Andrew Walters, BSM ’13
President, School of Management Council

What are the primary goals of SMC and your responsibilities as president?

My first responsibility as SMC president is to do my best to represent the undergraduate student body and connect the students with staff and faculty. I never could have succeeded in this role without the support of the whole council. I was fortunate to be surrounded by many incredible individuals.

What do you consider your most significant accomplishment in this role?

With the assistance of school administrators, SMC helped develop the Krannert Leadership Development Program, which will begin in Fall 2013 with a one-credit hour class for upperclassmen who will be mentoring incoming direct admit students.

This program will help bridge the gap between the classroom and extracurricular activities by facilitating mentorship, teamwork and leadership. It will provide a unique opportunity for upperclassmen to mentor and help guide incoming direct admit students. Each student will be carefully matched with a mentor based on recommendations, scholarship, leadership potential and essay responses. Students will have the chance to learn from their peers in a social and relaxed setting, creating bonds and friendships that will extend into the classroom and beyond.

What other leadership roles or experiences have you had at Purdue or in your community?

Beyond the School of Management Council, I have been fortunate enough to represent Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics as the University’s informal mascot, Purdue Pete. I also have been involved in campus organizations such as Mortar Board, Old Masters, Boiler Gold Rush, Purdue Student Government, Business Professionals of America and the Student Organization Grant Allocation Board. Additionally, I am proud founding member of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity.

What are the most important lessons you’ve drawn from such experiences?

These experiences have truly made my college career. I have learned so much more outside the classroom that inside it and been fortunate to be surrounded by people who have inspired me to better myself. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that what I do is not about the work, but about the people involved.

I have tried to take this attitude into my professional career as well. I have accepted a position beginning in June with the Orr Fellowship and will be working for Interactive Intelligence. The program is unique because I will have the opportunity to network with other students like myself while still growing professionally.

Why is leadership development important both academically and professionally?

To me, the most important parts of leadership development are training and mentorship. Those who have experience must take the time to guide and assist those who may just be starting. I am so thankful for the leaders who came before me in the School of Management Council. These individuals set an excellent standard, and my hope is that I also have been able to positively influence those younger than myself during my time at Purdue.

How has Krannert helped you develop your leadership skills both in and out of the classroom?

Beyond the organizations I have been a part of, I have had the opportunity to complete internships with the Indianapolis Colts, the Nielsen Company, Lids Sports Group, and Stuart & Branigin LLP. These experiences were crucial in helping me apply what I have learned in the classroom.

I have also had the opportunity to compete in numerous case competitions. Most recently, three teammates and I competed in the international Rubicon Contest in Germany, where we took home first prize and proudly represented Purdue and the United States. These experiences helped round out my overall education. I now understand the material I learned in class much better because I have applied it in real situations.

Whom do you most admire as a leader and why?

When I think of outstanding leadership characteristics I do not think about titles or a job description, but rather about the character of the individual with a specific job title or description. Great leaders often lead by example and do not always know the impact they are having on others. Someone that I have looked up to throughout my undergraduate career in Krannert is my advisor, Debbi Bearden. During all our interactions, she has been positive and focused on the current opportunity, task, or situation at hand. Debbi leads with a positive attitude and a smile on her face. She is truly an inspiration to be around.