Listening to Leadership Stories Around the World

April 27, 2017

Global Director of Admissions, Robert Garris, shares his thoughts on meeting young leaders around the world. Read more here: 

Listening to Leadership Stories Around the World

We are now in our third cycle of recruiting and selecting Schwarzman Scholars, and since we first started meeting prospective Scholars in 2014, we’ve learned the value of taking the time to listen to many different points of view on leadership from prospective Scholars.  Sometimes this happens face to face in a university classroom; sometimes in a conversation before the start of a presentation.  In coffee shops, in the hallways of big office buildings, corporate conference rooms, grainy Skype calls, from a laptop camera in the midst of a student entrepreneurship conference, or a webinar chatroom.  The setting doesn’t matter as much as the opportunity to hear a candidate tell her story or to have a candidate ask his very personal question with the privacy and confidentiality and anonymity of an online chat window instead of in a big group conversation.
These conversations, traditional and digital, group and individual, have given those of us on the selection committee a chance to stretch the boundaries of how we understand leadership.  Sometimes it involves creating change by running a big campus organization; it might involve creating change by taking a risk at work, and sometimes it involves creating change through the persuasion, power, and inspiration of ideas.  For some Schwarzman Scholars leadership is fast-paced, entrepreneurial and creative.  For some its slower, persistent, and patient diplomacy.  By listening to the stories of prospective Scholars, we are better prepared to curate a diverse class with many different approaches to leadership.  And by listening to these stories, on many different campuses, at many different offices, with many different online technologies, we can hopefully also encourage leaders in many different fields to share their stories with us and, hopefully, join our community of young leaders.

In a few weeks our campus visits will slow down as many universities’ end their academic year, but we’ll keep the conversation going online and hope that you’ll join us.