You want to bust out of graduation ahead of the pack? It’s time to tighten up your CEO skills because you’ll use them right out of the gate.

Lucky for you, college campuses are packed with opportunities for students to learn valuable business insights. If you proactively develop these qualities, you won’t have to wait for tough situations to change your ways.

It’s not about the résumé.

You don’t need the biggest, baddest résumé to succeed in life.

Those valedictorian big shots who think that employers prefer to see five million activities have it all wrong.

If you over extend yourself, you’re probably not 100% committed to each of your projects. Pick a responsibility or two and hustle to make things happen.

Effective management follows strong leadership, and many of these opportunities can expose you to lessons in both. Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:

1.)  Take on Leadership in Class

The classroom is the easiest place to hone your leadership abilities and dive into team management positions. View group projects and presentations as real business simulations: foster teamwork and concentrate on accountability for goals and deadlines. With the right mindset, you can make any classroom interaction a preview of the business world.

2.)  Give Back with Community Service

Whether you help out within the local community or take a trip during break, volunteer work and service projects offer excellent hands-on experience. If you can’t find something campus affiliated, why not volunteer at a nearby hospital, food bank, or school? You’ll be amazed by the interpersonal and problem-solving skills you can gain from these programs.

3.)  Go Baller Status: Play Sports

Getting involved with intermural, intramural, club, or pick-up sports is a great way to work on effective communication and team chemistry. You don’t have to be the star player or a coach—learn to motivate the people around you. All successful CEOs can mesh with teammates.

4.)  Run for Office in Student Government

As an elected member of the student government, you’re directly responsible for addressing the concerns of your classmates. You stand on the front lines of implementing change. It’s critical that you learn to stay true to your word, as accountability will hopefully become your calling card.

5.)  Find a Campus Job

Most schools offer a variety of jobs for students during the academic year. Food services, administrative assistance, and alumni call centers are common positions that depend on student participation. Adding a part time job to your schedule can teach you valuable lessons in time management, prioritization, and discipline.

6.)  Reach Out to Local Businesses

If you’re considering entrepreneurship, look for opportunities to help out at a local business. In addition to learning the challenges and responsibilities facing small business owners, you will be able to identify which unique abilities that you bring to the table. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How can you leverage these in your own business?

7.)  Teach as a Tutor or TA

You can learn communication, empathy, and how to truly listen by teaching other students in their weak subjects. Try helping out as a tutor in your strongest subject or offer to become a Teaching Assistant for a class that you passed in an earlier semester. This isn’t always an easy task, but the personal development payoff is huge.

8.)  Get Active in Student Clubs and Organizations

If you can’t decide how to get involved, you’re bound to find something appealing in a list of your school’s student organizations. Once you’re in, keep active in the community and offer whatever resources or talents you have to the cause. You’ll quickly climb into a leadership position if you put in the time.

9.)  Research Your Ideas

Research projects spark your imagination and shape you into an expert of your field. Whether you work alongside a professor or conduct your own independent study, research can be a rewarding option for the aspiring entrepreneur. You’ll master principles of organization, time management, and analysis.

10.) Be ‘That Cool’ RA or Join Hall Government

Resident Advisors and hall government staff connect students to campaigns, events, and decisions that benefit the whole community. You can gain community building insights and practical administrative skills by becoming involved in your dorm. And it goes without saying—don’t be that pain in the ass RA.

The best way to develop your inner CEO is to get your hands dirty. Find something that interests you and put in the effort to learn all that you can from it.

Do you have any tips or suggestions for our student readers? Drop them in the comment box below!

Mike Darche is currently a senior at the University of Notre Dame. His mission is to inspire and encourage other like-minded young entrepreneurs.

Image Credit: