How the Leadership Minor Can Diversify Your Perspective and Approach to Problem Solving
Though it’s still a fairly new addition to the academic programs offered by Georgia Tech, the Minor in Leadership Studies has seen its fair share of student success stories since its start in 2010.
Parker Vascik (AE ’14), one of the first students to join the Minor in Leadership Studies, heard about the then-new minor during his sophomore year. Though at the time he was working hard on building his career path in the field of aerospace engineering, he knew immediately that the Minor in Leadership Studies was the supplement to his academic career that would allow him to pursue a vision of “engineering leadership.” In a recent talk, Vascik explained, “I knew from looking at my skills set I was talented in engineering, sciences, and math, so I could be a good engineer. But I was really good at communicating and inspiring other people…the leadership minor was the way I could fuse these two worlds and match my skill set with what I really want to do.”
Parker resonates the sentiments of many students who join the Minor in Leadership Studies and their reasons for venturing outside a student’s typical major coursework. Perhaps the most compelling reason Parker considered was that “if you put a bunch of really intelligent people in one room, you don’t necessarily make the best product. There’s another aspect to it than just a technical solution…it’s really ‘engineering leadership’ that solves that problem of working with these people to overcome their interests in the design as well as other factors that are exogenous to your design problem.” In a world where working in diverse, cross-functional teams is becoming increasingly common, sharpening one’s leadership skills in order to do well in those teams is of great importance.
However, career-minded skills and lessons were not the only things Parker gained through the Minor in Leadership Studies. He was also affected on a more interpersonal level, saying “everybody has a certain way of looking at problems and how to solve those problems…by working with business majors and other engineers that are interested in leadership I really got so many new perspectives, a variety of thought, and a way of seeing problems that was different from the aerospace engineering atmosphere.” Among the Georgia Tech leadership education community, students, faculty and staff agree that this diversified perspective and approach to problem solving is one of the core values in our programs.
Success in Georgia Tech’s leadership programs, such as Parker’s and many others’, have spurred a heightened sense of importance for developing students’ leadership skills, and the compelling gains made by students have made it possible for the school to continue to build upon and improve the quality of our programs. If Parker’s story speaks to you and you are ready to begin your journey in leadership development, we encourage you to apply for the Minor in Leadership Studies today.
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