”