About our writer

Ben Jones graduated in Politics and International Relations (HSPS) from Cambridge University. He then interned for President Jimmy Carter and became a policy advisor to 10 Downing Street. Ben is also the founder of International Conflict Witness, an online conflict reporting platform, and is presently a freelance election observer.

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interviewFormal education often teaches us to thrive as individuals. However, Cambridge Immerse’s courses prepares participants for both individual and interpersonal success. In doing so, we help equip course participants with vitally important leadership skills.
During our compulsory education, we take exams as individuals, receive grades as individuals, and are often taught to compete with our peers for the best individual grades and the best individual marks.

During my time at Cambridge, and subsequently in institutions such as 10 Downing Street and The Carter Center, I have met many outstanding individuals. Many of these people have clearly achieved notable individual success. Yet those individuals who are most successful rarely operate exclusively as individuals. Instead, they thrive as engaging, empowering leaders. For me, leadership does not mean being out alone in the front – it means empowering others to achieve together. For tomorrow’s young leaders, interpersonal is just as important as individual. It is my belief that Cambridge Immerse’s courses enable attendees to become this type of leader.

Unfortunately, whilst the jobs market rewards interpersonally-minded leaders, formal education systems too often discourage this type of behaviour. We are often encouraged instead to relentlessly compete against our fellow students, to view success as a zero-sum game, and to see helping other students as an act of charity than an act of collective empowerment. This approach can prevent us from learning skills that are common to the most successful leaders at university and beyond.

During my formal education, I would always make a point of sharing my knowledge to help others succeed in their exams. This was not simply an act of charity – I knew that research showed that teaching a topic was the most effective way to learn it. By engaging others, I empowered myself. In doing so, I helped build the skills of teamwork and collaboration that have helped me thrive as a leader over my early career.

summer school cambridgeCambridge Immerse is unique as our academic courses are balanced with a healthy dose of interpersonal development. Students receive the academic input necessary to facilitate their academic and professional development – but they also have the chance to build the relationships and networking skills required of young leaders.

This provides for a truly immersive, authentic experience, because top students at leading universities do not spend all their time studying – they spend considerable time networking and developing leadership skills, too.

Here are five ways that Cambridge Immerse’s courses help create young leaders:

1. Cambridge Immerse offers debate workshops which teach young people the mental agility to engage and consider opposing arguments. Debating practice helps build the communication skills necessary to equip young leaders to thrive in the workplace.

2. Our students learn through one-on-one mentorship from Cambridge undergraduates and the Program Director himself. This offers students the chance to develop in a more personalised way from those who have already succeeded in the university application process. We find that one-on-one mentorship is one of the best way of nurturing the interpersonal skills necessary to thrive at university interview and beyond.

271 Emily Butters Photography3. Students have the opportunity to hear from fascinating guest speakers at Cambridge Immerse’s courses. The opportunity to ask questions to leading figures is a vital component of the Cambridge Immerse experience, as it enables the young leaders of tomorrow to learn directly from the leaders of today.

4. The opportunity to network with fellow Cambridge Immerse participants in stimulating environments helps create friendships that can last a lifetime. Students can find themselves developing friendships over a visit to Cambridge’s famous botanic gardens, whilst punting down the River Cam, or during a day trip to London. Every leader understands the importance of networking. Developing friendships in such stimulating contexts is an incredible opportunity – and after all, today’s friendships might be tomorrow’s business partners!

5. Interview skills workshops help participants build the communications skills necessary to thrive at interview. The ability to project confidence at interview is crucially important not just for entrance to top universities, but throughout one’s professional life. By building this skill, Cambridge Immerse equips its students for future success.

cambridgestudentsCambridge Immerse prepares students for entry to the universities of their choice. However, our course is unique in that it recognises that academic and career success requires more than just knowledge – it requires leadership skills, too.

If these sound like the sort of skills you would like to develop, then consult our course listing here.

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