10 Ways for Students to Unleash their Inner CEO : Under30CEO 10 Ways for Students to Unleash their Inner CEO : Under30CEO
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10 Ways for Students to Unleash their Inner CEO

| August 19, 2013 | 13 Comments


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.

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Category: Career Advice, Entrepreneurship

  • https://www.facebook.com/michaelamushe Michael Amushelelo

    An awesome read.

  • http://www.markleisherproductions.com/ Shane Yeager

    Amen to this article, About a year ago I took the plunge and became a CEO. I actually have done everything listed above before leaving school. I also recommend the same! It really works in preparing for the tough road ahead. Great work Mike.

  • Mike Darche

    Thanks so much Shane, I really appreciate the note! That’s awesome you used school to set yourself up for your own business– how has your transition from student to CEO been so far? It’s amazing how the seemingly little lessons we pick up from these responsibilities have a much bigger impact on us down the road. Are there any things you might have done differently in school if you had known you were going to take that plunge?

  • Mike Darche

    Thanks Michael! Do you have any favorite roles or responsibilities?

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  • http://www.proweb365.com/ Minneapolis Web Design

    Thanks for great collection! Your writing really make sense to me. I learn a lot from this useful post!

  • http://www.markleisherproductions.com/ Shane Yeager

    Sorry for the late reply, I’ve had an interesting road. I was president of 3 clubs, my fraternity, and my dorm. I did it in less than 4 semesters and quit school on my fifth. I won awards for video and awards for business. I felt that school had nothing left for me to obtain.. as far as the film and video industry go.. Business.. that’s another story haha. That takes a lifetime to master.

    I really wouldn’t have changed anything, besides having a different major. It was a whirlwind of sleepless nights, working on my own skills, not studying, partying, and one on one meetings with all my professors; I felt that trumped class 100% of the time.

    Sorry if that sounds conceited, I really don’t mean it that way at all! I’m quite dumb with a lot of things and have a ton to learn, I really don’t think academia can grow certain types of people.

  • Mike Darche

    Noo Shane thanks for sharing that- you don’t sound conceited at all! I find myself in a position much like yours, but I have two semesters of school left. I’ve tried to dial back my class schedule and the school related work load so I can focus in the same way you did. I need to meet with my professors, network as much as I can with people who can help, and lock down any resources available to me through school while I can. So I totally agree with your approach.

    I’d love to hear more man– I appreciate the add. I’m sure you have already tackled many of the issues that I’ll encounter in the next couple months. I’ll shoot you a note soon buddy

  • Krispy

    I love the article. However I would add “maintenance of good relationships” with
    the people surrounding us. In my faculty we have a person who is obviously
    striving for something like this, however she does not possess the slightest respect
    from the people working with her due to her really bad attitude towards them.
    Good relationships with other people help us to keep our feet on the ground and
    give us a better rain check of reality and what’s really going on. This is very
    important if we are to truly succeed in our business life – what can we manage
    at all if we do not own the respect of our team? So the sad story of the person
    I am talking about is now developing in the direction that people are starting
    to work together in order to kick her (not remove, but kick her) out of the
    positions she’s in because they’ve had enough of her behavior and her making poor decisions.

    If a person gets himself/herself in that kind of position while still studying, imagine
    what can happen while that kind of a person is trying to run a company one day. A leader that does not own the respect of his/her team mates can easily ruin a company because he/she is not capable of controlling the situations that occur.
    Moreover, a lack of reality rain check can also lead to poor decision making
    which can easily put the company in danger as well.

  • Mike Darche

    Thanks for the thought! I think you’re spot on–maintaining good relationships and keeping your network close is a lifestyle decision that should be put ahead of any co curricular activity. Just like you said, if the people skills aren’t there, you’ll have a very difficult time attracting a team of A listers and motivating them to succeed. And even worse, you might struggle to address problems and control bad situations. In the startup community, you usually don’t have the money to hire talent. You need to use your charm and likability to get the right people on board.

    In the case of your coworker, I think it’s important to show up consistently with an open and positive attitude. It sounds like she may have dug herself into a little bit of a hole; early impressions can be very hard to discard when they carry negativity. Does she realize that her reputation in your faculty is a problem or does she seem unfazed by her status? I think you can recover from such a reputation but you need to genuinely make an effort to do so. Maybe she just needs that reality check or a wake up call. You guys are a team after all, a little boost from the rest of the group can spark a reflection of her character!

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