Eduardo Da Costa epitomizes student leadership at Heavener. He’s a dedicated leader and member of the Business Administration College Council (President), Delta Sigma Pi (professional business fraternity), served on Heavener’s case competition team, and as a Career & Academic Peer Mentor—assisting fellow Heavener students acquire internships.
But when he enters Nielsen’s Watch Emerging Leaders Program in New York after graduation, he’ll be in unchartered waters. How can he continue to develop the leadership skills he’s acquired at Heavener?
“I’ve been thinking about that a lot because I’ll be moving to a place where I’ll be at the bottom of the ladder,” Da Costa said. “I’m worried I’m going to lose some of those skills I developed without an opportunity to put them into practice.”
A successful path to effective leadership was meticulously mapped out at the Heavener School. Students knew which classes to take, organizations to join and experiential learning programs to participate in to become leaders.
But what happens after they leave the Heavener School, and that path to leadership isn’t as clear?
Warrington alumni have successfully navigated that professional leadership path, and are here to provide valuable advice for Heavener leaders.
During her time at Heavener, Shruti Shah (BA ’15, BSBA ’15) was President of the Business Administration College Council, the umbrella group for Heavener’s 30-plus student organizations. It’s one of the School’s most prominent student leadership positions.
Shah still has the desire to lead, but the opportunities appeared few and far between when beginning a new career.
“I was leading groups of people, and now I’m at the bottom of the food chain,” said Shah, now a General Management Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington D.C. “It was disheartening at first.”
Then, Shah took a deep breath, relaxed and made an important realization.
“For a long time, I thought that if I wasn’t in charge of a team, I wasn’t developing as a leader,” Shah said. “But that’s not the case.”
Marc McGrady (BSBA ’07) made the impressive climb from Intern to Vice President in six years at Citigroup. Now, as a manager, he has a pretty good idea which young analysts will follow his lead.
“We’ll hire the great student with the 4.0 GPA, who does good work, and then goes home,” said McGrady, 31. “It’s not enough. You have to get to know the company and the managers. It puts you on a much more successful track.”
McGrady, a Vice President in Citigroup’s Global Market’s Airport and Aviation Group in New York, understands that some may mistake networking for being a brownnoser. But to differentiate yourself in a global company with more than 200,000 employees, creating meaningful personal relationships are essential.
Some equate brashness and volume with leadership.
Not Joel Lewis.
“Strong leadership isn’t necessarily the noisy, loud kind of leadership we’re used to,” Lewis said. “You can take the initiative to make things better in any role.”
Lewis (BSBA ’09) skillfully ascended up the ranks at Merrill Edge—Assistant Vice President in two years and Vice President in five years—utilizing just that approach. By mastering his daily duties and carefully choosing projects, he caught the attention of senior management.
Lewis, now a Vice President of Client Acquisition & Segmentation at Morgan Stanley in New York, endorses a focused strategy for new hires to exhibit and develop their leadership skills.