On the morning she graduated from Harvard University, Laura Kornish awoke to The Animals’ “We Gotta Get out of This Place” on the alarm clock radio.
It was a fitting soundtrack for someone eager for the next chapter of her life.
“I was never going to set foot on a university campus ever again,” she said. “I had worked really hard in school my whole life, but I was done with it and ready to move on.”
So much for that: Today, Kornish is a prolific researcher whose insights into business and technology have helped her create courses aligned to the needs of a fast-changing future. And her willingness to explore—from technology consulting at a startup to her road back to academia—is the kind of professional curiosity she hopes to instill in Leeds students now that she’s associate dean of undergraduate programs.
“I’ve always felt comfortable with technical concepts,” Kornish said of her own journey. “As a student, I didn’t consider business school, but when I got into teaching, I had friends point out to me that my technical skills and interests would become increasingly relevant to marketing and business generally.”`
That advice was incredibly prescient when she started at Leeds in 2005, as data was becoming more sophisticated and valuable to business. She attributes her success to that advice from her network, as well as her openness in thinking about her interests and a changing employment scene.
“During job interviews, when my son gets asked where he sees himself in five years, he’ll say, ‘The job I’m going to have in five years doesn’t exist yet,’” Kornish said. “That’s the world our students are graduating into. I want our students to do some very serious exploration of how what’s out there matches their talents and interests, while also recognizing that the employment landscape itself is always changing.”
And encouraging college students to think more creatively about their studies and professional development prepares them for success throughout their careers.
“Exploration isn’t just a means to an end, exploration in itself has value,” she said. “Learning to explore makes you better prepared for every job search you’ll ever do and every opportunity you come across.”