What the Dramatic Arts Can Teach Business Students

This Spring, CEMS students on the LSE MiM Capstone course had the unique opportunity to attend the London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) to undertake tailored training designed to increase their personal impact and influence. The RADA workshop comprised a day of 4 sessions covering physical presence to increase gravitas and credibility; vocal presence by learning how to make a more resonant sound with your voice; first impressions by becoming more aware of your voice, body, eye contact and space; and skills for networking, including how to break in and out of conversations and plan what you want to achieve from networking opportunities. Dr Rebecca Newton, Course Co-Coordinator, Capstone: Management in Action and Senior Visiting Fellow, Department of Management at LSE tells us more.
CEMS students on the LSE MiM Capstone course - Picture

The LSE MiM Capstone: Management in Action course equips students with the skills necessary to succeed in their managerial careers. We have guest speaker sessions from industry experts on various management topics such as strategy, HR, risk and leadership. Students also participate in business projects, where each student group works on a real project for their client company. We designed the Capstone course to enable students to build connections between management theory and practice. Our goal is to help them understand how leading theories and the latest research are outworked within the complexity and challenges of today’s business environment.

RADA in business helps business-people improve their communication skills and personal impact by teaching basic acting skills. LSE Professor Sandy Pepper and Kevin Chapman, the Head of RADA in Business, recognised that a similar approach might be helpful to management students. London is such a dynamic city and it’s great to be able to partner with world-class organisations such as RADA in order to provide our students with the very best developmental opportunities. We also discovered that the LSE and RADA share foundational roots - George Bernard Shaw, who was one of the founders of the LSE, was also one of the early members of the RADA Council.

The objective of our day was to introduce students to the concepts of influence, presence and impact in a business context. The students found it extremely useful and thoroughly enjoyed the experience:

“My day at the RADA workshop was fun, educative and eye opening. Attending the workshop made me realise how we take for granted the little things when introducing yourself and it made me learn how you can quickly boost your confidence in a crowd. This was an amazing day for me.”

“It was a very insightful day and the advice offered generated clear improvements in all aspects, from physical presence to presentation skills and networking. This made for a memorable day and advice that I will surely remember for the future.”

RADA has trained many of the world’s leading performers. The expertise and experience of the RADA in Business team meant they offered students the leading insights and practical exercises in this field. Holding the event at the RADA Studios added to the impact of the day for students.

“After the day I felt like I actually learned something that I would not have been able to learn anywhere else.”

One of our students summed it up very well… For me, RADA was an eye-opening experience. Good managers need to go beyond what they are saying (their words) and employ their body and voice to convey their messages. I learned to take more time to arrive and make an impression before I start speaking. Moreover, I realised that I have more of an effect when I slow down my pace of talking. Finally, I understood the importance of using my posture to assert confidence and convey my emotions.

The best managers and leaders are highly effective at influencing and have a positive impact and presence. In addition to the extensive business theories and research we cover, we’re pleased to create forums and offer opportunities which equip our students with the broad range of skills necessary to succeed in their future managerial careers.