The Rewards of Student Leadership

One highlight of the academic year is the annual Chancellor’s Student Service and Leadership Awards (CSSLA) ceremony. Since 1973, the CSSLA ceremony has recognized outstanding student leaders and student volunteers who, while maintaining high academic achievement, demonstrate a commitment to the UIC community through participation in student organizations and campus activities and throughout the greater Chicagoland area through active service and community engagement. One of this year’s award recipients is Amish Brahmbhatt, an MBA candidate at UIC Liautaud. Below, Amish tells us about his work for the MBA Association.  

To be honest, I joined the MBA Association for the networking, and in the beginning, that’s what I was focused on, meeting those people who were going to help me reach the next step. But I also gradually got more involved in the MBAA events. MBAA leadership encouraged newcomers to take on responsibilities within the organization, and the more I did so, the more I began to see bigger opportunities in those leadership roles.

Now, as president of the MBAA, I’m more broadly responsible for those events that I used to have a small hand in, responsibilities that still challenge me and force me to grow. But I’m also responsible for the next generation of students, who themselves are here to network and to figure out how to bridge that gap between academia and the business world. Leading the MBAA isn’t just about doing the necessary administrative work; it’s about making myself available to students, addressing their questions, and offering them support.

For a student leader, the greatest reward is watching other student leaders develop in their time at UIC. This is something I learned from the people who mentored me, people who figure hugely in my professional network. I know I have a place in theirs, too, because the students whom I have supported–I haven’t just helped them progress as MBA candidates; I’ve seen them grow as individuals and as peers. It’s made me optimistic that the kinds of relationships we build in the MBAA are out there in the business world. We’ll be bringing them to the business world, at least.

In addition to my work for the MBAA, I also have a graduate assistantship as a recruiter for UIC Business. All this work on top of my coursework can get hectic. Within the MBAA, the other board members are just as busy as I am. How do we keep things moving forward? We rely on each other to hash out ideas and delegate work. Trust is key. That, and a lot of coffee.

I’d encourage any newcomer to try what I did. All you have to do to start is just join an organization, and  then, as time allows, get more and more involved in their operations. This is a good way to test the waters before committing to anything big. Don’t assume it’s more than you can handle–this is unreasonable for a student in any field, but especially for an MBA student. Brace for the challenge, and take my word that the rewards are worth your time.