One of the main tasks for the AAS Leadership Committee is to organize and run the Early Career Development Course. This course is intended as an introduction to an academic career for junior faculty and graduating residents/fellows. This course was well attended and continues to grow each year. As this year’s course is now completed, I can’t help but reflect on the impact of such courses have had on my career.
I have previously attended the Mid-Career Academic Surgery Professional Development Course (sponsored by SUS) held prior to the start of the Academic Surgical Congress. This course is a full-day course, highly interactive course focused on the development of leadership skills and a guide for progression for potential leaders in academic surgery. This course introduced many different aspects of leadership and opened my eyes to all of the things that I did not know. Striving for more knowledge in this area, I also completed the SUS Leadership Agility Program. This Executive Leadership Course was held at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and was a multi-day course. This course was again, highly interactive and touched on a variety of topics- almost a mini MBA. Completing these two courses help me decided and gave me the confidence to pursue an Executive MBA. In fact, I am currently in the middle of my first quarter of my Executive MBA program at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. Just within the first month, I have been exposed to a completely different skill set. As an example, I include a link from one of our professors at Anderson, John Ullmen on Executive Leadership- http://www.lynda.com/Business-Business-Skills-tutorials/Executive-Leadership-Fundamentals/167027-2.html. I believe this skill set as highly applicable to leadership in academic surgery.
Although I do not know where my path will lead once I complete my Executive MBA nor can I say that one requires an MBA at all, I can definitively say that these programs sponsored by the AAS and SUS provided an opportunity to explore options that I never imagined. I only wish that the AAS Early Career Development Course existed when I was a resident (I’m dating myself) so that I would have had a better idea of the potential opportunities available to young surgeons. I highly encourage you to attend one of these courses or support your colleague in doing so.