Student Organization Leaders Reflect on Experiences
By Jennifer Behnke, Nathan Dahlke, Amy Kenzler, Renae Young
There are many ways to gain and practice leadership skills on campus. Becoming involved in a student organization is one such opportunity. Several College of Business student organization presidents shared their leadership strategies, the benefits of their positions, and the impact it will have on their future careers.
To be effective, leaders must form strategies and habits to manage the responsibilities of their position. Leaders make many decisions, which should reflect the views of the organization and its members. Therefore, leaders should communicate regularly and openly with members.
Dan Rasmussen, president of Beta Upsilon Sigma, said, “I consciously attempt to work with others at all times. I feel that if I handle situations this way, I am more approachable and understanding, and that is the kind of leader I would like to be.”
Conflict is an inevitable part of every relationship. Joe Pichotta, president of the UW-Eau Claire AIESEC chapter, an international business organization, gave his advice on how to manage it.
“Make sure you are positive and confident, regardless of how difficult the situation may be,” he said. “Everyone looks up to you for the answers and you need to make sure you don’t let the group down.”
Most students assume leadership positions to enhance their individual professional skills. There are many leadership opportunities within the various student organizations at College of Business. With that, teach leader’s experiences are unique.
Patrick Senzig, president of the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA), has been president for the past three semesters.
“I have had excellent opportunities to attend two national conventions for ACHCA in Las Vegas and Cinncinati,” he said.
By representing his organization at national conventions, Senzig said he has had the opportunity to network with many professionals in the healthcare field.
In addition to opportunities such as strengthening communication, leaders learn teamwork skills. Rasmussen said he has learned the importance of building teamwork during his first semester as BUS president.
“I’ve learned that everyone has their strengths, and everyone has their weaknesses,” he said. “It is the recognition and combination of these strengths and weaknesses that leads to a successful team, and therefore, a successful organization.”
By utilizing teamwork skills, BUS members completed over 1,000 community service hours during the spring 2008 semester. For BUS, teamwork has led to a successful organization.
Impact on Future Career
Rasmussen, Pichotta, and Senzig agreed that taking on a leadership position will help them in the future, especially in developing a professional career.
Kellie K. Webster, president of the Financial Management Association said of her leadership experience, “This is preparing me to work with different kinds of people, and will allow me to understand things from their point of view.”
Rasmussen commented on the impact of his leadership position.
“I feel I have become a well-rounded person because of this experience,” he said. “I have been both a follower and a leader in this organization, and knowing how to do both… is very important in the business world.”
The presidents all noted that their experiences have given them time management, networking, and communication skills that will help them in the future.
“With the networking experience provided through AIESEC, I feel much more comfortable speaking with business professionals,” Pichotta said. “This will help me throughout the interview process ( and in my future career).”
From left to right: Jennifer Behnke is a senior accounting major from River Falls, Wis; Nathan Dahlke is a senior accounting major from Brookfield, Wis; Amy Kenzler is a business administration major from Hartland, Wis; Renae Young is a senior finance major from Plainview, Min. They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Writing class.