Mike Zeig, ’08

Doctoral Research Fellow at Michigan State University

“Being SGA President was always interesting and exciting because of the variety of projects you get pulled into,” says Mike Zeig, ’08. Mike, who served as Student Government Association President in the 2007-2008 academic year, says working on a variety of tasks — including advocating for policies to improve student 4-year graduation rates — helped to give him a better understanding of how a university works.

“The SGA President interacts with many university stakeholders, which provides a great opportunity to learn how the university operates and find areas where students can make a real difference,” Mike said.

Since graduating, Mike has gone on to continue his education at Michigan State University, where he is a doctoral research fellow in the College of Education and graduate assistant in the Office of the President and Board of Trustees. He says his time at CMU taught him some very valuable lessons in being a successful leader.

“You can’t make everyone happy all of the time and that’s okay,” Mike said. “It’s simply not possible in a leadership role to please everyone, whether it’s as a student or in a work environment. You do your best to reach out to those who disagree with you, but you can’t allow a desire to have everyone agree with you prevent you from making a decision.”

Mike says CMU students should do all they can to get experience in leadership while in school, for it helps to arm them with the skills to be a valuable member of any team.

“Taking on leadership roles as a student allows you to practice what you learn in the classroom and helps prepare you for your professional career,” Mike said. “Taking leadership roles helps you improve your interpersonal skills, conflict resolution and ability to work as part of a team. These are the skills employers crave in new graduates. Having practice as a student leader will pay off in volumes as a young professional.”