Student Reflections: USNA Leadership Conference, Part 1

In Leadership, Student Stories, Undergraduate Students, Wharton on April 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm

In February 2011, undergraduate students attended the US Naval Academy conference, Leadership Development: The Cycle of Success.  Students from over 20 different schools, military and civilian, gathered in Annapolis, MD for three days of leadership development workshops and experiences.

Three Wharton undergrads, Colin Lee (W’11), Patrick Glover (W’11) and Christian Hoogerheyde (W’11) reflect on the lessons learned from the conference that they hope to share with their successors in undergraduate Wharton Leadership Ventures and with the Wharton community broadly.  We’ll bring you their reflections in three parts.

Part 1: Colin Lee, W’11
Colin Lee, WG'11For me, the first lesson sounds simple, but it’s subtle and extremely important. It’s to enjoy being a leader and to lead when you have the chance.  Though I’m good with connecting with people, I’ve always been a “background” type of person.  Now, I think I’ve re-structured my thought process so I stop comparing the quality of my ideas; now, I don’t really worry if my ideas seem stupid.  For instance, at this leadership conference, I took the opportunity to ask questions.  From my experience of being involved in WLV, I am more keenly aware of and willing to take on leadership opportunities.

The second lesson is to “lead from your strengths.”  This point was emphasized by two keynote speakers, Marcus Buckingham, a motivational speaker and business consultant, and Colonel Arthur Athens, the US Naval Academy’s Director of the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership.   Buckingham claimed that most people focus on how to improve on what they’re weak in.   Good leaders on the other hand, focus on what they’re good at. 

This lesson reminded me of the “hold onto your winners and cut your losers” concept of financial trading.  It’s psychologically difficult to sell “losing” stocks.  Similarly, it’s a challenge to place greater emphasis on strengths over weaknesses. My next step is to plan how to get to my goals using my strengths.

Colin Lee is a senior at Wharton concentrating in Finance and is an outgoing WLV Advisory Board member.  He enjoys yoga and value investing, and is originally from Singapore and Hong Kong.  After Wharton, he will join Jefferies as a financial analyst in New York.


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