GS Leaders Emphasize 'Doing'

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Wall Street likes people who get things done. Students looking for ways to position themselves might want to consider the backgrounds of the Goldman Sachs Global Leaders, a group of 100 high achieving college students from 20 countries. Their common thread: real accomplishments, some made even before they've entered college.

In July, the Goldman Sachs Foundation brought 50 of the Global Leaders to New York. They spent a week hearing from socially responsible corporate executives and philanthropists - people such as Craig Newmark of Craig's List, Deborah Dingell of the General Motors Foundation and Michael Gilligan of the Luce Foundation - and developing their own networks among their colleagues.

Indeed, said Rajeeb Dey of the University of Oxford, one of the trip's values was the ability to "create a real network." Boryana Atanassova of the American University of Bulgaria agreed. In spite of all the exposure to corporate and charitable leaders and diplomats, Atanassova said, "networking is the best part of this."

The Goldman Sachs Leaders have demonstrated they're people who are results-oriented. Dey, for example, founded the English Secondary Students' Association, a national organization that gives students aged 11-19 a greater voice in education. Atanassova was one of the founders of the UN Youth Association in Bulgaria. Another Global Leader, Harvard University's Thomas Hadfield, created and sold to ESPN before he had graduated high school. He went on to start the online education company with his father.

Hadfield emphasized the group was not networking for its own sake. "We're here to develop collective solutions," he said. "Our generation is ready for a new style of global leadership. We've come to think collectively, to solve major challenges."

In fact, the foundation hopes relationships developed as part of the Global Leaders program will last throughout its participants' careers.

All undergraduates can take a page from the Global Leaders' playbook. "You can do a lot more besides study" while you're in college, said Dey, who recommends students look for opportunities to lead in ways that will help themselves and their communities. In addition, "think internationally, act locally," suggests Atanassova. Hadfield agrees. "It's important to spend time with people from different cultures," he said. "It's important to have respect for different approaches."

"Think big, start small, scale fast," he added. "Your only limit is your ambition."