Holding an Executive Board Position - UIUC Admissions Blog (2023)

With over 1,800 registered student organizations at Illinois, you’re bound to find a group that you enjoy being in. The opportunities are endless—you can try a new sport, build robots, or even just watch squirrels.

Whatever you end up doing, there’s a chance that you’ll find a group that you’re passionate about. You might find yourself wanting to make significant contributions to your organization and to be more than a general member. If so, you should definitely consider running for a leadership position!

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At the end of my first semester at Illinois, I found myself in this exact position. I joined a social fraternity, and decided I wanted to contribute to the group. This past year, I served as one of our philanthropy chairmen—my job was to set up fundraiser events and liaise with other Greek Life organizations to raise money for various charities.

I definitely recommend joining the executive board of a group you’re passionate about—here are a couple reasons why.

You gain valuable leadership skills.

There are several leadership skills that are very valuable qualities to possess—you’ll work better in groups and be more desirable to employers. Holding an executive board position is a great way to pick up hands-on experience with these skills.

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As a member of your RSO’s executive board, you will be responsible for more than just yourself. Your actions dictate the success and well-being of your organization and the people in it. I personally found that responsibility for others was the hardest part of my job—you’ll be under a lot of pressure. However, I have become a more reliable person as a result.

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You’ll also learn how to communicate with others well. When I set up a dinner to raise funds for a charity, I found that it was vital to talk to everyone to ensure that the event would run smoothly. It’s nearly impossible to do everything by yourself—delegating tasks and communicating with others is the best way to get things done efficiently.

You build and form connections.

Part of my job as the philanthropy chair was to work with other organizations to send teams or people to their events. As a result, I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of connections.

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However, keep in mind that the connections you will make will depend on the position you hold. I met mostly other philanthropy chairs and students, and this was fine with me—I wasn’t looking for much else. If you want to make connections that will help after college, a position like alumni relations will be more helpful.

What you will contribute to your organization isn’t the only thing you should consider when working on an executive board— think about what YOU will get out of it too!

It teaches you how to manage your time well.

It’s helpful to have the mentality that an executive board position is like a 3-credit-hour class. Although fulfilling, being a good leader in your organization is a time-consuming role.

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Coursework is always my priority, so I force myself to do all my homework before I start on anything else I need to do. Having responsibilities outside the classroom gives me less time to procrastinate and adds structure to my daily schedules.

Additionally, having a leadership position teaches you how to not bite off more than you can chew. All your responsibilities as a leader in your organization are time-consuming, but some might be too much to possibly handle. There’s a fine line between doing your best and being overambitious—being a leader will teach you where to draw it.

Your first position prepares you for bigger roles.

As a freshman, your chances of becoming president are very, very slim. There are students who are older than you and who have more experience than you. Becoming the philanthropy chair was not my first choice—I initially ran for the position of recruitment chair, but two older students were selected over me.

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However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try at all. Although a minor position, being the philanthropy chairman taught me a lot of important lessons. I know how the executive board functions. I proved myself to be a reliable person. Your performance and dedication in your first year is vital, especially if you plan on running for a bigger role. Take whatever you can get—some experience is better than no experience.

I loved serving as the philanthropy chair of my fraternity. I got to contribute to an organization I care about, and picked up a lot of skills along the way. Holding an executive board position in an organization is challenging, but fulfilling—if you’ve got the time, do it!


Why do you want to hold an executive board position? ›

Board roles provide incredible opportunities to meet influential, intelligent, and well-connected people. You may meet strategic partners, leaders, or investors. Serving on a board will help you to strengthen a variety of professional skills and is highly beneficial for career advancement.

Does UIUC accept letters of recommendation? ›

Do you accept letters of recommendation or other additional materials? No, we don't accept letter of recommendation or other unsolicited materials. An audition, portfolio, or interview may be required for Fine and Applied Arts applicants. See our application process for more details.

What makes a good executive board member? ›

An exceptional board member is cognizant of the flow of conversation and makes sure they are not dominating discussions. Offer everyone a chance to speak. Understanding not only an individual's position but the reasoning behind their position minimizes conflict even when individuals do not agree.

What is the benefit of an executive board? ›

Large companies often have corporate executive boards with members who can help guide strategic planning and make business decisions for an organization. The executive board typically includes a small group of members who have valuable knowledge about the company or extensive leadership experience.

