Building Leadership and Teamwork Skills at Golden Gate University

Jatin Jaiswal (MBA, Marketing Concentration ’17) made his way from India to Golden Gate University in part to take advantage of San Francisco’s innovative technology environment. He landed an internship at a local start-up called FinTech School where he applies skills he picked up at GGU such as SEO, email marketing, and social media. But he says a big part of his education has been learning how to collaborate with people with different backgrounds and personalities.

“The team exercises in my Team Dynamics and Managerial Analysis class were transformational for me, and I could see other people change too,” he says. The class was taught by Heather Cowan, who has held senior positions at Genentech and Autodesk where she currently serves as ‎Director of Learning and Organization Development. The students were assigned to groups of six with a balance of personality styles as measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Each group had to work through a project starting with an informal kickoff meeting and ending with a group decision on a single course of action.

Jaiswal had his turn to lead the group during the project. “As a leader, you have to get the conversation started and keep it going. For example, you have to watch people that are introverted and bring them into the dynamic and be aware of their tendency to be agreeable. You learn to see the other side of a conversation and find out if there is something blocking progress—and then unblock it! I handle situations differently after taking the class. I take more time to think about what I am doing and understand my colleagues better.”

“The class was transformational for me, and I could see other people change too.”

As for the future, Jaiswal sees a huge opportunity presented by the San Francisco Bay Area tech environment for providing specialized consulting services to companies. “My business partner is from the Ukraine, and his culture is different, but we are working together towards a common goal.”

Jaiswal on Networking in San Francisco

“Steve Jobs said that people are there to help you and all you have to do is ask. In San Francisco, I had coffee with people from Salesforce just by writing them through LinkedIn.  You may not get a job, but it leads to the next thing. San Francisco is a very welcoming city, and you have access to all kinds of companies like Microsoft, Uber, and Tesla.”

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