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Preparing students to become global business leaders

Richard Cosier teaches his Leadership SeminarKrannert prides itself on preparing the next generation of global business leaders, and Richard Cosier’s class in Leadership and Organizational Change is one of the ways we do it.

The leadership seminar for juniors and seniors is a piece of the Launching Business Leaders (LBL) initiative, which expands students’ professional, career and leadership skills.

“The whole course relates to LBL,” says Cosier, Krannert dean emeritus and Leeds Professor of Management. “When the students are finished with the class they should be able to assume leadership roles and be effective leaders, and I think that is what the LBL program is trying to accomplish as well.”

One of the course objectives is to foster excitement and interest in effective leadership. Professor Cosier says Krannert students receive a great education at Purdue. “I think it is incumbent on them to assume the role of leaders.”

Ashton Fischer, a 2013 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in management, says there are many things she will be able to apply from this course to her career. “Professor Cosier gave us so many tools that are easily adaptable to many types of organizations and I am grateful for that. Having said that, something I know I will use in my career to further my success as a leader is to remember the organizational cycles model he taught us.”

“Realizing that organizations go through various phases, it is critical to recognize them and do what is necessary for the company to survive. Also, having a clear vision of where I can lead the organization, and how to get there is something I will strive to do throughout my career.”

Professor Cosier says, “Effective leaders influence other people to attain goals that are valued by the organization. The key here is having a positive influence on people. The theme that runs throughout the course is being a servant leader, which means you are there to help other people achieve goals.”

The students role-play to learn about conflict negotiations, study models of how organizations change over time, and review a variety of leaders to see how organizations function with effective versus ineffective leadership.

“We have great students here at Krannert,” Professor Cosier says” I really like the opportunity as a senior professor to be with these students in a modest size class, 15-25 students. It affords an opportunity for really rich discussion.”

Ashton found the discussion, and the class as a whole to be rewarding. “I think about leadership in a completely new light after having taken this course. I realize now that being a leader takes an immense amount of courage and commitment. Being a leader isn't just taking on the most work or being good at delegating, it's really about the connection you can make with people and how you can help THEM be successful.”