Professor Guest Blogger: ‘Leading’ Edge in under 60 Seconds

What is leadership studies?  What do you do with a leadership studies degree?

These are questions that are regularly posed to students and alumni of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies. But how do you craft a compelling response to these questions for the ‘sound byte’ world in which we live?

Given that alumni have been responding to these questions for several years, what could be better than Jepson alumni sharing their strategies for crafting a concise message or ‘elevator pitch.’

Applying her professional experience with Unboxed Technology, Kate Materna Rezabek (Jepson ’02) collaborated with Jepson senior Dani Camous, who interned with Unboxed Technology this past summer, to create a “Jepson Elevator Pitch” series that debuted in September.  Over the course of two sessions, students considered how they would address these questions, developed concise responses, and honed/practiced their ‘pitch’ on video, with peers, and with Jepson alumni.

‘Pitch’ Tips for All

Whether you’re standing in an elevator (thus the name), networking at a reception or dinner, or completing a formal interview – the ability to succinctly capture, in 60 seconds or less, one’s field of study and the way in it which it has prepared one to work in particular fields/industries is essential.  Once you’ve developed a basic ‘pitch’ you can then tweak and tailor it for different audiences and settings.

Things to consider when crafting your pitch:

  • How would you describe your field of study, including key concepts, competencies developed, etc.?
  • What concepts, competencies, etc. from your field of study are particularly relevant for the internship/job you’re applying for, the individual you’re speaking with, etc.?
  • How can you make an impact for a particular organization/in a particular role based on your studies and experience?

The benefit of the ‘Jepson Elevator Pitch’ series was that students got to brainstorm with other Jepson students as they considered the above.  They also had the good fortune to have Jepson alumni share their pitches – in a handout and via video – as they began to develop their pitch.  But most importantly, Jepson students got to watch a taped version of their pitch and the chance to practice it and get feedback from alumni.  So identify a group of peers who can work with you as you start to formulate your pitch, take advantage of the technological resources available at the Speech Center and Career Services, and identify opportunities to practice your pitch – at networking and etiquette events – where you can get feedback.

The credit for this blog entry goes to:

Kerstin M. Soderlund, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Student and External Affairs
Jepson School of Leadership Studies


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