Leaders attend retreat at Pretty Lake, Michigan

Author: Darcy Dehais

Leadership Retreat

Photos by Matt Cashore

On August 18 and 19, Notre Dame Institute for Global Investing’s Investment Management Leaders attended an overnight retreat at Pretty Lake in Mattawan, Mich., where they participated in team building activities including a high ropes course.

The students began the retreat with ice-breaker team activities and also broke up into smaller groups to focus on fostering both verbal and physical communication skills. Junior Liam Bryson said he sharpened his leadership abilities over the weekend.

“I am a better communicator and leader after the retreat,” Bryson said. “I developed skills to communicate not just verbally and not just in a commanding way. I learned a lot about how being the leader, you don’t need to be the one talking. You can be just as much of a leader if you understand when you should be listening and when is the best time to let whoever has the best idea step forward.”

Junior Bernie Grant agreed, saying that at Pretty Lake she discovered the importance of listening to others and being collaborative in the investing field.

“I think a big emphasis on the retreat was learning how to determine when to lead and when to follow, and identifying the right opportunities to step up for your team,” Grant said.

Following a group lunch, the students participated in a high ropes course with a partner. Towering 30 feet in the air, they climbed around on ropes and walked across shaky platforms, learning to rely on each other in a high-pressure situation.

“With the high ropes course, I learned to put my faith in someone I didn’t really know,” Bryson said. “We were able to work together to accomplish the goal of not falling off the high ropes, which has some serious consequences if you can’t trust the person.”

To close the day, the students attended a casual campfire where they had the opportunity to relax and talk with each other. They discussed their summer experiences as well as future career goals. Bryson said hearing about other students’ plans helped him to learn about fields he hasn’t experienced himself.

“I’m still trying to receive exposure to all the different classes that you can invest through,” Bryson said. “There were people coming from hedge funds, venture capital, and investment banking. Hearing about their experiences has been really helpful for me because I’m still trying to develop a better understanding of some fields. It was eye-opening to have people from different summer experiences and different interests come together to talk about why they’re passionate about those fields.”

NDIGI director Kevin Burke said one of the targeted learning experiences on the retreat was having the students discover more about their own strengths and weaknesses.

“One of our goals during the retreat was teaching our students how to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses,” Burke said. “At times they were surprised at what they were successful at and what needed improvement, but pairing up with others who had different strengths and weaknesses helped them to learn more about themselves and how to best work as a team. These teamwork skills will be very valuable to our students in their futures.”

Grant said the most valuable thing to come out of her experience as an NDIGI Investment Management Leader thus far has been the connections she has made with people important to shaping her future.

“One great thing that has come out of [NDIGI] is relationships, whether that be with the other people in the program, with Kevin Burke, NDIGI’s managing director, or with a mentor. It’s about making those meaningful connections, and it’s also been helpful in identifying what opportunities are out there. NDIGI helped me figure out what direction I want to go in with my career. It’s definitely been a very positive influence during my time at Notre Dame.”