Volume 2, Issue 2

February 2013

Blue Ridge Conference


Blue Ridge U!

In October of 2012, I had the pleasure of attending the Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership in beautiful Black Mountain, North Carolina. This was my first trip to Blue Ridge, as I had just recently joined the Auburn University MBA Program.  Part of the students’ MBA curriculum is this leadership conference experience. I learned quickly upon arrival that this event was going to be unlike any other leadership conference I had previously attended. My primary reason for attending was to fulfill my role as director of admissions and operations for the Auburn MBA program and help the students engage in this leadership experience. However, I soon found myself an active participant.

I recommend more universities and schools send students to this event – they will definitly benefit from this type of leadership experience! Having close contact with corporate, government, and non-profit leaders can make a huge impact on students who are looking to network for career options or to connect with possible mentors. Blue Ridge Conference On Leadership also offers Student Challenge Awards.  Students are given the opportunity to submit an essay from notes taken in sessions they have attended, and then the top three are awarded and receive remuneration.   

Not to be overlooked or minimized in any way, is the abundance of hiking opportunities that our MBA students took advantage of while on the mountain. When sessions were dismissed, they quickly changed their clothes, organized a plan, and took off to new heights! Seriously, the opportunity for these students to get to know one another in a setting like this and also reflect on what they learned in the sessions adds significant value to the program. I believe more universities with both graduate and undergraduate programs in the area and across the region could bolster their programs by integrating this opportunity in their curricula.  The students hear lessons in leadership from industry leaders, war heroes and other leadership practitioners who are profiled at this retreat.

The Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership is a great venue for learning more about leadership from some very successful leaders. From a cohort of graduate business students to major manufacturing companies or non-profit organizations, this mountain top conference can help any membership strengthen its leadership.

Jim Parrish, M.Ed.

Director, MBA Admissions and Operations at Auburn University





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