Extracurricular Opportunities Provided by the Miami Herbert Business School

October 23, 2020

Margarita Sinko discusses some of the benefits she has received as a student at the Miami Herbert Business School.

As I contemplated writing about the ways in which I have benefited from attending the Miami Herbert Business School, I concluded that it was important to avoid the stereotypical approach of focusing exclusively on academics. My preference is to take a more holistic approach to education, while acknowledging the irrevocable importance of academic excellence. From this holistic perspective, it is important to focus on the entire educational environment. Put differently, the overall success of students requires that they exist in an environment that caters to their diverse and complex interests. While the formal classroom environment is important, so is the external environment.

High standards of professional excellence and integrity have assured the hiring of appropriately qualified faculty at the Miami Herbert Business School. Since there is great educational and professional parity among similarly situated universities, a university must find unique ways to distinguish itself from other institutions. What I propose to do in this brief article is to focus on the kinds of activities traditionally considered as peripheral to the core academic curriculum. I think that the action outside the formal classroom can be as significant as what takes place within the walls of the classroom.

First, what I have found to be immensely meaningful is having the opportunity to hear from some of the most important leaders of business and public policy. There are three lecture series that I have enjoyed greatly. They are the Miami Herbert Business School’s Southern Glazer’s Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series; Miami Herbert Business School’s Knight Venture Leaders Lecture Series; and Miami Herbert Business School’s Cobb Leadership Lecture Series. These outstanding lecture series provide students with the opportunity to learn from exceptional business and policy leaders about how to deal with adversity, leadership in times of crisis, failure, etc., in a very meaningful and intimate way that cannot be replicated in a formal classroom setting. The opportunity to participate in a virtual lecture where someone such as Eric Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom Video Communications, discusses his views on leadership is invaluable. The point that I am endeavoring to make is how much I appreciated the opportunity to learn about the practical and experiential aspects of leadership, public policy, and business from the diverse guest speakers who participate in the supplemental activities sponsored by the Miami Herbert Business School. Again, I think that the Miami mystique helps to lure these individuals to our school.

In addition to having exposure to the amazing business leaders and CEO’s of major corporations, I have also been equally appreciative of the opportunities to gain insights into the practical side of things. In this context, I am referring to the chance to develop and cultivate the important interpersonal skills that are undeniably important for professional success. I have benefited from developing social knowledge — also known as “people skills” — concerning how one should appropriately employ the array of protocols that govern business etiquette. Also, informal knowledge about networking, meaning learning about the challenges involved with forming and maintaining significant contacts. One of my most memorable experiences has to do with what I learned from Dr. Shalom Saada Saar. With regard to future professional and personal success, I found a quote by Dr. Saar to be particularly insightful and a quote that speaks to the idea of the importance of what takes place outside the classroom. I gained great insight from Dr. Saar’s statement, “Be both soft and strong.” I interpret this as meaning that one should be able to combine both being compassionate, sympathetic, and empathetic, on the one hand, and being firm, decisive and resilient, on the other hand. The statement embodies much practical wisdom, the type of information that requires a context of interpersonal interaction for it to be fully appreciated.

Clearly, it is important to acknowledge that it has been possible for me to benefit from attending the Miami Herbert Business School because of Dean Quelch’s visionary leadership. He deserves much credit for appreciating the importance of the educational environment outside the classroom. His acting on this conviction has rendered the environment at the Miami Herbert Business School developmentally ideal for students. 

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