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Beyond Good Vibes: What I Learned at the Ross OMBA Leadership Residency

Large group of students standing together behind a large yellow block M.

I wish I could bottle up this feeling and keep it forever.


That’s what I wrote in my journal on my train ride home from the OMBA Leadership Residency at the Ross School of Business. Here’s what I think about that statement now, a few weeks later:

I left the Leadership Residency weekend feeling more confident in my natural strengths, my ability to make decisions and lead a team, and my willingness to take risks. The entire residency was, to use a familiar phrase, “good vibes only” and was the highlight of my Michigan Ross OMBA experience. 

The professors and teaching team intentionally created an environment and culture that promoted positive interactions both inside and outside the classroom. From peer coaching activities and practicing “strengths spotting”, to teaming up with other OMBA students in the Leadership Crisis Challenge, the residency provided an opportunity to genuinely and deeply connect with other students. I remember catching up with some students during one of the breaks, saying, “I feel like I’ve found my people!” 

The Leadership Residency put the values and strengths of OMBA students on full display. I observed a shared perspective about what matters most in life (spoiler alert: it’s people) and what success looks like (hint: it’s about personal growth and learning). There’s a willingness among the OMBA students to experiment and try new things, to be vulnerable in sharing details about our personal and professional lives, and to be open to feedback from others.

For me, the residency was about uncovering parts of myself that had been forgotten in the routine and responsibilities of everyday life. It was about remembering what it feels like to fully thrive (this is admittedly a lot easier when the routine and responsibilities of everyday life get put on hold). I think that’s why I wanted to hold on so tightly to the feelings I had after the weekend was over. I didn’t want to lose that high of being around people who were equally committed to self-growth, exploration, and positive leadership.

As I reflect back on the experience now that a few weeks have passed, I can see clearly that the lessons we learned, the friendships we made, and the personal strengths we uncovered were never meant to be bottled up. By design, these things were always intended to pour out of us, to continually be shaken up and sprayed around like champagne.

The Leadership Residency gave us time away from the routine and responsibilities of everyday life to focus on how we can best share our gifts, talents, and experiences as people and as leaders. I will always be grateful to have had this opportunity at this stage of my life. It filled me with pride to be part of the Michigan Ross community. And it gave me so much hope knowing that these are the leaders I get to call my friends.

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