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How my Crosby MBA Developed Me as a Service Leader

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Integrate, defined as “to bring together or incorporate (parts) into a whole.”

I came to Mizzou my freshman year striving to build something out of infinite components and limited instructions. Each year added to my University of Missouri experience has connected those disconnected fragments of knowledge and moved me in a forward direction. Numerous mentors, faculty, friends, and Columbia community members pushed me to be better, to connect the pieces and weave them into a singular thread that ultimately leader on Mizzou’s campus. When I started the Crosby MBA program, I was provided me the opportunity to integrate my classwork and skill sets I had been developing throughout my undergraduate career.

I currently serve as one of two graduate assistants for Mizzou Alternative Breaks, or MAB. MAB is a student-led program that sends groups of students across the country and internationally to volunteer during all academic breaks. It promotes the idea that grassroots service is something greater than a week or an event– it is a global movement. MAB is the largest alternative breaks program in the country. We run an over a half a million-dollar fundraising campaign, and operate similarly to a non-profit organization.

I have had the opportunity to advise nine students over the past two years, all with unique backgrounds, experiences, and skill sets. Last year, I was given five individuals and told to build a team. With no idea where to start, I tried, and I failed…hard. I spent countless nights thinking of ways to push them and to work with them better. I read books, watched TED talks, and met with mentors until it finally clicked while I was sitting in my Management 7390 Organizational Behavior class. I had been trying to develop them individually instead of as a collective team. I had to spend more time integrating their individual strengths, developing their weaknesses, and pushing them to invest and challenge each other as much as I was doing with them.

My current students and I operate under the theme, “To be better because we are all a constant work in progress.”

We constantly push each other to live by this motto. I have worked with students during some of the hardest times of their lives as well as some of the happiest. I challenge them to think harder,  make connections, create sustainable ideas, and live a life of purpose for the greater good. Over the course of the past two years, I have overseen nine students, who have overseen 194 students, who have overseen 1,164 students, ultimately impacting hundreds of people’s lives globally. I came to Mizzou with limited guidance and an abundance of opportunity, and now I get to provide opportunities and experiences to students every day.

Not a day goes by that I don’t apply concepts, methodologies, and business practices that I have learned through my Crosby MBA education into my role as a graduate assistant. I find myself using statistical models I learned in my marketing analytics courses to more accurately target our marketing efforts to a diverse student population. I am now able to accurately provide revenue projections and conduct financial statement analysis learned in my finance courses to comprehend the program’s revenue and expenses. Finally, I am consistently leveraging emotional intelligence techniques I learned in my management courses to lead my teams to success.

I would be nowhere near the campus leader I am today without the Crosby MBA program and without the help of those willing to listen and have conversations with me about my job. When I walk across that stage in May, I know that the support of this program has not only impacted my life, but the lives of 1,164 student leaders on Mizzou’s campus.


Rachel Hankins is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration at the University of Missouri with a graduation date of May 2018, with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Mizzou as well. She has a passion for technology, people, and leadership development. After graduation she is moving to Denver, Colorado where she will work for DISH Network and pursue a career as a software developer.