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by Jenny Johnson, Assistant Director of Career Services
As a student, Paul Menson, MEMP ’12, was unsure of what he wanted to do professionally. He was sure that he wanted the opportunity to contribute in his work and be developed by his company. With this goal, Leadership Development Programs (LDPs) were a natural fit and immediately caught his attention when he entered the Master of Engineering Management Program at Duke.
Leadership Development Programs are “growth systems that are full of support and opportunity for students” according to Menson. After completing the MEM program in May 2012, Paul joined the Siemens Energy Graduate Program-Business Development LDP. In September 2013, he returned to Duke to share his experiences, which have included domestic and international rotations, with current undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing LDPs.
“LDPs want professionals who can add benefit as quickly as possible in a rotation and can develop an understanding of the different cultures of the company. They are seeking the type of person who will say ‘I don’t know, but I will find out.’” One such way that Paul has demonstrated this trait is knowing which questions to ask, and often asking the question, “what don’t I know to ask about __________?” He states that it is one of his favorite tools for learning more about people and also topics within a rotation.
Probably need to add something more here as a connector.
Continue reading to learn more about Paul’s thoughts on key aspects to consider when applying for leadership development programs and how to excel once in these programs.
Characteristics LDPs are Seeking in Candidates:
- Quick Learner
- People person
What to Look For in an LDP:
- Stability: Does the LDP provide a dedicated mentor who is available to you?
- Rotations longer than 6 months: You can actively contribute to a company after you have been there 6 months and you want to be in a rotation longer so you can put your work into practice.
- Putting on the “Ritz”: Does the company provide opportunities for you to expand your network?
What LDPs Want from Hires in Their Program–Think About The Stakeholders:
- Contributing high potential talent (supervisors)
- To grow and develop a person (mentor/manager)
- A productive talent to keep long-term at the company (company overall)
Tips for Over Performing in an LDP
- Learn the art of conversation: Small talk is very important and a good way to begin a conversation with others in your company. Find something you have in common. Perhaps it is the company’s travel policy, or the latest product that has been released.
- Effectively prepare for meetings: (a) have a reason that you are asking for a meeting and make sure it is apparent; (b) identify a key question that you need to answer; (c) be aware of self-image (how you dress, talk, are perceived, etc).
- Networking: Talk to speakers, colleagues, etc. Don’t try to have a marathon conversation, but always try to talk to someone new.