Preparing future leaders at the Advance Leadership Programme 2019

The Advanced Leadership workshop prepares doctoral candidates to qualify for key positions within industry, government or non-profit organizations. The participants worked on their leadership competences and skills and got an introduction to leadership in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. What about their experience?

This one-week joint workshop organised by TU Delft and Politecnico di Milano took place in Lecco- Italy the past 25thof March. 25 highly motivated PhD students (3rdand 4thyear) from these universities participated together with experts, lecturers and trainers; Giovanni Azzone, Paolo Biscari, Hans de Bruijn, Rosseta Drenth, Pieter Lightart, Maddy Peters, Roberto Verganti and Peter Wieringa. 

The key topics of this event were focused on: 

  1. Leadership in an interconnected world – strategies of leaders in change processes
  2. Leadership and communication – framing and pitching
  3. Leadership: what it means to you, career paths and required competences
  4. Cases and experiences

In this article 2 PhD students from TU Delft shared with us their experience.

Paul Denissen (Faculty of Aerospace Engineering) 

What was your overall impression of the Advanced Leadership workshop?

At the beginning it was difficult to imagine what the workshop would be about due to its different setup, compared to other graduate school courses. As an overall impression, I think it gives us a very nice toolbox for developing different skills that you normally don’t see during your PhD and can be very helpful. 

What did you appreciate?

The parts on communication skills by Rosetta really struck me, because it was totally unexpected and different. The change of the mindset between the straightforward problem-solving approach that you have in your PhD process and the skills of problem solving as a leader. How to show confidence, how to work and communicate with your peers and negotiation techniques. 

This actually motivated me to share ideas with my colleagues.

What did you learn?

The workshop was a nice combination between lectures and practical activities. Besides the theoretical part there was a lot of hands-on experience shared by the lecturers, specifically giving us insights on the different ways to handle complex situations. 

Did the course programme meet your expectations?

In general, yes! I learned new skills that were not expected. It was nice to work in multicultural groups and see the different perspectives on how to deal with problems and communicate in different ways. 

Phil Brown (Faculty of Industrial Design)

What was your motivation to take part?

I had my own agenda that was specifically related to my PhD research and the opportunity to engage with negotiation skills. During the workshop, I realised I shouldn’t have had such an agenda; this would have allowed me to be more open to the different aspects that we experienced in the course.

This kind of courses helps building up a narrative that at the end could be applied to my PhD and professional life. 

What did you appreciate?

Half of the value of the workshop was the training and development of specific skills and the other half is in the people and experience you make there.

The return back is much higher than a normal graduate school course, not only from a content point of view and the network of people you build up, but the experience of going out and leaving your PhD on stand by for a week opens the perspective of what we are doing and allows to engage fully in the skills to develop. 

What about the social aspect of the workshop? 

The social activities such as 5K run, meditation session and various dinners were really good. On the other hand, the fact that we were all in the same space and sharing the rooms meant that the socialising went very well. It was a professional network development, were socialising was focused on conversations and reflections on what we are doing within our research, as well as our experiences from the workshop.

Would you recommend it to your peers? 

Yes, I would recommend it to my peers. If it’s your first time or if you already have experience but you want to refresh and get more advance. I think more and more PhD candidates would appreciate these kinds of courses that offers the possibility to go abroad and go further into the development of new skills. 

More information?  Contact the Graduate School graduateschool@tudelft.nl