Many students are looking for warmer weather over spring break, but eight students from LSA’s Barger Leadership Institute (BLI) are spending their spring break on an immersive leadership experience in London. Students will meet and shadow U-M alumni in leadership positions across many types of organizations, and they’ll have the chance to explore the history and culture of the city.

The trip, offered in partnership with LSA’s Opportunity Hub, is one of BLI’s Access Opportunities: funded opportunities for students to meet alumni from around the globe who are leaders in their field. These trips, says BLI Director Jason Owen-Smith, are intended to connect students to U-M alumni who can offer them a glimpse behind the curtain. “When we asked our alumni about their most important experiences in becoming leaders, they told us they were about access,” Owen-Smith says. “It’s the idea that at some point in your career, someone opened a door for you to see something you weren’t responsible for but gave you an understanding of the way things worked.” Owen-Smith hopes this trip will give these students similar insights.

The students will spend five days having once-in-a-lifetime experiences. They will tour Parliament, and meet with one of its members, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown (M.A. 1976), who is leading the charge against Brexit. They will visit Borough Market, one of London’s oldest and largest food markets, and compare open-book financing in the United States and the United Kingdom under the guidance of David Lockwood (A.B. 1987) of Neal’s Yard Dairy, a leader in the British whole-food movement. They will learn about entrepreneurship from Suren Mirchandani (A.B. 1990) at ESports and get a behind-the-scenes look at the world of finance thanks to Jason Granet (A.B. 2000) of Goldman Sachs. In addition, thanks to LSA alumni connections, they’ll also visit a tech incubator at University College London and the Old Vic theater. LSA Dean Andrew D. Martin will join the students on the trip, further strengthening the students’ leadership learning opportunities.

"The Hub was able to tap into the wealth of knowledge of our incredible network of alums in London," said Paula Wishart, assistant dean of student development and career initiatives who is leading the LSA Opportunity Hub. "Our alums are providing perspectives on leadership in a global context, which is so relevant to how students will be engaging in their careers as they move beyond Michigan." 

 The Barger Leadership Institute (BLI), is a student-powered, faculty-guided community dedicated to developing leadership learning through engaged liberal arts education. BLI programs are available to all U-M undergraduate students at any point in their undergraduate career. Learn more about joining BLI. Learn more about the BLI's Access Opportunity trip in London.

The LSA Opportunity Hub is a central space in the college dedicated to helping students fulfill their professional aspirations. Their expertise is available to all LSA undergraduates  

See the sights and follow these students through their week in London on Twitter and Instagram using #LSAinLondon.