What is the average applicant GPA for UIUC? ›

With a GPA of 3.83, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign requires you to be near the top of your class, and well above average. You'll need mostly A's, ideally with several AP or IB classes to help show your preparation at a college level.

What is the real acceptance rate for UIUC? ›

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is less selective with an acceptance rate of 59%. Students that get into University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have an SAT score between 1340–1510 or an ACT score of 29–34. Regular applications are due January 5.

Do admissions officers read letters of recommendation? ›

When admissions officers evaluate applicants, they review both “hard factors” (quantitative measures like GPA) as well as “soft factors,” such as essays, extracurricular activities, demonstrated interest, and recommendation letters.

What are the 3 W's you should look for in a prospective board member? ›

Nonprofit boards want directors who fulfill at least one of “the three W's” – Work; Wealth; Wisdom.

What does being on the executive board mean? ›

The executive board is an extension of the board of directors, acting as their eyes and ears when the board can't meet. They consist of three to seven members responsible for making decisions between board meetings, resolving urgent matters, and being accountable to the board of directors.

How do you get on an executive board? ›

Here are steps you can take to become a member of an executive board for a company or a nonprofit:
  1. Earn a bachelor's degree. The first step to becoming a member of a corporate board is to gain an education. ...
  2. Gain experience. ...
  3. Self-promotion. ...
  4. Network. ...
  5. Research companies. ...
  6. Create a resume. ...
  7. Apply for open positions.
Nov 16, 2022

Is being a board member prestigious? ›

Sitting on boards also adds a considerable amount of prestige and credibility to your name, with potential investors, business partners or even future employers viewing you as being someone who isn't afraid of taking on new responsibilities and seeking new challenges.

How often should an executive board meet? ›

The best tempo for board meetings is every six to eight weeks. You can even err toward eight weeks. This establishes six or seven board meetings a year, which is important in keeping your board involved.

How many people should be on an executive board? ›

Between seven and 10 directors is where you want to be,” he says. That's enough directors to staff major oversight committees without overtaxing them, according to Elson, yet small enough to have relationships among directors and between individual directors and the CEO.

How do I prepare for an executive board interview? ›

How to prepare for a board interview
  1. Start preparing early. ...
  2. Request the board calendar. ...
  3. Identify any conflicts of interest. ...
  4. Study the organisation's public image. ...
  5. Read publicly available reports. ...
  6. Conduct general research. ...
  7. Review the board's history. ...
  8. Research individual board members.
Oct 11, 2022

How do you hold an executive board meeting? ›

Effective steps for running a board meeting
  1. Step 1 – get clear on the board chair role. ...
  2. Step 2 – ensure board members know their role. ...
  3. Step 3 – communicate before, during, and after the board meeting. ...
  4. Step 4 – use meeting time well: right agenda, right leadership. ...
  5. Step 5 – prepare for meetings effectively.
Aug 10, 2021

How do you stand out in an executive interview? ›

Here are 11 actions you can take to help you stand out during an interview:
  1. Research the company. ...
  2. Wear bold colors. ...
  3. Arrive early for your interview. ...
  4. Showcase your strengths and areas for improvement. ...
  5. Describe your accomplishments. ...
  6. Give them samples of previous projects. ...
  7. Present a 30-60-90 day plan. ...
  8. Ask unique questions.
Mar 10, 2023

How do you nail an executive interview? ›

How to prepare for an executive-level interview
  1. Do your research. ...
  2. Request a pre-interview prep call. ...
  3. Study and prepare for executive-level interview questions. ...
  4. Dress for the part. ...
  5. Deliver a confident introduction. ...
  6. Have examples ready. ...
  7. Ask questions. ...
  8. Close like a professional.
Feb 16, 2023

How do you impress an executive director interview? ›

How to prepare for an interview with a CEO
  1. Do some detective work.
  2. Show admiration for the company.
  3. Prove you fit the company culture.
  4. Get ready to revisit your answers.
  5. Questions to ask a CEO in an interview.
  6. Say the right things.

What not to do at a board meeting? ›

Common board meetings mistakes
  • Having them too frequently.
  • Lack of planning.
  • Not following or sharing the meeting agenda.
  • Lack of legal knowledge.
  • Taking minutes verbatim.
  • Forgetting to share past meeting minutes.
  • Discussing committee reports.
  • Having the wrong mindset about the board.
Sep 11, 2022

How often do executive boards meet? ›

The frequency of meetings is often set by an executive director or a president, but it's common for board nonprofit boards to meet monthly. You'll also find boards that meet quarterly.


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