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Hear from Michigan Ross MBA Students Who Participated in Sanger’s Leader Experience Program Last Year

By Bridget Vis

From stepping up to lead a group project to a small action to make a classmate feel more included, or formally taking on an executive role of a club, there are endless opportunities for students to be leaders at the Ross School of Business.

To support students in these daily leadership actions, the Sanger Leadership Center at Michigan Ross co-created Leader Experience. LDRx is a student-led community where groups work together to reflect and process leadership experiences while taking control of their development. 

Through the LDRx program, students meet once per week with a small group of peers, and use a flexible, discussion-based curriculum designed by the Sanger Leadership Center. Throughout the year, students can advance their leadership development — and that of their group’s — by increasing their self-knowledge, experimenting with new ways of leading, reflecting on their results, and synthesizing their learning. In addition, LDRx helps students draw connections between the variety of experiences they have as Ross MBAs.

Students who participated in LDRx have described it as one of their most powerful experiences at Michigan Ross. Hear what four Full-Time and Weekend MBA students have to say about the program last year below.

Ivy Kim, MBA ’23

“Prior to Michigan Ross, having success in the workplace meant overachieving on quantifiable targets while effectively managing relationships with various stakeholders of the business. Coming from a relatively homogenous society, where both professional and non-professional norms are unspoken yet widely understood, I recognized that I possessed a limited view of what it means to be an effective leader. As a first-year Full-Time MBA student, I wanted to complement the technical skills I was gaining from my core classes with both academic studies and anecdotal evidence around leadership in the context of globalization.

“My primary reason for joining LDRx as a participant was to identify and challenge the status quo that has shaped my perspective on leadership. Additionally, I wanted to understand what effective management looked like in organizations of various scales and in different parts of the world. In my group of five first-year MBAs, there was a great mix of students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Whether it was about designing and forming teams or sharing what growth looks like in different stages of life, each meeting was an opportunity for us to reflect on our collective experiences through a new lens and to learn from one another. Whether the goal is to sharpen leadership skills, be comfortable with vulnerability, or learn about the latest in organizational psychology, LDRx is a safe place for future leaders to explore, create, and adapt.”

Bill Brady, MBA ’23

“Learning in the Weekend Ross MBA Program comes from many different sources: classroom learning, group projects, MAP projects, extracurricular activities, and many others. Going into Ross, I knew I wanted to dedicate part of my learning journey to honing my soft skills to be the best leader I could be. LDRx provided exactly that opportunity and so much more. 

I was assigned to a team of classmates who started out as acquaintances, but quickly became good friends and part of my Ross support network.

Bill Brady, MBA ’23

“My favorite part of the LDRx experience was sharing our experiences with each week’s key theme — successes, roadblocks, concerns, etc. We would strategize as a group on how to overcome obstacles, whether it be working with different personalities at work or seeking more complex responsibilities to challenge ourselves. I knew that, despite whatever may have been going on in my life at the time, I could relax and be my authentic self at our weekly LDRx meeting. 

“LDRx complements a Ross MBA strongly because it helps you understand how others around you view the world. As we move into professional leadership roles, it becomes exponentially more important that we get the people part right. I feel empowered to take the lessons and conversations I had in LDRx and put those to work in my current roles in work and in my personal life. I am thankful for the LDRx program and highly suggest you register for this impactful experience.”

Jessica Liang, MBA/MPP, ’23

“I signed up for LDRx to expand my circle and to deepen connections with new people. It can be hard to break out of your established friend groups and people you’re comfortable with; it’s even harder to try to match that level of intimacy with a new slate of people. LDRx is an excellent way to develop a close-knit group of friends from all different sections and industry interests.

“Before — and after — learning our team assignments, my podmates and I didn’t know if we’d like each other or if our stories and experiences would resonate with anyone else in the group; however, we promised to be there for each other. I was impressed by how committed my pod was to meeting regularly. We even set up norms ahead of time as prescribed guidelines for what to do if one of us was absent, etc. We shared our life stories, insecurities, vulnerabilities, and joys with each other. In the end, I went through almost my entire first year of the Full-Time MBA Program with this additional support circle, and they are some of the faces I was happiest to see after coming back to kick off our second MBA year.”

To those considering joining LDRx, I’d say, absolutely do it and put your whole self in. You get out what you put into it!

Jessica Liang, MBA/MPP, ’23

Boyang Wang, MBA ’23

“LDRx was a very unique journey that I had during my studies in the Weekend MBA Program at Ross. It provides not only educational materials, but also practical lessons to prepare me for a future leadership position. LDRx is structured as a holistic training system to help develop leadership skills beyond daily professional activities. The curriculum starts with building self-awareness, then forwards to understanding and facilitating inclusive cultures, and finally wraps up with best practices for coaching and leading teams. Many of the techniques and skills introduced can be implemented in our professional careers right away. For example, I oversaw building a new team with six new hires. When they were hired the first day, I asked them to complete the “Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Questionnaire,” which was an exceptional tool introduced at LDRx to quickly understand each person’s characteristics and conflict style at work.

“Besides leadership improvements, another highlight of the program was the connection we established in this team. Throughout the five months of weekly interactions, we developed great synergy and friendship beyond academic activities. Our weekly discussion normally opened with the highs and lows of the week for each person, which provided opportunities to get to know each other better. As we dived into the leadership materials of the week, we were also encouraged to share our personal reflections on the subject matter. As a result, our group formed an inclusive and supportive environment to encourage different opinions. Overall, LDRx was a remarkable adventure, and I am impressed with what I learned and gained from it.”

Learn more about LDRx