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“Real leaders are ordinary people with extraordinary determination” – Unknown

I’m beginning to take notice in a great number of individuals who I call, people of influence, or POI. It’s great to discover the unobtrusive ambitions that some students carry with them in every aspect of their lives. I’ve come across full-time students who seem to participate in every Liautaud event. I’ve bumped shoulders with part-time students working full-time (plus weekend jobs) who still manage to lead projects, partake in student org activities, and volunteer… all while managing their studies. I’ve even been in the same company of those POI who work full-time, go to school full-time, lead student organizations, take care of their family, volunteer, compete in competitions, and fully engage themselves in so many realms of the Liautaud community it’s mind-boggling to think how they maintain such a lifestyle! And as fascinating as this seems, the more compelling aspect is that these people are REAL. That is truly what makes them such great students and community members. It’s their dynamic attributes that propel them above others. It’s their sheer determination to succeed that gives them a strong network of resources. And most importantly, it’s their effervescent motivation that not only attracts people to them, but spreads through them.

I’ve found I don’t anyways notice these transformational leaders at the onset of meeting them. Many have this unassuming, almost occult, demeanor. But it doesn’t take long to become aware of their knowledge and influence… the intelligent questions and well thought-out responses invoke respect as well as a certain degree of trust. These fellow classmates influence discussions, group projects and presentations. The POI I know are also proportionate to the other side of the spectrum. They are active listeners, meticulous researcher, and observant spectators. It’s almost as though these all-stars taught Jim Collins about Level 5 Leadership – alright, that might be a stretch. Maybe they’ve all just read his book. And don’t get me wrong, I’m taking away from other classmates… In fact, I’d like to think I’m grouping many grad students together in this regard. It takes a special ambition to face the challenges an MBA program offers. We’ve all taken the steps to get this far and value the effort we put in. Now it is realizing and utilizing the extra effort – the extra POI characteristics – to distinguish yourself as not just a future leader, but an exceptional future leader.