Ashish Jain is a first year MBA student in the Grainger Center for Supply Chain Management, and participated in the meeting last week. He shares his experience below.
It is always energizing to take a step back from academics and hear the perspective of what people who are out there in industry have to say. Every time, they have something to add to your prior beliefs.
Here are my big takeaways from each panel discussion with board members:
JR Petnkeu of Ford (BBA ’17) & Joren Thompson of Lam Research (MBA ’17)
“Leadership is about behavior” – Leadership is so much more about behavior than titles. If you can display empathy, coordinate and influence people, drive decisions, and execute deliverables, you are as much a leader as someone high up in the hierarchy, and people will recognize it.
“Show me the data”– Soft skills are important. You could have all the data, but unless you style it, communicate it, and tailor it to your audience, it means nothing.
Samy Affo of Intel (MBA ’10) & Justin Goninen of Kohl’s (BBA ’15)
“There is a drastic change in how risk is perceived post-COVID”- The burning question in the post-pandemic world is whether you put more emphasis on risk management, that is, allot more contingency funds for mitigation, or just continue the way you are.
“The digital push”– One thing that everyone agreed on was that if there is a clear permanent outcome of the pandemic, it is the acceleration of digitization. Necessity is the mother of all inventions, and COVID has pushed retailers, manufacturers, suppliers to become more digital.
Saskia Burmeister of Apple (BBA ’14), Yulie Qiao of BP (BBA ’16), Scott Hughes (MBA ’16)
“Learn to manage up” – It’s not your managers managing you, it is you managing them. Learn to engage them- ask questions, become indispensable to them, communicate, disagree, and present your views.
“Identify the right people” – Identification of the right stakeholders is the first and the most important step. Once identified, build trust with these people through not only your work but also your amicability. Keep a strong two-way relationship.
Gloria Guo of Mars (MBA ’10) & Mark Dyer of Cisco (MBA ’10)
“One source of all truths” – In data-based decision making, the most important part is first having “good” data; which is a rarity. In such cases, establish common sources of data that all stakeholders can agree on as the “single source of truth”
“If you think it’s as simplified as possible, think again” – In the storytelling world, it is important that you present even the most intricate things with simplicity to create the maximum possible impact. Simplification is the art of reducing all noise and placing everyone’s focus and attention on the most important things- be smart, efficient, and decisive with your data presentation goals.