The Student Becomes the Teacher: Alumnus Returns to SHU Lux as Guest Lecturer

Leading & Influencing with Integrity, a compulsory course in the MBA program, has always been an interactive and dynamic course. But on Monday’s session, the classroom transformed into a theater when Director of Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg and SHU Alumnus, Tom Leick-Burns, MBA (Class of 2012) took the stage in his debut role as Guest Lecturer.

Having been a former student in the course, Professor Mary Trefry initially invited Leick-Burns to speak to her class to offer some insight as to why he decided to pursue an MBA and share a bit of his professional/life experiences.

It has only been a year since Leick-Burns succeeded his predecessor Frank Feitler, as the Director of Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. Speaking on the context of being a leader after being an employee of the company for nearly 10 years, he says,

When I was appointed as the Director, I was very nervous about how the job would go. The trust that Frank put in me was equally flattering and terrifying. I used to compare myself with him and people used to ask me what changes I would bring in. But then I realized that I am what I am and I shouldn’t compare myself with anyone. I told everyone that I am not going to change anything, but will certainly develop things. If you are true to yourself, you can achieve a lot of things.

WGB 612 Leading & Influencing with Integrity Guest Lecture, Tom Leick-Burns, offers his wisdom and insight on pursuing an MBA and being Director of Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg

Elaborating on the need to believe in yourself, Leick-Burns added,

I know that I have worked hard for the job and I did my MBA so that I am qualified for the job. So why should I doubt myself?

According to Leick-Burns being a leader means one has to be a fast learner, and also be able to make decisions quickly. He explained that you don’t always have time get everyone’s input, therefore having a core team of trusted and authentic colleagues to discuss your decisions amongst  is a crucial component of a successful leader.

Despite the class running late into the evening , both students and Leick-Burns were equally enthusiastic to engage in a Q&A session.

QUESTION

What challenges have you faced as a leader?
– Samy Mzabi, Welch MBA student

ANSWER

The main challenge for me was to shut out the voice in my head saying, ‘you are not good enough’. Once you get that out, you will have clear thoughts.
– Tom Leick-Burns, Director of Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, MBA (Class of 2012)

QUESTION

As a leader, how to do you draw a line between being a friend and being a boss?
– Jouda Adada, Welch MBA with internship student

ANSWER

To strike out a balance, one needs to know and understand one’s job and responsibilities very well. From my experiences and from what I have learnt, you don’t need to shout at people to get things done.

If you are authentic with your colleagues, you can earn the respect and the trust that is necessary to succeed in a leadership role.
– Tom Leick-Burns, Director of Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, MBA (Class of 2012)