Fostering Leadership Development

EMBA students gain practical knowledge and advanced skills in the Leadership Boot Camp workshop.

Jan 09, 2017


What is leadership? What makes an effective leader? Are people born leaders or is leadership acquired with time, experience and training?

These are questions that researchers, academics and business experts have formulated and striven to answer through the numerous studies they have made to date.
The unquestionable truth is that this research area has significantly evolved throughout the years, presenting many approaches to leadership (Northouse, 2014).
Today, there is consensus on the importance and potential of leadership development and training, be it in business, social progress or education—the list continues. Now more than ever, businesses acknowledge the need to maintain a competitive advantage in ever-changing environments. The role of a vision-driven, goal-oriented, inspirational and uniting leadership is fundamental, and modern practices for building the needed skills are sought after by organizations.

Designed for experienced professionals, managers and senior executives, the EMBA program at the LAU Adnan Kassar School of Business offers an advanced and up-to-date perspective on business, and equips its candidates with the decision-making, problem-solving and interpersonal abilities—essential for successful leaders.
One of the EMBA courses that focus on honing effective leader skills is the Leadership Boot Camp (MGT777), an applied development program which combines theoretical and practical learning. With this intensive workshop, students apply their acquired knowledge in diverse activities, and witness positive transformations in the way they view leadership, business goals, teamwork and people.

The most recent three-day workshop that took place during a weekend in mid-October, at a hotel and health resort in Mount Lebanon, was a verification of the development program’s impact on the participating EMBA students. The latter unanimously expressed how valuable the workshop’s topics and related activities were to their knowledge as well as way of thinking. Above all, the students showed gratitude to Hassan Chaker, people and organization development consultant, who was their mentor and coach. Chaker, LAU MBA alumnus, is the founder and managing director of M.C.A. People Solutions. He is an experienced trainer and speaker.

The EMBA student Mazen Shbaro was, according to himself, a “leader by position” before taking the workshop. “Today, and after one course called Motivation Theories in Practice and the Leadership Boot Camp with Mr. Hassan Chaker, I can simply say that too many things have been changed in my life and my leadership style, and of course to the better,” he said.

The program combined proven in-action techniques, peer interaction and research-based insights. It involved three core topics, respectively—the five levels of leadership; habits of highly effective leaders; leading change.
Each day, Chaker introduced one topic in an in-door lecture session, with hands-on learning games, followed by outdoor activities such as horseback riding, hiking, biking, ATV riding, archery and meditation, to further apply and reinforce the theories he had presented. The students performed tasks in each of the activity, engaging with each other and with Chaker, who was compelling them to further explore and ponder on the behaviors of a successful leader and on the importance of unity and teamwork.

“This beneficial topic, the expert instructor and the well-organized boot camp enriched the EMBA program and added value to our work experience,” according to Serene Younes.

Fida Haidar, the program officer who accompanied the students during the workshop, noticed how they bonded and started to integrate the knowledge they gained into their daily routine. She was impressed by the level of support that the students gave to each other and by their authentic leadership qualities shown in their ethical and altruistic behavior.

Similarly, the students noted the difference in their mentality and outlook. “My personal experience was both educational and inspirational,” said Mazen Abadi.
Rami Ammar was also pleased with the workshop. “The boot camp was interesting as well as beneficial for me. It was interesting in the way we spent our time doing fun activities, and beneficial in the way Mr. Hassan Chaker taught us the course; he was a positive influence on all of us,” he said. 

The program achieved the intended aim—the students had a clearer vision for their future plans, a new frame of mind and a broader perspective on business, success and life.


Northouse, P.G. (2014) Leadership: theory and practice. 6th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Pictures courtesy of Mr. Hassan Chaker.
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