Wednesday, February 2, 2011

So you want to be a Peer Coach?

Joni and Nicci have previously shared their experiences about the Peer Coach Program at Kelley. So if you are trying to understand what it means to be a peer coach I would suggest starting with the blog post by Joni and by Nicci. You can learn about how the program is implemented by the Corporate Finance Academy and the Consumer Marketing Academy. The MBA Professional Degree is not just about the regular MBA Student Activities. Throughout the Two Year MBA Program you must make the most of the opportunities to learn and to grow.

The Peer Coach Program is one such golden opportunity. You might find it interesting to note that the Peer Coaches for each Academy were given the autonomy to design a program that best fit the schedule. Along with the flexibility came responsibility. I am part of the Peer Coach Team for the Consulting Academy that also includes John Bentley, Neha Kale, Stephanie Foulks, Tito Ghosh and Tom Paprocki. During a day-long kick-off session, where peer coaches from all the academies met, we created a vision for our academy. We then came up with a plan to meet the goals we had set.

Throughout the last semester, we conducted several sessions to assist our first-year peers as they went through the career search cycle. For instance, we had a resume review session where we provided our inputs on the importance of telling a story and bringing out your best qualities in a succinct manner. I led an interactive session on written communication along with Tom that was a fun learning experience (with some great pizza of course!). We continue to conduct mock case and behavioral interviews as required.

Most importantly, the Peer Coach Program is designed to help develop the leadership skills of the coaches as much it is meant to guide and assist the coachees. As a first-year student, going through the process of discovering your passion, searching for the right internship and interacting with company representatives, you end up learning a lot in a very short time span. Becoming a Peer Coach is thus an important channel through which you can give back to the school and share with your peers what you have learned.

The first-year MBA Students will be submitting their applications by the end of this week for Peer Coach positions for the next academic year. We will be interviewing the candidates before making our recommendations. The Peer Coach is a challenging role, but one that can help you grow enormously. If you are a first-year student, I urge you to take up the challenge and apply!

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