Key lessons learned from doing this exercise?

In July I started a new chapter of my life. I quit my job in Norway and moved to Singapore to pursue my MBA with the Nanyang Technological University.

The MBA is an intensive 1 year program spread over three trimesters. I’m being taught by world class faculty and I am learning from a class of rich diversity, with 16 different nationalities, from different functions and industry backgrounds. Every week is packed with modules leaving no room for much else but school.

We started the program with a 6 week course about leadership and how to lead people globally. For every lesson we have been debating real life cases on leadership from around the world, and the course have been truly rewarding. As part of my final assessment I was asked to write a report about my own personal development as a leader and to reflect over the lessons learned in class, applying some of the tools and methods we had been experimenting with.

The final question of the assessment was to identify the lessons learned from doing that particular exercise. With this entry, I would like to share my answer with you.

Questions answer as part of the assessment:

  • Identify your personal profile and key developmental experiences thus far in your life.
  • What were the key lessons you drew from the readings that were personally meaningful to you. How do you integrate the lessons from the readings?
  • What are your personal and career goals?
  • Leadership Philosophy: How would you describe your perspective on what leaders should do?
  • What are your key leadership strengths? What do these strengths deliver for you? Are there any downsides with these?
  • What are the key leadership development needs that you have identified for yourself? Why are these the key needs?

What were the key lessons you learned from doing this exercise?

At first when approaching an exercise like this, it is a little hard to figure out where to start. It would be logical to start with the first question and work your way through the paper, however, you quickly realize that meaningful thoughts and moments of clarity, doesn’t necessarily fit into the chronological order of the assessment. Personally I jumped straight to the goals section, believing that it would be easy and get me started. However, it became very clear to me that I wasn’t confident in stating a set of goals that I would pursue for the next years to come. Realizing that really sat my mind sparkling, because it forced me to reflect over my own personal experiences from my childhood till today.

In the classroom we have worked with a number of tools to identify ones personality type. The classroom experience has been great, however, when asked to put the lessons in writing, you are forced to reflect on your own results. As John Dewey said it “We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” And that was exactly the feeling I had after completing this assessment. I forced myself to reflect over the topics and tools covered in class and I had this feeling of actually learning. I wasn’t learning quantum mechanics. I was simply getting to know myself better.

Reaching the final parts of the paper, I started to see this pattern of the lessons learned lining up on this invisible dotted line. Suddenly it appeared obvious that I could relate the leadership lessons learned at LEGO, to my own personal development growth. I could connect Argyris; Teaching Smart People How to learn, with the theory of Liz Wiseman on Rookie Smarts. And this would support my results from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. With other words. What previously appeared to be individual lessons, now seemed to come together as one.

I would like to thank Professor Patrick Gibbons, visiting faculty of the Nanyang Business School, for an inspiring 6 weeks on strategic management and leadership. It has been an enriching experience that has allowed for self-reflection and self-development.


Graduate of the Year 2012

Shaking hands with University Director Michael Goodsite

I was awarded the prominent price of Graduate of the Year 2012 at Aarhus University Herning.

The price is awarded to a student who has had significant impact on the study environment at Aarhus University and I was awarded Graduate of the Year 2012 for my work with the Thought Leader Series.

At the graduation ceremony Friday the 29th of June, everything was just as any graduation ceremony should be. There were speeches from directors, students and a long process of diplomas being handed to all the proud and happy graduates. I was among the graduates and together with all my friends; I enjoyed receiving my second diploma in a week.

The last entry on the scheduled ceremony program was presentation of awards. A total of 10 students received prices all for their great results on their bachelor thesis. The very last price awarded was the price of Graduate of the Year 2012. I had absolutely no idea that I was a candidate to receive the price, and as the University Director Michael Goodsite was reading out loud the argumentation for awarding this year’s price, I was still in great doubt. However, my friends around me didn’t seem to doubt that much and a lot of turning heads and pokes from those within reach became a reality.

Being awarded the price among so many great students is an honour and I was truly happy and a bit proud to be the one shaking the hands of the University Director. The price symbolised the ending of a great three years of my life and it feels good looking back knowing that I made a significant impact that was recognised and appreciated by the university and the management.

Hug with Study Director Inger Hauge
Hug with Study Director Inger Hauge

The following speech was read out loud by Center Director Michael E. Goodsite at the ceremony:

” The student, who are to receive the award ”Graduate of the Year”, has contributed to the value of Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences, AU Herning in the best possible way. The student has taken a rare and original initiative to bring to AU Herning the experience and actions of real life companies. The initiative has made a difference for all students at AU Herning without exception. The student has in his spare time, next to his daily studies, and without any compensation, managed to arrange for a series of presentations, where CEOs with a nerve and thought have shared their story. Egetaepper, JBS, EG, Rationel, and MCH are just a few of the mid and western Jutlandic companies which have been represented in the “Thought-Leader Series”. The Students activities greatly support our strategic value ‘closeness to the Business Community’. The Student has also participated in our Buddy program to assist exchange student settle at AU Herning. The student is rich on initiative and a very responsible person. We have seen that this student has gone through an impressive personal development through his student life here at AU Herning – this is a flower that has been nourished by his study and social activities – and who is now UNIQ and ready to take new challenges. It is with pleasure we present the award to HAim graduate: Michael Alexander Hold. ,,

Read the article about the graduation ceremony at Aarhus University Herning from the regional newspaper here (Danish)

Find the news entry from the university here.

Graduated Double Degree

Alexander Hold Graduation USC 2012

On June 29th 2012 I graduated from Aarhus University Herning as Bachelor of Business Administration. The week prior on June 22nd 2012 I graduated from University of the Sunshine Coast as Bachelor of Business.

I have earned the double degree for an excessive work effort and I have attended additional classes to receive sufficient ECTS points to finish the two degrees in the time frame of 3 years.

I spend the last year for completion of the double degree program at University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia. This experience presented me with challenges of international scale, cooperating, living and studying in a multicultural society. I am glad and proud to have finished the program and would take any other opportunity presented to me, to go abroad again.