Only a Global Program can create global leaders
An interview with Stefan Kayser
Dean and Program Director of the joint Executive MBA Program of the WHU and the Kellogg School of Management
Could you give our readers some information on the goal and the range of courses of the Executive MBA program of the Kellogg School and the WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management?
The program intends to provide Executives with management knowledge and skills needed in order to be actively involved in general management issues on a global basis. The content of the program is tailored to the needs of the participants and their companies and institutions. Emphasis is on three specific areas of skills: behaviour in learning organisations, international management, and managing groups of co-operating firms for international competitiveness. The program strives to develop sound knowledge of marketing, finance and corporate governance as well as process flow management, entrepreneurship, team leadership, effective change management, management of innovations, motivating for creativity and time management. While many of the skills of general management apply to the national as well as to the international company, some skills are specific to managing a firm in an international environment. International cost accounting, international financial accounting, managing international risk exposure and strategic management of the international corporation, for example, are management techniques discussed and applied intensively in the program. Awareness of cultural differences is also developed. Interested participants may deepen their understanding of different cultures via a written thesis in combination with one of the courses offered in the program.
How is the Executive MBA program structured?
The class schedule allows executives to continue their careers while actively participating in the program. In addition, this schedule offers students the opportunity to apply their skills immediately in workplace situations. The program consists of 30 courses covering a broad range of topics. There are no electives offered in the program due to the integration of preassigned group work in the program. In this way all topics on general management are covered, all participants work on the same cases and problems and thus, they profit from the experience and knowledge from each other.
The 600 class hours are scheduled over a two-year period: twelve weekends in Vallendar and Frankfurt, and six live-in weeks. Weekend classes start on Thursday and run through Sunday morning. The first of the live-in weeks takes place in Vallendar at the start of the program, and another one at the end of the first year. At the beginning of the second year, participants take part in an international two-week live-in session at the Kellogg School in the United States. Another international residential week at a Kellogg partner university - electively either in Hong Kong, Israel, Canada, or at the newly established Miami-location - is held in the course of the second year. The final module will be given during a live-in week in Vallendar.
What sets your Executive MBA program apart from other MBA programs?
1. The Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA Program develops the skills of the current global manager. The program is taught by senior faculty members of the Kellogg School and the WHU and integrates all of the managerial disciplines, focusing on a synthesis of American and European management styles and knowledge. The EMBA program offers a variety of courses that take into account all kinds of management topics from a global perspective. Besides the courses in the core fields of business the program includes courses such as cultural differences in management styles and legal issues in the global context. It is this synthesis of the European and American management view and knowledge, enriched by the international modules that makes our program special.
2. The Kellogg-WHU program puts strong emphasis on teamwork and team leadership. It follows that study groups are an essential part of the EMBA experience. These groups of six students usually meet in many different and innovative ways to discuss current course works. Many class projects are assigned to study groups, rather than individual students and required significant teamwork. In assigning study groups, every effort is made to provide a diversity of skills among the participants and create opportunities for peer tutoring.
3. Two of the program’s highlights are the residential sessions on site at the Allen Centre at the Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois, and at one of the other Kellogg international partner schools. At Kellogg, the participants will take joint courses, e. g. Negotiations, with the students of the Kellogg Executive Master’s Program as well as students from the Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business at Tel Aviv University and the HKUST. The live-in session in Hong Kong includes courses on business strategies in Asia Pacific and China, in Kellogg’s Miami-based EMBA Program the students can join courses on doing business in Latin America. All live-in sessions will bring together students from all over the world and thus, reward the students with unique insights into cultures from different parts of the world. Being part of the global Alumni network of both schools the graduates continue this experience after graduation.
The program profits from the high academic quality standards of both, WHU and Kellogg. Kellogg and WHU have been ranked as top school in numerous surveys. In 2003, 2004, and 2005 Kellogg was ranked #1 in the United States by Business Week magazine, whereas the WHU was consistently ranked among the top German management schools by leading newspapers and magazines.
WHU cooperates with the Kellogg School of Management in Evanston (USA), what are the benefits of a partnership with a US-American business school?
The benefit of this partnership is the bundling of teaching and research forces in order to offer a joint executive program of high quality that provides the participants with the needed skills and knowledge on global management issues. At the same time in this way we offer a snythesis of European and US-American management knowledge and tools. There are also two other aspects: Firstly, the participants profit from the rich experience Kellogg has with Executive Education. It is widely known for its broad range of executive education programs. It received high marks in surveys among graduates for the teamwork approach and for teaching real-world management principles. This is expressed in modern teaching design, innovative group work and a broad range of courses that are taught by Kellogg professors. Secondly, the participants profit from the insights gained by the newest research carried out by professors of both schools, WHU and Kellogg. Also professors from both sides get together in order to do joint research projects.
In this way the cooperation implies a complimentary aspect by combining the faculty strength of two top schools which is a clear benefit for the quality of the joint EMBA Program.
What is your school doing to reinforce its global position?
The Kellogg-WHU program is embedded in a global partnership with the partner schools Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business at Tel Aviv University, the HKUST, and the Schulich School in Toronto. In this way the EMBA program puts emphasis on the direct integration of global management issues and experience by joint live-in sessions.
Furthermore, the Kellogg program itself holds a strong position in North America. The joint EMBA program of WHU and Kellogg aims a achieving a leading position in the European market since its target group is mainly positioned in Europe, partly being employed at subsidiaries of holdings located in North America, Latin America, and Asia. The Kellogg-WHU EMBA Program will focus its marketing activities on the extended future European market by emphasising the need for these executives to achieve the management skills they need as business partners of globally active companies.
What is your school doing to remain at the forefront of business and management thinking?
1. The content of courses of the EMBA Program is constantly adjusted to the needs of modern managers. For this reason, the program takes into account the newest research results in management and the proposals made by Alumni and current participants. In this way the executives themselves make a valuable contribution to the program’s goal to cover those topics that the participants are mostly involved in.
2. The faculty of both schools does research at the forefront of business and management. The results are included in the course content as well as in cases that are written by the professors for EMBA participants.
3. Both schools constantly install new chairs and research centres. For example, during the last years the WHU has founded a Chair of Leadership and Human Resources Management, a Chair of Logistics Management as well as Centers for Biopharma Management and for Family Enterprises. The professors from these chairs and centers are involved in the teaching of the EMBA program and in this way, contribute to the fact that the executives in this program get the most modern management knowledge.
About the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA Program
The WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, based in Vallendar near Koblenz, was founded in 1984 and is a private, state-accredited business school of university ranking. In addition to a full-time diploma program WHU is active in management development. WHU was the first German business school to have received the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) Certificate. In 1997, the Kellogg School of Management (USA) and the WHU have jointly designed the Executive MBA Program to develop the skills of the current global manager. The program modeled after the successful executive program at Kellogg (ranked the #1 MBA program by Business Week magazine in its last rankings) integrates all of the managerial disciplines, focusing on a synthesis of American an European management styles. The program is only one based in Germany to be included in the Financial Times ranking of EMBA Programs. In the latest FT ranking it ranks 5th in Europe.
About Stefan Kayser
B. A. and Diploma in Economics (Washington State University, University of Bonn); Ph.D. in Business Economics (WHU, Otto-Beisheim-Graduate School of Management). Dr. Kayser held various positions in the field of Controlling and e-business, before in 2002 he assumed the position as Acting Dean and Program Director of the joint Executive MBA Program of the WHU and the Kellogg School of Management.