Developing Leaders

An NC State graduate student at work in his office.

The McLauchlan Leadership Series in NC State University’s Poole College of Management has not been around long. But the series — designed to support professional, graduate-level leadership education through individualized experiential learning — is already impacting Jenkins MBA students in a big way.

“The series reshaped my leadership experience and vision, and it gave me skills that I can continue to apply throughout my career,” said Nick Ramirez, a project manager for a Raleigh engineering firm and an MBA student at NC State.

Ramirez and 21 fellow MBA students made up the inaugural cohort of McLauchlan Leadership Fellows participating in the donor-supported series’ three two-day sessions last spring. The sessions — led primarily by NC State faculty — dealt with personal, team and organizational leadership.

“It was extremely impactful for the fellows,” said Leigh Shamblin, the faculty member who directs the McLauchlan Leadership Series. “Not only did they build their leadership skills, they developed a new network, and they liked the personal coaching and the fact that they got to work on a personal leadership challenge. It’s a very developmental experience for them.”

Russ and Cara McLauchlan are funding the program through a generous gift. Longtime friends and supporters of NC State, the McLauchlans meet with the fellows at the beginning and end of the series.  

“Because the fellows get so much individual attention, it’s a real opportunity for them to focus on who they are now and who they want to be in their life and career before they graduate,” Shamblin said.

“It’s a great program, and we’re so grateful to the McLauchlans. We appreciate their generosity and their faith in us.” — Leigh Shamblin

Application for the McLauchlan Leadership Series is open to all Jenkins MBA students — full time, professional evening and professional online. Students interested in participating apply in the fall for the series to be held the following spring.

The series does not provide academic credit, but fellows receive a leadership certificate issued by the Jenkins Graduate School of Management and are encouraged to include their participation on résumés.  

Developing leadership skills is a key component of the Jenkins MBA program, Shamblin said.

“We’re trying to make sure that every MBA gets some level of leadership education and experience in the program,” she said. “But the McLauchlan Leadership Series is the pinnacle for us. It’s our premier leadership experience.”

Although the series is open to only a small number of students per year, all MBA students benefit indirectly, according to Shamblin. That’s because the series provides an opportunity to test curricula that will be pushed out to all MBA students.

Ramirez said his time in the MBA program — including experiences with the McLauchlan Leadership Series and the entrepreneurship clinic — has been rewarding. He also found support for his dream of launching a startup, which allowed him to create TrackEdInc.com with a Jenkins MBA classmate.

“NC State has given me the tools I need to remain competitive in the business world,” Ramirez said.