Each year approximately 10,000 executives from around the world come to Wharton to gain the knowledge they need to develop their leadership potential and move their organizations forward in today’s competitive marketplace. Here’s a sampling of what participants have to say about the value of Wharton Executive Education programs:
Job title: Senior VP & Chief Engagement Officer, Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a leading provider of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs in U.S. schools
Program attended: Finance and Accounting for the Non-Financial Manager
“As my organization’s engagement officer, I support our field staff who works directly with schools and our university partners across the country. Immediately after finishing Wharton’s Finance and Accounting program, I participated at a much higher level in discussions with our CFO, CEO and other leaders. We are growing rapidly, going from 49 staff to 150 in three years, and while that’s exciting, we have to make really smart decisions about how to allocate resources.
As a former teacher, school administrator and district administrator, I had budgetary responsibilities, but I didn’t understand cost of goods sold, how to book assets, or how research and development fits into the financing and accounting side of an organization. Wharton improved my understanding of valuation and cash flow, how to capitalize assets, and how to depreciate elements when we are making big decisions about growth and resources. This learning is very relevant to the work I do every day as a senior leader for my organization.
The program occurred during one of the worst snow storms to hit Philadelphia in years — the university was closed and so was much of the city, but we didn’t miss a beat. Wharton had staff stay the night — they did whatever they had to do to deliver a high-quality program. Even before I left Philadelphia, I reached out to our team here since some of my colleagues wanted to deepen their finance understanding in their own work. I highly recommend the Wharton program — it’s something I continue to build on. Wharton has followed up and made additional connections for me to continue that learning.”
Job title: Director of Marketing and Business Development, National Medical Reviews, Inc.
Program(s) attended: Wharton Fellows: Master Classes and Networking for Senior Executives and recipient of a Certificate of Professional Development (CPD)
“I chose Wharton because I wanted to bolster what I’m already doing in marketing management, and to help my company with that because we were in the process of restructuring, rebranding, and recapitalizing. Wharton Fellows — and really everything at Wharton — is all about thinking outside the box: How can you work outside the box you’ve been put in and come up with new ideas and new ways to be a leader in your field? If you want to stay current, if you want to stay relevant, if you want to be on the cutting edge and have an edge, absolutely take part in Wharton’s professional development programs.”
Job title: Vice President of Finance, CCC Latin Center BU, The Coca-Cola Company
Program attended: Executive Negotiation Workshop: Bargaining for Advantage®
“Negotiation is a key skill in finance. We negotiate internally and externally all the time. In our franchise system, we are in constant negotiations with bottlers, suppliers, and internal departments. Senior finance associates need to convince other parties to do what we think is right for the business.
Attending Executive Negotiation Workshop was a more complete experience than reading the book. There is not a lot of time spent talking about theory. What really makes it interesting from a developmental standpoint are the cases; they are very well designed and touch on very specific, sophisticated elements of the negotiation process. Discussions afterwards were very enriching. There were so many types of situations. This was a key differentiator — the amount of time spent actually negotiating made it very practical — and people really got into it.
The videotaping provided me with a lot of feedback that I wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. I am now more focused on trying to find common areas of interest before I start a negotiation. I am also more conscious of biases, especially confirmation bias. I am much more focused, structured in my approach.”
Job title: Managing Partner, Enlightened Capital Management, Principal and Founder of Enlightened Mgmt Corp., and CIO, Synergy Systems
Program attended: Wharton Fellows: Master Classes and Networking for Senior Executives
“I have been a Wharton Fellow for the past five years, regularly attending one or two classes a year. The Master Class on Innovative Growth Strategy was what I have come to expect from the program; it made me think outside my own box. Even though I’m used to being creative in my work, it was incredibly useful. Our group included entrepreneurs and people who work in very large companies, operations and pharma people, bankers, and lawyers, and we came from five continents. The class made us question the norms, creating a disruptive thought process that leads to new and better outcomes.
That’s the real difference with Fellows classes; you can talk about creativity and talk about letting go of your preconceived notions. There are plenty of books to read on those subjects. But, until you actually demonstrate how biased you are in your thought process, you’re not going to change.
The value of exploring how to unlock your creativity was something that worked for the group. We’re so locked into a certain way of thinking. We don’t want to be wrong; we like to stick with what works. Spending four days pushing the limits of what is possible, and not just thinking about [it] … was a cool brain share and an incredibly valuable experience.”
