The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences


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.

Leading People and Delivering Results

In his session “Leading People and Delivering Results,” Dr. David Ager facilitated discussion over a Harvard Business School case study. The case focused on whether a senior management director at Morgan Stanley, Paul Nasr, should promote his star revenue producer, Rob Parson. Parson has been extremely successful in generating revenue for the firm, but has an aggressive personality that strongly conflicts with Morgan Stanley’s team-oriented culture. The session began with Dr. Ager encouraging fellows to brainstorm reasons for why Parson should be promoted. Fellows debated the impact of Parson’s qualifications and behaviors, and analyzed the potential pros and cons of promotion. Specifically, fellows argued whether Nasr should put greater weight on Parson’s revenue production or his leadership capabilities. At the beginning, discussion focused primarily on Parson’s behavior. However, after further discussion, the debate started to center on whether Nasr had succeeded as a manager.

Young Jang ’19 on Management and Leadership

Young Jang ’19, reflects on his participation in the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) during the 2016 fall term.

I joined MLDP due to a friend’s recommendation, and I learned numerous important skills and aspects about being an efficient and dependable leader.

The most important thing that I learned is that true leadership does not exist in a vacuum. While I learned many skills and tips on becoming an efficient leader, none of it matters until I actually put it to use in everyday life.

I realized this truth during an MLDP session with Steven Spaulding, Assistant Athletics Director for Leadership. Spaulding covered the essentials of team communication through a formal presentation. During the presentation, I smugly thought to myself, “I know all of this.” However, when I had to put my team communication skills to the test in an outdoor activity, I failed miserably. Once I stepped outside, I defaulted to my “normal” behavior, and I stopped thinking and acting like a leader.

DLAB Leadership With Others

The third session of D-LAB on January 30, 2017 was titled “Leadership With Others.” This session shifted from focusing on individual’s values to how these values interact with the surrounding communities. Prior to this session, participants had close friends select the five values they thought best described them. The session began with participants discussing in pairs whether the values their friends chose matched the values participants chose for themselves. This conversation allowed participants to reflect on how their values may be seen by others within different social and academic contexts.

The group then came together as a whole to discuss the quote by Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Specifically, our group talked about how this quote was more applicable in high school, when one’s family was the people one spent the most time with; however, in college, the five people one spends the most time with may be incredibly different individuals from a variety of places on campus.  

DLAB Leadership From Within: Part 2

The second session of D-LAB was titled “Leadership From Within (Part II)” and proceeded to build off of session one. A unique aspect of D-LAB is that participants are asked to complete bridge activities in between each session to encourage reflection throughout the week and prepare for the following session. The bridge activity for the past week was to rank values that were most and least important to participants. This prepared participants to consider how their individual values influence their daily activities and future goals.

Following icebreakers and casual dinner conversation, participants wrote down their top 3 values on post-it notes. The group as a whole then discussed the chosen values and highlighted the overlaps among the group. Students then paired off to explain more about how their values were shaped by their personal life experiences, and why they identified with those specific values. The pairs then shared with the group as a whole; it was interesting to note the pairs that had matching important values, and those that had opposite most important and least important values.

Research Prospects at Earth Science Conference

Attending the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco was an extremely valuable experience for me. I was given the opportunity to present the Earth Sciences research that I had been conducting as a Sophomore Scholar; I was presenting evidence of the impact of a 2011 Chilean volcanic eruption on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide. The meeting was the largest gathering of earth and planetary scientists in the world, with over 25,000 scientists present. It was marvellous to see the wide variety of scientific research being conducted, and also witnessing the importance of fine details within the fields. I presented in the first poster session of the conference, alongside other ice scientists, and it was valuable to hear feedback on my research and to discuss the work with more experienced scientists.

The Power to Make Change

The driving theme of the Ivy Leadership Summit (ILS) was Impetus, and the events and speakers were meticulously planned to reflect that. The experience has truly convinced me that as students, we have the power to make a change now. Speakers such as Heather Anderson, Senior VP of Programs at Global Health Corps, emphasized that this conference was a catalyst. We did not have to wait to gain experience if we had an idea. We should find some resources and work to implement our visions now. I loved meeting peers who had the same passions that I did for the work needing to be done in the field of Global Health. ILS was an incredible opportunity to expose myself to the different opportunities in Global Health. It took a broad interest of mine and gave me the chance to meet leaders in the field. I now have more direction in what I want to explore career wise. I especially loved two key speakers and the advice they shared.

Henry Blodget:

Leadership Requires Confidence and Innovation

The Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) begins the term with opportunities for participants to get to know each other. Casual Thursday, an on-campus improv group, set the tone for a learning environment that rewards individuals for pushing the boundaries of their comfort zones in order to grow as individuals. One of the activities introduced by Casual Thursday was called Freeze.

"This activity was a really fun and innovative way to get that message across," according to Sarah Gupta '19, "and to remind us that many things we're proud of are the things that challenge us the most."

"It was a way for me to step a little out of my comfort zone and to think creatively on my feet," says Akiirayi Ademoyo '18. "Although, it was a silly game, it conveyed leadership qualities such as confidence and innovation. It was also a great bonding experience with my fellow MLDP peers because it was quite an engaging game.”

Deputy Director Sadhana Hall concluded the session with an interactive exercise that explored the program’s personal leadership challenge and how to craft SMART goals to achieve the challenge.

Turn-takers, Pausers, and Interrupters

The Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) began the term with a session focused on communication styles and how they are informed by culture. One activity in particular introduced students to the idea that people’s conversation styles can largely be categorized into three patterns. The turn-taker: a person who waits until the other person is finished talking before speaking. The pauser: a person who not only waits until the other finishes talking before talking in turn, but actually allows for a pause or silence before talking. The interrupter: a person who tends to cut the other person in conversation off by starting to speak before the other is finished speaking.

RGLP participants, Frederikke Fürst and Marcus Gresham, share their reflections here on this particular activity.

Education Reform at Ivy Council Conference

The main purpose for this conference at Yale of the Ivy Council was impetus: the initiative one needs to do something magnificent. While at the conference, there was a heterogeneous mix of influential keynote speakers from various careers who spoke with us passionately about determination and drive in their respective fields. Then, I had the chance to obtain a more specialized experience at the conference by choosing a certain career sector to contemplate; I chose the education section. There were many opportunities in breakout sessions to converse with leaders in this sector. From what they have said about their beliefs and opinions on education in general, there seems to be a common thread amongst their thoughts: the education system has been quite static in their progress for decades. As well-established schools become more prosperous, others in the inner-cities and abroad become more financially and academically detached. I saw this first hand, as I interned at a charter school in Bronx, NY during my winter break in freshman year: Kids were not attending classes, teachers felt indifferent, and the school’s ratings steadily declined.


The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences