Archer Chapin ’19 on Management and Leadership

The Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) is a one-term program that prepares students to succeed in all of their management and leadership endeavors.

Archer Chapin ’19, an engineering major, signed up for the MLDP program during his sophomore year, because he wanted to improve his communication and management skills and apply these skills to his engineering education.

This past November, Archer attended the SPARK Entrepreneurship Conference at Harvard Business School to learn more about the entrepreneurial process. The conference reinforced skills learned through MLDP and presented the opportunity to use them. Prior to MLDP, Archer was wary of networking, because for him it carried a utilitarian, even disingenuous connotation. Yet Kate Hilton’s MLDP session, “Authentic Exchanges: The Science & Art of Building Relationships,” showed that “networking” should be rephrased as “relationship-building”. “I now see that relationship-building opens up the possibility of a two-way endeavor, rather than networking’s seemingly one-way exchange,” said Archer.

In the first panel at the SPARK Conference, Mark Roberge, the Chief Sales Officer for HubSpot, detailed his strategy for conducting sales in an analogous way to Kate Hilton’s MLDP session. Emphasizing the importance of building relationships, he challenged the audience to try one of his favorite sales exercises: go up to a random person at the event and ask questions for as long as possible while talking as little as possible. After doing this for thirty minutes, he said he gets to know the client and gains their trust, even though they might know just his name.

Later in the conference, Archer tried this exercise. He approached a Harvard Business School student and asked him about his experience at the school. The HBS student offered to sit with him in the quad, and they talked for over thirty minutes. Archer asked questions and the HBS student talked. Through the conversation, Archer learned quite a bit about him and the school. “I’ve always been averse to the word networking, but Hilton’s and Roberge’s exercises made me reevaluate; networking doesn’t have to be about attaining a utilitarian benefit from another, it can be a way to help others, create relationships, and learn new things.” Archer found it refreshing that MLDP and the SPARK Conference emphasized the benefits of authenticity and trust to a successful career in business.

Click here for more information about the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP).