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Lessons Learned with former SSE Manager Brian Smith

This article is part of a series titled “Lessons Learned” where we spotlight our former SSE Managers.

In this article, we interview 2019-2020 Stanford Student Store manager, Brian Smith, to gain insight on management, and to see what he’s been working on since his career at SSE.

How has your student management experience informed your current management style?

Right now I have a lot of different projects on my plate. Working as a student manager was the same - balancing class, shift scheduling, and other managerial duties for the store. The management experience at SSE helped me feel more confident that I am capable of being a manager. It also gave me the opportunity to work with other students with very different personalities to my own. This has been helpful in keeping my management style very teammate-focused, as I make sure to get multiple points of view and make sure everyone has a voice.

Current projects/ studies:

I'm a first-year medical student at Stanford. Right now I'm interested in narrative medicine and the patient-physician relationship, so I'm running creative writing workshops with patients and their families, as well as acting as an Editor-in-Chief for Stanford's medical humanities journal Anastomosis. I'm also working on a research project analyzing whether a certain surgical intervention in pediatrics actually has helpful outcomes or if it's causing more harm in the long term. 

What would you say to a current student who is hesitant to become a managing director?

I found it to be a great experience. The people at SSE were supportive and encouraged personal and professional growth, and the transferable skills - time and personnel management, customer service, solicitation and implementation of feedback - are invaluable. It's a safe environment to learn how to be a manager, which is a life-long skill.

Parting reflections for current students:

I hope everyone is taking care of themselves out there. I really feel for Stanford students right now, trying to learn while the pandemic is still happening. I wish you all the best and I'm confident you will come out of this with resilience, grit, and new determination.

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