Brandeis GPS Blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Month: April 2022

Brandeis GPS Student Spotlight


Photo of Peiyuan “Augustus” Zhang.Student Spotlight

Peiyuan “Augustus” Zhang ‘21

Natick, Massachusetts 

Manager of Computing Support, New England Conservatory

Program: MS in Technology Management

In his spare time, Peiyuan enjoys making music and learning and reading books. He also likes learning from the news and articles about economy, finance, and management, as well as playing video games.

Get to know Peiyuan “Augustus” Zhang! 

Why did you choose Brandeis GPS?

Brandeis is known for having good business management programs. Also Brandeis GPS has a really good reputation on providing industry-recognized part-time online degree programs. 

What inspired you to choose your field of study?

I wanted to pursue this field of study to better understand high-level thinking at my job. This helps me to perform better at my job. Learning management knowledge will help me to better understand technology from a higher perspective and provide a clear view of my career path.  

What are your hopes and aspirations for the rest of your time at Brandeis? 

I would like to use my remaining time to get connected with instructors and my classmates. I would like to expand my professional network.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I am planning on seeking more opportunities for me within my organization. Also I will start exploring other opportunities in higher-education and other industries.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Be patient when reading classmates’ posts. Be thoughtful and humble when replying to people’s ideas. Be proactive when learning from instructors and others.

What has been your favorite class to-date?

RMGT 110, RMGT 160, and RMGT 103.


The Concept of Leadership

Headshot of Shawanda Legall.Leaders are not always the executive, the senior manager or someone in a supervisory position.  A leader is the individual that has the ability to motivate and influence.  Leaders turn an organizations vision into a reality by guiding others to their maximal potential.  “Being a great leader requires constant personal and professional development, regular transparent feedback from the team, self-reflection and taking action on feedback received. Great leaders are rarely satisfied with their performance” (Gleeson 2016).

There is an old saying you will catch more bees with honey than vinegar.  Having a leader who possesses positivity makes the team happy.  Being positive promotes enthusiasm and inspiration. Framing communication in a positive light promotes motivation.   Negativity diminishes and demoralizes a team.  The organization continually changes the process for improvement, and at times it is frustrating.  Joe an Executive Vice President within my organization puts a positive spin on the process improvements by communicating how this makes the organization more effective and less prone to bad audits.

Empathy is not sympathy.  Empathy is being self-aware and aware of how others are feeling.  You can be empathetic and be able to agree to disagree with someone.  “Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s experience, perspective and feelings. Also called “vicarious introspection,” it’s commonly described as the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes.  But make sure you are assessing how they would feel in their shoes, not how you would feel in their shoes.

One of the essential elements of effective leadership is creating a culture where an open line of communication is the norm for your team and group.  A leader needs to be able to clearly explain to employees everything from organizational goals to specific tasks.  Being approachable is key for a leader to receive open and honest feedback.  Along with excellent communication, a leader’s active listening skills must be on point as well to fully understand employees.

I have learned that employees need to trust their leader, and if that does not happen, you are not adequate for the organization or the employees. “When your team trusts you as a leader, it increases commitment to team goals” (Halvorson, n.d).

Written by: Shawanda Legall

Project and Program Management, class of 2021



Gleeson, B. (2016).  10 Unique Perspectives On What Makes A Great Leader.  Retrieved from:

Halvorson, H.  (n.d).  The Most Important Skill for Great Leaders? Trustworthiness.  Retrieved from:

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