Summer School For Execs

Forget the beach, barbecue or RV. Summer is the time to fine-tune your leadership skills. We found some programs worthy of your consideration.

After three consecutive weeks in the executive development program at Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Evanston, Ill., Jim Stockdale says he's convinced he can work with just about anyone.

His class included approximately 60 people from as many as 30 countries. Because the participants rotated through study groups, they all got a chance to work with one another.

"It was like a three-week boot camp," he says with a laugh. "All of us are used to putting in long days at work, but we were in a state of shock to be in 'school' for 12 hours a day." Stockdale, who is program manager at General Dynamics Advanced Technology Systems Inc. in Whippany, N.J., leads a group that builds wireless networks for the military.

Executive education is offered year-round, but many executives find that summer is the best time to break away for extended programs. Far from having a remedial connotation, executive "summer school" is seen as a perquisite for high-potential managers.

Last summer, Kaz Imose, general manager at Teijin Ltd. in Osaka, Japan, completed a six-week stint at the University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business Administration in Charlottesville., Va. The program features a full academic load, plus a trip to Washington to meet with government officials, a visit to nearby Monticello for a private tour, health and fitness screenings and counseling.

The experience gave Imose "the international experience and global perspective" he needed to advance his career, he says. "I think that almost all Japanese executives still have some anxiety about joining an English-speaking program at an established university such as Darden," says Imose. "My advice is to relax."

And relax they can. At Darden, participants can invite spouses or partners to join them in the final week of the program, which includes social and leisure activities. Darden even welcomes participants' children in the sixth week and provides special programming for them, too.

"When people get to a certain stage of their careers - say at 50 years of age, running IT or another large part of a company - one of the most important things they can do is give a lot more attention to their physical and mental health," says Brandt Allen, dean of executive education at Darden. "We help them find better balance in their lives."

Making the Grade

You can benefit from executive summer schools if you're already in senior management or if you've been tagged "high-potential" by your company.

Forget about using personal vacation time and paying for summer school out of your own pocket - most schools require company sponsorship so that you immediately put your new skills to use on the job. The programs cost thousands of dollars, run one to eight weeks and require participants to live, eat and study on campus.

"All of our programs have certain requirements which make the experience sabbatical-like," says Charles Breckling, director of executive education at Harvard University. "The company is required to pay for the program and to relieve the participant of work-related duties. If they are expected to put out fires and manage projects from afar, it distracts them from the complete immersion experience."

Although prominent business schools pride themselves on their rigorous executive education programs, there are alternatives. The Disney Institute at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., provides a great way for midlevel IT managers to combine professional development with a family vacation. It offers programs in leadership, creativity and customer loyalty. Participants stay in bungalows or townhouses on Disney property, and amenities include a spa, fitness center tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course.

Programs include classroom lectures and behind-the-scenes tours that show participants how they can apply Disney "magic" to their own projects. The three-day programs allow some free time so participants and their families can enjoy the parks together.

Summer Samplers

The Wharton School

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

• The Wharton School's Advanced Management Program, which is offered June 3 to July 6, is a five-week course for senior executives. Participants tend to have 17 to 25 years of work experience and are generally between 40 and 50 years old.

Classes are held in the Steinberg Conference Center, which is also where attendees are housed and fed during their stay.

Tuition covers lodging, meals and materials and includes a partners program for the final two days, which "facilitates re-entry to home and work by creating a shared frame of reference - and experience for participants and their partners."

A special English Language Program helps international participants cope with an all-English learning environment. The cost is $36,000.

Carnegie Mellon University


• The Wall Street Journal ranked Carnegie Mellon University's Program for Executives the world's No. 1 general management program. Participants must be upper-level managers with 12 to 25 years of work experience.

The course, which isn't IT-specific, is designed to broaden skills in general management and leadership. It will be offered one week per month from April to June.

Classes are held at the Graduate School of Industrial Administration Center for Executive Education, which is located in the heart of the campus.

The cost is $18,500, which includes hotel and some meals.

The Anderson School

University of California, Los Angeles

• A fairly new entry, the University of California at Los Angeles' Strategic Leadership Institute (SLI) is a four-week program that focuses on "arming executives with the tools and frameworks to evaluate business opportunities and the skills to implement organizational change."

Participants have included senior-level executives and self-employed entrepreneurs. They are housed on campus in UCLA's newest conference facility, Sunset Village. SLI is being offered July 29 to Aug. 24.

The cost is $22,500, which includes tuition, books, materials, use of a computer, lodging, most meals and a Partners' Program.

