Michael Mutiso: Learning about Leadership

by Nishat Tasnim | October 28, 2013

Name: Michael Mutiso
Home: Nairobi, Kenya
Program: Bachelor of Management

I met Michael when he was in his first year. Immediately, he struck me as a smart, introverted, and serious young man with a strong ambition to pursue involvement opportunities on campus. I had a chance to sit down with him recently to talk about starting his second year and lessons learned from year one. During the conversation, I got to learn about his passion for international student development and his personal ethos of leadership.

Michael was awarded the International Community Achievement award this year for his outstanding efforts to promote international engagement at UBCO. He was recognized for his involvements with the African Awareness Week, Global Fest, Jumpstart, and Winter Activities. Over the summer, he worked with Student Housing and Hospitality Services. He currently works in international student recruitment with the International Student Initiative team. And when he is not working or thinking, Michael enjoys soccer, music, and helping others.

Michael explained that it took him a while to find his footing and establish his niche at UBCO. “I’ve learned not to worry too much, and be positive.” Life, he explains, can sometimes be understood by looking backwards. In his first year, Michael made an effort to get involved without knowing exactly why. Looking back now, he sees his campus involvement led to his discovery of his passion: international engagement and service.

Michael has gained a lot of insight into leadership as well. As a management student, he is constantly developing his interpersonal skills. His program’s emphasis on teamwork has led to a lot of insights. “I think student leaders can be relevant to others and to the world through service.” He said that self-knowledge is an important first step. “Sometimes, we have to be magnanimous enough to accept our own weaknesses and let someone else do a better job.” He has also learned that your intentions are very important. “We have to do the right thing for the right reason.” On top of it all, we need to be open to experiences and to others. “You can do with all the help you can get,” he said, smiling.

At the heart of it all, Michael’s ambition is rooted in gratitude. His parents had made a big investment in his education in moving him from the Kenyan education system to the British curriculum when he was 14 years old. Now, UBC has made a similar life-changing investment in his education. His hope is to be useful to other people and be a good steward of the planet through mindful leadership.