Management and leadership degree offers students signature learning experience

Engagement. Skill development. Personal growth. Networking. These are just some of the benefits students get out of signature learning experiences like the Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (Management and Leadership) degree’s Emerge extracurricular.  

Emerge is the creation of Dr. Brenda Marshall, a faculty member in the degree program and an executive coach, researcher and public speaker.

We spoke with Dr. Marshall about how the Emerge extracurricular helps students develop skills that are highly valued by employers, challenges them to step outside their comfort zone and take risks, prepares them for success in their future careers and lives, and connects theory with practice.

Dr. Brenda Marshall, professor, Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (Management and Leadership) headshot she's wearing a light blue sweater and green scarf

Tell us more about the Emerge leadership extracurricular and what it offers students.

Emerge is a signature learning experience for students who want to learn more about – and improve – their management and leadership skills. The format is designed so that students develop relationships with each other; it’s kind of like having your own board of directors. My goal as a facilitator is to foster cohesion for the group, bring a current topic related to leadership every week, and hopefully model some interesting team-building approaches.

Why did you want to offer this extracurricular for your students?

The purpose of the extracurricular is two-fold: 1. It offers unbiased accounts of students’ leadership skills, and 2. The students take that data and turn it into a plan (how they plan to improve their skillset). I love that the process allows me to be creative in how we approach the topic of leadership and gives students access to information they would otherwise not be involved with or party to; it mirrors the process I used to employ with my corporate clients. I wanted students to have an experience just like they’d have in the workplace.

How did you adapt this program – which you use in developing like programs for corporations – for students?

It didn’t really change much. I have a consulting background and have used similar coaching approaches with leaders in Fortune 500 companies. The 360 tool we use to gather data about each student’s approach to leadership is the same one used in corporations around the world. I create mini workshops on topics I believe will resonate, and that’s what we focus on each week.

What benefits do you think students will get out of the extracurricular?

Students had to commit to coming to all five sessions, and we held them on Saturdays so that they would be free of the busyness of the school week. There was an application process, so these students really want to be here and engage with each other. It’s a huge leap of faith for everyone involved to participate, but I know all of them are so glad they did!

Extracurriculars build on student learning

Laura Moote, an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (Management and Leadership) degree student and Emerge participant, says the experience has allowed her to explore ideas and put them into action.

Being able to interact and engage with my peers and professors has helped me build a network and my own competencies. It’s really enhanced my leadership skills and improved my confidence in my abilities.   

Classmate Avery Perrier adds that the experience provides a deeper understanding of the type of leadership style she wants to use when she’s in the workforce.

“Knowing what my leadership traits are is important so I can adapt to the different types of people I’ll eventually lead. Seeing how every aspect of business informs others is interesting and truly beneficial.”

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