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Economics Major Hones Leadership Skills as Student Government President

By Liz Monahan
Posted on 28 February 2017 | 12:02 pm

School of Business Economics major and Student Government Association (SGA) President, Michael Faikes, discusses leadership, social science, sports and more with the b-school communications team.

School of Business: Hi Michael, thank you for joining us today! Let’s start off with a little background. Tell us about yourself.

Michael Faikes: No problem, thanks for having me. My name is Michael Faikes and I am a senior at the College of Charleston with a double major in economics and computer science. I was born in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up in Irmo, South Carolina.

I am the acting SGA president for the 2016-2017 academic year and have previously held positions as vice president, treasurer and senator. In addition to being president, I’m also a member of the Honors College, Schottland Scholars and Jewish Student Union.

SB: You mentioned that you’re an economics major. What interests you about the subject?

MF: AP Economics was one of my favorite classes in high school. When I got to the College, Roxane DeLaurell (an associate professor of legal studies and the director of the Honors Program at the School of Business) advised me to major in a subject that I found interesting and make it my own.

Economics is the most exciting business topic because it’s so much more than numbers — it’s also about public opinion, what drives those opinions and how those opinions influence actions. Ultimately, a drive to understand people is what draws me to business and, more specifically, economics.

SB: Why did you choose to add student government to your plate?

MF: Frankly, school just wouldn’t seem like school if I didn’t feel represented. I was on the student council in high school and really enjoyed it. There’s so much more responsibility to take on and impact to be made by participating at the collegiate level.

Prior to running, I spoke with a good friend about the SGA’s untapped potential. Eventually it became obvious that if I wanted to see change, I had to make it myself.

SB: How does being a business student influence the way you operate as president?

MF: The Schottland Scholars revolutionized the way I operate as president. I would recommend any School of Business senior apply for the program. Through Schottland Scholars, I have had the opportunity to tour various companies and meet with their executives.

Getting to see the mindset that successful people have and how they manage their employees is so cool. That experience gave me confidence and encouraged me to approach problem solving in a different way. It also gave me a more globalized view of the business world.

SB: What work is the student government currently undertaking?

MF: We’re working in tandem with our campus diversity liaison to encourage more departments to craft curriculum that would allow the College to expand its selection of general education history courses.

We’re also reevaluating the campus’ sexual assault and academic forgiveness policies and attempting to turn all bathrooms at the College into zero-waste zones.

SB: What would you tell other business students who are considering running for student government?

Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. When you take on any leadership role, understand what you want to accomplish and why, set realistic goals and work hard to make sure those goals are met. There’s nothing worse than committing yourself to something you’re not willing to work hard for or are not passionate about.

SB: What are your post-graduation goals?

MF: I’m determined to become the general manager of a professional sports team one day. I’m a life-long New York Mets fan and general sports enthusiast. I love sports for the obvious reasons — they’re fun to watch and are a great cultural unifier. But I’m even more excited by what goes on behind the scenes. I find sports-related business operations fascinating. Understanding the science behind what makes the people who run the show tick and why they make certain decisions is a total thrill.

 

This interview has been condensed and edited.

 

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