Last week, I got the opportunity to watch some of my fellow classmates participate in an annual Smith event, Leadership Under Fire. The event was a competition among six groups of first-year MBA students where each group was in the role of top executives facing a major business crisis for their company. In an effort to manage the crisis, each group provided a written press release and held a mock press conference with real members of the media acting as the press corps.
While it was especially entertaining to watch some of my classmates squirm under the heat of pressing questions from the press, I came away – as I often do – incredibly impressed with everyone’s performance. As important as the quantitative skills learned in business school are, the event really emphasized the value of being able to clearly communicate your point and keep your composure under pressure. All of the technical skills in the world won’t do you any good if you crumble in the spotlight, so it was especially encouraging to see how well my classmates handled themselves.
The event also highlighted how great of a job Smith does at providing opportunities to get a well-rounded educational experience. At times, it can be easy to become so focused on your work in the classroom that you forget how important it is to make sure you are learning in all aspects of your professional development, and Leadership Under Fire served as a perfect reminder of that.