Admissions Blog Posts

Lead with Vision, Conquer with Strength

Last updated February 26, 2024

By Pratik Shrestha

Embarking on the Shucker Leadership Program at Furman University was more than entering a prestigious training ground; it was stepping into a world where leadership intertwines with deep personal growth. This elite program, which carefully selects only 20-30 students each year, is not just about imparting leadership skills; it’s about fostering a journey of self-discovery, strengths development, and effective teamwork. Here’s a closer look at how this transformative experience unfolded for me, encapsulated in three pivotal themes:

A Mission of Personal and Collective Growth

Central to the Shucker Program is its unwavering commitment to nurturing leaders who are not only ready to lead but also to inspire change. Through engaging weekly sessions, we dove deep into the core of what makes a leader effective, challenging the conventional wisdom that leadership is about authority and command. Instead, the program redefined leadership as the ability to lead by example, to inspire those around you with your actions and vision. This process of self-reflection and exploration was eye-opening, urging me to identify and harness my unique strengths in guiding others. The program’s mission transcends the boundaries of the Furman campus and the Greenville community, preparing us to leave a lasting impact in our future roles as alumni.

Uncovering and Leveraging Personal Strengths


A cornerstone of my Shucker experience was Furman University’s Strengths Development Strategies (SDS), which played a crucial role in helping me and my peers uncover our innate talents. The journey began with the CliftonStrengths assessment, a tool that provided invaluable insights into my unique strengths and how I could apply them most effectively. This was not a solitary journey; personalized coaching sessions, interactive workshops, and peer interactions enriched this process, deepening my understanding of how to navigate life’s challenges by leveraging my natural abilities. This approach not only empowered me to be authentic in my leadership style but also ensured that my career trajectory and personal growth were aligned with who I truly am, emphasizing the importance of authenticity in our personal and professional lives.

Fostering Team Success Through Individual Talents

Another significant aspect of the Shucker Program was its focus on the dynamics of teamwork and how individual strengths contribute to the success of the group. We learned that recognizing and valuing the diverse talents within a team could create a powerful synergy, leading to heightened engagement, productivity, and mutual respect. This strengths-based approach to teamwork, underpinned by Gallup’s research, taught us that when individuals operate in their zone of strength, the entire team thrives, fostering an environment of collaboration and innovation.

Reflecting on my journey as a Shucker Fellow, it’s clear that the program offered much more than leadership training. It was a profound journey of self-discovery, personal empowerment, and learning how to harness individual strengths for collective success. As I move forward, the insights gained and the strengths uncovered during this transformative period will undoubtedly continue to influence my approach to leadership, teamwork, and personal growth. The Shucker Leadership Program has not only equipped me with the tools to lead with confidence but has also instilled in me a deeper understanding of my own potential and how to use it to inspire and effect change.


Pratik Shrestha

Class of 2026