Before getting into the business world, college students should develop certain leadership skills, including a sense of responsibility and effective communication skills. At Jesselton College, students have many opportunities to develop a sense of responsibility, for example, by doing group projects and engaging in such extracurricular activities as sports and community service. As for effective communication, college life offers countless opportunities for students to interact with others, from other students to campus administrators to leaders of other groups, which in turn encourage them to improve their networking skills.

Further, problem-solving acumen and persuasive ability are another two leadership attributes that can be developed while still in college. At Jesselton College, the responsibilities of satisfying the requirements of various subjects, coping with personal obligations and effectively performing their role as project leader encourage students to strengthen their problem-solving skills while enhancing their multitasking ability before they enter the professional world. Besides problem-solving, the ability to persuade a group about its goals and purpose is something that students can develop on campus. Jesselton College encourages students to assume leadership roles so that they can have the opportunity to persuasively speak in front of different groups that in turn builds the poise and self-assurance that they will need as leaders in the corporate world.

Leaders must have the ability to manage a group, including overseeing operational procedures, devising budgets and setting priorities. Once enrolled in Jesselton College, students will develop management skills in various ways, for instance, by running a student representative council that simultaneously allows them to learn from mistakes in a collegiate environment. Additionally, by assuming leadership roles, students are often required to intervene and manage unfamiliar or challenging tasks; for example, they might have to perform accounting functions for their group or brainstorm creative ideas to promote their club. While it can be stressful for some students to assume a leadership role, it can be very rewarding for them to discover their hidden talents that they can apply in their professional future.

Furthermore, collegiate leadership experience enables graduates to present a more attractive resume to their potential employers, something more substantial than just an academic scroll. Since many companies often look for people who can assume leadership positions in future, graduates who can demonstrate that they have already acquired certain leadership skills at college will create a more positive impression during job interviews.

Besides management skills, the art of negotiation is a leadership skill that can be developed while at college. At Jesselton College, students are required to take on projects that involve individual collaboration that encourages them to prioritize different issues as well as to strike some sort of compromise. Moreover, many class projects aim to promote cooperative learning and conflict resolution that can further enhance students’ ability to negotiate within a group. Further, students who intend to become a leader in the professional world should know how to handle being a known face, someone whom others trust and will approach to solve various problems. In short, by being a leader at college allows students to condition themselves to the pressures of being at the top while subsequently becoming better prepared for real-life challenges.

Creative Leadership Camp at Jesselton College Sabah

This year, Jesselton College Sabah held its annual Creative Leadership Camp (CLC) at Beringgis Beach Resort, Papar from March 24 to 26. There were 20 participants and they comprised Leisure & Tourism Management, Bachelor of Business Administration and Foundation in Business students. The main objectives of the CLC were to develop leadership potential, enrich personalities, foster citizenship awareness and instill a desire to build a better society.

Team-building activities that were carried out at the CLC included ‘Rescue the Princess’ that encouraged participants to overcome obstacles through creative problem-solving and ‘Amazing Race’ that aimed to promote collaboration and coordination among team members. Finally, the ‘Ping-pong Activity’ aimed to promote socialization and cooperation among team members.

Besides team-building activities, the ‘Bootcamp and Pitch Activity’ applied the Innovation Funnel that encouraged participants to create a smart prototype to be promoted to the real world. The first step was idea generation whereby participants were required to list as many ideas as possible. The second step involved idea selection whereby participants had to screen all the ideas by performing an assessment of returns and risks to select the best idea, while the third step required participants to use limited resources to create a prototype of the chosen idea. The final step required participants to promote their prototype by presenting it to a real-life audience.

The ‘Bootcamp and Pitch Activity’ taught participants to utilize different sources of information to gain insight into potential customers, markets and customers’ needs. It also encouraged them to produce a product or service to be tested with a real audience. In brief, participants learned how to select the best idea – one that must be in line with their team’s objective as well as to allocate limited resources to the most promising and attractive ideas.

Besides team-building and leadership activities, participants attended a lecture on leadership in team-building that emphasized the power of teamwork and its benefits. Overall, participants learned that teamwork in business could foster creativity and learning, blend complementary strengths, build trust and teach conflict resolution skills.

Finally, participants attended a workshop conducted by the Toastmasters’ Club of Kota Kinabalu that emphasized the essentials of public speaking whereby speakers should rehearse and prepare well, know their audience, organize their material effectively to attain their purpose, watch for feedback and adapt to it and keep their focus on the audience. The workshop also emphasized that speakers should let their personality come through, use effective language, grab attention at the beginning and close with a dynamic end.

Participants’ feedback

CLC participant Vivian Tang elaborated, ‘CLC teaches important life skills, such as introspection, cultural sensitivity, moral acuity, people skills and decision-making acumen. As a college student, I need the skills, knowledge and qualities that CLC inculcates, such as self-reliance, creativity, conflict-resolution and team-building skills. I may not become a leader as soon as I graduate, but I will have the skills to manage and thrive in the global economy.’

‘My group’s prototype is known as Potato Plug; it is an innovative charger that uses solar energy and it can be used to charge a smartphone or laptop anywhere as it is wireless and highly portable. It also contains a Bluetooth that allows user-sharing; it is particularly handy as people can use it to charge their gadgets at the same time, in an office, at the airport or even in a jungle or desert. Our product meets the triple bottom line as it is economically viable, environmentally safe and socially responsible. It is therefore a useful product for almost everybody,’ Tang concluded.

Another CLC participant, Simon Yong said, ‘Creative leadership focuses on in-demand skills forged by the digital economy. Change in the business world is fast and unpredictable, so corporate leaders must be able to inspire, cultivate and implement innovative solutions that can redefine their organization and create meaningful change. CLC at Jesselton College instils the leadership skills graduates can put in their resume, including cooperative negotiations, information reporting and presentation and technological innovation. It is particularly useful for graduates who are applying for such positions as client relationship associate, marketing analytics manager, relationship manager and demand generation manager.’

‘Our group’s prototype was known as the ‘Mighty Crusher’ that can be used to crush kitchen garbage and other organic matter into blocks. It uses bio-fuel to run, so it is ecofriendly and affordable. Further, it is very useful for environmentally-conscious people who wish to practise organic gardening and those who work in hotel or restaurant kitchens,’ Yong concluded.

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