Creating a Culture of Leadership

Krannert's Brad Krites offers unique perspective

Krannert and Purdue’s initiatives to address a 21st century global society are not only student-focused. Many are also student student-driven and student led.

Brad Krites, current president of the Purdue Foundation Student Board, is one student who has ample insight into the importance of leadership experiences and soft-skill development.

Krites (BSM ’11), currently in the second year Krannert’s 3+2 combined degree program, was a member of the Tiger Team during the last strategic planning process that spawned the idea for the Center for Student Excellence and Leadership (CSEL) and, by extension, Purdue’s other initiatives to create a “leadership culture.”

From his unique perspective and from his time involved with Purdue Student Government, Krites has seen what he calls an “observable top-down commitment to enhancing the overall student experience — from leadership engagement, to learning, to life beyond the classroom.”

Brad Krites

Brad Krites (Photo by Andrew Hancock)

Krites believes that Purdue’s student-driven, student-led initiatives are a necessity in keeping with academic research findings about the changing nature of higher education, the way students learn and qualities required for success in all aspects of life.

“Purdue has recognized the changing needs of students — how we learn, where we learn, and what we learn — and is evolving to better serve us,” he says.

He says the need for these transformations in learning and leadership and the projects that support them have been borne out in his own experience as an intern.

“The overarching goal of these initiatives is to give every Purdue graduate the opportunity to develop the skills necessary for leadership and collaboration that are essential to the 21st Century workforce,” he says. “I’ve learned that what recruiters love about Purdue graduates is that we have unrivaled technical and analytical expertise and are grounded in a hard-work attitude. But, when it comes to ‘softer skills,’ we have room to grow.”

As a student leader soon to enter the workplace, Krites will add a Krannert MBA with a focus in finance to his resume when he graduates in May 2013.

“I’ve always used the visual of my résumé to emphasize the importance of student leadership outside the classroom: only three lines reflect my time spent inside the classroom; the rest is how I chose to spend the other 80 percent of my time,” he says.

He encourages incoming students and those students who follow him to recognize the importance of Purdue launching initiatives to provide opportunities for undergraduates to maximize their outside-the-classroom experience.

These imperatives are reflected in Krannert’s Launching Global Leaders program and its undergraduate companion, Launching Business Leaders.

“Purdue has grown and evolved greatly throughout the past decade,” Krites says. “We’ve built cutting-edge research parks. We’ve hired world-renowned faculty. We’ve designed best-in-class learning environments. But, these particular investments in the student experience make a statement that we haven’t lost sight of our core mission: launching the well-educated leaders of tomorrow.

“Most significantly, all these projects affirm to me — and should to every student who follows me — that Purdue takes its students seriously. Being a ‘student-focused’ campus isn’t just a bullet point on an admissions brochure for us; it’s in our DNA.”

And he adds: “Future Boilermakers should look to these projects and programs as what is possible if they are engaged student leaders, passionate about an idea, and enthusiastic in their approach to achieve it.”