Job title: Vice President, Broadband Technology Integration, Cablevision
Program attended: The Leadership Journey: Reinvigorate Your Leadership
“This was a crash course in seeing what kind of leader you were and how you adapted to different situations you couldn’t predict. I got to examine my own strengths and weaknesses on the fly. It inspired me to try to change my leadership moment, my approach.
There’s a message there. People who emerge as leaders aren’t always the ones you thought would be. Leadership can find you. You come away understanding that true leaders aren’t necessary the best schooled. They find their leadership moment.”
Title: Vice President and Business Head, Wireless (Enterprise), Tata Teleservices Ltd.
Program attended: Accelerated Development Program (ADP)
“The ADP experience at Wharton is not for the faint-hearted. You press the “reset to learn button", and the Wharton machine pulls you in like a roaring roller coaster onto a journey of discovery! The marketing and strategy sessions add bleeding-edge concepts to your arsenal that are being deployed in corporates as you learn them. Wharton took care in ensuring that even the sessions happening in India were led by the respective Faculty Chair only… a truly ‘wow’ experience I wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere.”
Job: Senior Member, Technical Staff, VMware
Program: The Leadership Edge: Strategies for the New Leader
“The communication portion of the program was brilliant. Not only do you realize what kind of person you are — direct, systematic — you also learn how to figure out what kind of person others are. When you know others’ styles, you become tolerant of things, and can make the conversation more effective (for example, how to read expressions, reading to see if people are getting bored, etc). You can steer yourself on the visual cues. These are definitely great takeaways for anybody in the professional world.
By far, the best part of the program was the people. At the first breakfast, I sat down with participants who were Special Ops, Navy Seals and ex-CIA agents. I only see these kinds of people in the movies! They have a different outlook, perspective. The Wharton professors were great — exactly as I expected. Some of the course material really opened my eyes.
Though I wasn’t sure how it would apply to my current job, I find myself applying the communication tools, the managing peers skills that I learned. Down the road, I think I’d eventually like to move into engineering management. My experience at Wharton has definitely better prepared me to someday take on such a leadership role.”
Job Title: Division Sales Manager, Genentech
Recipient of a Certificate of Professional Development (CPD)
“When I decided I was interested in executive education, my VP suggested that I consider Wharton. The first program I went to was Essentials of Management (now called Advancing Business Acumen). My first impression was the caliber of the people — both the executives and the faculty. And, there was a really good mix of industries represented. I’m in pharma, and I appreciated getting different perspectives, learning how people in other industries view some of the same challenges. I got some new approaches, and I was able in some instances to solidify the fact that we had a positive approach.
All the Wharton programs are very engaging and interactive. You’re accountable because it’s very hands-on. You can’t sit back and coast through.
These programs have been important to my career development. I know some people are worried about spending that much time out of the office, but the gains are so monumental that it’s worth the time away. You don’t have any distractions, so you really focus on the learning and on peer networking.
Job title: Associate Director at the World Economic Forum
Program attended: Wharton custom program for the World Economic Forum
“It’s an incredible honor and privilege to even get to go to Wharton and get access to some of the best professors. The World Economic Forum’s Global Leadership Fellows program sent us to Wharton because we are seen as having promise for leading. I brought my real work world challenges into the classroom. Going through the thought experiments and exercises at Wharton really forced me to put myself in the shoes of a leader who has to make those decisions. It helped me bridge the gap between what I know secondhand and what I need to do in order to rise up and be prepared to take on that role.
I came to the World Economic Forum first to focus on social innovation models across Latin America and Africa that essentially were addressing market failures and providing access to necessary services and opportunities, such as education, health care and financial services.
Because of some of the coursework I had at Wharton and the influence of professors there, I came to understand the complexity of the economics systems and the importance of capital markets in scaling up these social innovations and addressing pressing societal needs. Talking to the professors gave me solid thinking and academic support. I got a lot of validation and new ideas. It was just phenomenal.”
Job: Management Consultant
Program attended: Executive Negotiation Workshop
“I have attended other executive education programs at other schools, but this is the best program I have ever attended in terms of interactive structure. I liked the way the classroom material was presented, and I loved having the opportunity to have everyone onsite in one facility (meals, accommodations, group work). Everything about the week was really organized to maximize our time.”