Stuart School of Business sends two delegates to Global Leadership Summit in Orlando

Fri, 2017/11/10
Ethan Castro

            Two students from the Stuart School of Business were granted the opportunity to attend the 2017 Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) Global Leadership Summit held in Orlando, Florida, from Thursday, November 2 to Sunday, November 5. Third-year co-terminal students Ethan Castro (studying for a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Public Administration) and Madina Tahmas (studying for a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Finance) were both selected by the Stuart School of Business to represent Illinois Tech at this conference of over 300 students from dozens of universities across the world. Each of these students were members of BGS, an international business honor society that selects its members from the top percentages of their individual classes.

            The summit itself consisted of numerous industry professional speakers and panelists, all revolving their discussions around the tagline of “revolutionary learning.” As BGS CEO Christina Carosella expressed during her opening remarks, the end goal of the conference was to imbue each participant with a “defining moment” that, when retrospect, would help shape the development of every member’s leadership and business career. She made it clear that the conference was about “YOUR experience,” and, while every student comes from a different background and has a different future in store, the shared experiences and connections at this event would help shape all students present into becoming the world’s next leaders and innovators. As BGS members, these students are members of an organization with a very strong legacy of notable names among its members, including former Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England, Executive Vice President of Home Depot Ann-Marie Campbell, 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Gerek Meinhardt, and inventor of Pokémon Go John Hanke. Despite this tall legacy, the coordinators and speakers at the conference still managed to imbue all of the young students present with a sense of agency -- that these students could all be just as successful and have just as large of an impact on the world.

            The variety of professional speakers at the event all contributed their own brands of leadership for the conference attendees to consider as they shape their own leadership journeys. Some of the more prominent themes included living life with a tolerance for failures and acceptance of personal flaws, the value in having professional and personal mentors, prioritizing ethics, the alignment of one’s values with one’s work environment, finding and pursuing personal passions, and being able to adapt to life’s uncertainties. Perhaps the most prevalent topic was this last one; being uncertain in one’s career, as frightening as it might be with student loans and economic pressures on the line, seems to be a fact of life for many. Many of the speakers discussed the unconventional nature of their careers and bestowed the conference attendees with the assurance that as long as they take advantage of the internal talents and external resources available to them, everything would work out in the end.

            The final two days of the conference consisted of a team case competition, where the students were split into random teams of eight and assigned a case to create a presentation on, all in under five hours. The topics of these presentations were all relevant to the emerging new economy, including hot topics such as blockchain and the Internet of Things. One of Illinois Tech’s students, Ethan Castro, was part of the team that won the overall case competition, going on to present their presentation to the entire conference. Castro and his team were recognized on stage as the conference’s overall winners, having done his part to represent the Stuart School of Business with competence and integrity.

            Both Castro and Tahmas returned from the conference to the (much colder) city of Chicago with a newfound sense of inspiration to pursue their professional and personal dreams, as well as valuable lifetime connections and lessons. “I really enjoyed meeting so many people that I can share my interest and passion with,” Tahmas said. “Overall, I’ve learned a lot about the industry that I’m planning to enter and pursue my career in!” With a conference case competition win under his belt, Castro is also returning to the end of this academic semester with a newfound sense of conviction in his future aspirations. "Maybe the real global leadership," Castro wondered, "was the friendships I made along the way." Both students wish to express their utmost gratitude to both BGS and the Stuart School of Business for this life-affirming opportunity.