Harvard Business School

Harvard University, Boston

• Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program is an eight-week program, offered April 2 to May 31, in which participants work six days a week and are expected to put in 14-hour days.

The cost is $47,000, which includes lodging, meals, tuition and materials.

IT professionals may also be interested in the two-week course called Delivering Information Services, which, according to Harvard, "was created to give business leaders the knowledge, skills and strategies necessary to build and manage an information infrastructure for maximum advantage."

Offered from July 22 to Aug. 3, Delivering Information Services caters to leaders whose companies have "substantial information technology investments."

Living quarters are equipped with PCs and high-speed Internet connections. The cost is $11,000.

Sloan School of management

MIT, Cambridge, Mass.

• The MIT Sloan School of Management Executive Education program offers specialized management courses during most months, however, two courses offered this summer might especially tempt IT professionals.

"Strategic Management in the Information Age: Beyond eCommerce" is a one-week program offered June 3 to 8. The course is designed for senior managers who are responsible for analyzing key IT trends in the global environment. It's a joint program of MIT Sloan and IESE, the International Graduate School of Management of the University of Navarra in Barcelona and Madrid. This course will be held in Barcelona, Spain. The cost is $8,000, not including transportation.

Executive Program in Corporate Strategy is a one-week program offered June 10 to 15 for managers involved in developing corporate, business or functional strategies who are accustomed to taking leadership roles.

Held at the MIT Endicott House in Dedham, Mass., the cost is $7,000 for tuition, materials, lodging and meals.

Kellogg Graduate School of Management

Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.

• Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management is consistently cited as one of the nation's top business schools, and Kellogg's executive education program is similarly rigorous, well respected and popular.

Summer is when Kellogg holds its two widely acclaimed management development programs. Participants attend classes, take meals and lodge in the Allen Center on campus.

The Executive Development Program (EDP) is a three-week course offered three times this year: May 6 to 25, July 14 to Aug. 2 and Sept. 30 to Oct. 19. The EDP prepares middle management executives for effective leadership across functional areas. The cost is $16,900.

The Advanced Executive Program is a four-week course offered June 17 to July 13. It's designed specifically to prepare senior functional managers to take on general management and strategic roles. The cost is $23,000.

Darden Graduate School of business administration

University of Virginia, Charlottesville

• The University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business Administration offers two general management programs that consistently attract fast-track IT professionals. Students stay at Darden Grounds on the UVA campus.

Historical, cultural and outdoor opportunities abound in Thomas Jefferson country, and students are formally introduced to Washington officials - a highlight for international participants.

Managing Critical Resources is a two-week program offered July 16 to 27 for functional managers who are preparing to take on general management responsibilities. The cost is $11,500.

The Executive Program is a six-week program offered June 4 to July 13 for "people ready and eager to make a breakthrough in their professional and personal lives." The cost is $32,100.

Stanford Business School

Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.

• Stanford Business School's Executive Education program offers general management and specialized programs year-round.

Stanford Executive Program is the school's flagship program, first offered in 1952. It's intended for senior-level executives with companywide or national responsibilities and at least 15 years of general management experience or for those at the top level of a functional unit. The six-and-a-half-week program is held on Stanford's campus in Silicon Valley from June 24 to Aug. 7. The cost is $36,000.

The Executive Program for Growing Companies is a two-week program designed for leaders of firms with fewer than 1,000 employees. It's offered July 22 to Aug. 3. The cost is $13,000.

The Stanford-National University of Singapore Executive Program is aimed at executives doing business in the Pacific Rim. It will be held in Singapore from July 29 to Aug. 17. The cost is $12,000.

Disney Institute

Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

• The Disney Institute's Leadership Excellence program will be offered eight times this year, including May 6 to 9, May 20 to 23 and June 10 to 13. It's geared to new leaders who want to define a leadership style and for experienced managers who want to improve their leadership effectiveness. The cost is $2,995 and includes lodging, meals during the program, course materials and behind-the-scenes tours.

Yale School of Management

Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

• If you can't make it to summer school, try the Yale School of Management's Leadership and Team Effectiveness program, a five-day workshop to help senior managers increase their leadership potential. The course will be offered twice this year: May 7 to 11 and Oct. 15 to 19.

Since 1980, the program has been led by professor Victor H. Vroom, a widely recognized leadership expert. Students stay in a nearby hotel within walking distance of the Yale campus. The cost is $5,900.

Vitiello is a freelance writer in East Brunswick, N.J.

Copyright © 2001 IDG Communications, Inc.

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