Alumni Leading Our Community

  • Rob Sobolik

    General Manager, Fargodome | Accounting, 1995

    “It is important to understand the best way you, as an individual, learn from situations that arise in everyday life and to look at all experiences as a way to help grow yourself, as well as those you are privileged to work with.”

    How did your MSUM experience transform your life?

    Once I engaged in my education at MSUM, it helped to prepare me for the areas I would be focusing on in my career at the Fargodome, not only in my core major classes, but other classes such as public speaking and marketing. The wide variety of courses taken allowed me to look at a very broad scope of interests and possibilities.

    What activities were you involved in at MSUM and how did they influence your career path?

    I had other things outside of my education at MSUM that I focused on. I don’t feel it was a detriment to not participate in these extra activities because MSUM did a good job of making me feel welcomed no matter the level of participation I chose.

    How did your time at MSUM shape you to be the leader you are today?

    My time spent at MSUM allowed me to participate in a wide variety of classes and exposed me to many different aspects of life. I believe an important part of being a leader is to experience other areas of study that are outside of your comfort zone, so you can have a better understanding of what is going on around you.

    Tell me about a time when you failed and how it made you a better leader.

    I consider myself to be a little “old school” so the term failure has a pretty negative context when I hear it. I prefer to look at circumstances that may have not gone as planned as “learning experiences.” When it comes to those experiences, they seem to happen on a daily/weekly basis in my profession. Most are quite minimal, but sometimes there are activities that happen that can have some serious consequences.

    I believe it is important to be constantly learning from the negative, and positive, things that happen on a regular basis. It is important to understand the best way you, as an individual, learn from situations that arise in everyday life and to look at all experiences as a way to help grow yourself, as well as those you are privileged to work with. When, in conversation, the term failure is brought up, I really want to ask if it was truly a failure and what were the circumstances that caused someone to label it that way. It can become quite demoralizing to those around you to talk about the “failures” we have experienced. Rather, when looking at them in the context of learning experiences, there can be positive outcomes that can be achieved that can help to make the team as a whole stronger and better prepared to face the situation when it arises again.

    What advice would you give someone striving to improve their leadership skills?

    The best thing I can say is to do the best you can to keep an open mind on everything. Realize that in life and work, there are usually multiple ways to accomplish the same goal, or end result. As a human being, you need to recognize that the way you may know how to do something can be quite different from how others would do it, but achieve the same results. It is about getting everyone on the team on board, managing the emotional peaks and valleys, and being able to accomplish things as a group.