You may have heard of the many health benefits of cross-training, but have you benefitted from cross-training at your place of employment? Many companies today are cross-training their employees to prepare them for future roles by exposing high potential employees to different aspects of the business. Additionally, you can also make a big impact in your industry as you incorporate new innovations and strategies from other functions or across industries.
One of the benefits of the Kellogg Executive MBA experience I was looking for was this cross-training. I worked for a big company for 19 years across various functions: quality, engineering, manufacturing, materials management, research, sales and marketing—both in the US and outside the US, specializing in the emerging markets. The goal was that if ever I was to be a decision maker, I would have the exposure, experience and expertise across these various disciplines and markets.
As I reflect upon the past two years at Kellogg, I can’t forget the moment when this journey began. It was July 11, 2012, when my life changed. It was my birthday, and I was spending a long weekend back in Manhattan. I had just finished a run in Central Park. The afternoon sun had shifted far enough over the west side skyline to bring a beautiful set of shadows onto the south end of the great lawn. It was a perfect New York moment.
As it had so many times before, Central Park had pulled me into a place of deep thought, providing a slice of serenity within the epicenter of the world – a place that, depending on the day, can make you feel like the smallest of fish or fill you with the greatest confidence and passionate optimism.
As I sat there asking, “What’s next?” for me, the gentle buzz from my phone grabbed my attention. I glanced at the notification and saw the email titled “News on EMBA Admissions” from Kellogg… I think my heart sank and spiked at the same time. I opened it. I was in. On this day in Central Park, I felt unstoppable.
On Saturday, June 14, 2014, our Executive MBA convocation took place at Alice Millar Chapel and celebrated students from the EMP 92, EMP 93 and KW 16 classes.
Most of my life, I have been a technologist with an ambition to lead large technology organizations. When you have big goals like that, you need the right tools to achieve them. To successfully achieve this goal, one needs knowledge beyond technology. The basics of business management through a modern global economy lens, delivery of this content by an experienced staff, and the power of networking across the globe are a few to mention.
I was prompted to write for this blog because of an email I sent to our class the Monday after a “school weekend.” I wrote the email just because I felt like it. No pressure, nobody asked me to do it, it wasn’t a part of any assignment or anything like that. I just wrote it.
Our first year at Kellogg is soon coming to an end, we had an awesome weekend in class last weekend, the sun was shining, I had a few free minutes, I was feeling particularly grateful and I just felt like sharing with this special group of people I have gotten to know intimately over the last 10 months. I can think of no better way to share these sentiments than to simply cut and paste the letter below.
Nnamdi Agbakwu, EMP-96
After 15 years in the technology space in various roles — from entry-level programmer to various leadership positions — I decided it was time to get different skills and new experiences. An Executive MBA would be a much-needed injection of energy and excitement into my career.
Andy Bollhoefer, EMP-98
Since January, my cohort has been immersed in several courses that have practical applications in our daily business activities. Whether it is applying a statistical theory to understand data more robustly, reading cash flow statements to value a company or analyzing one’s professional network, we have been studying many applicable concepts in the classroom.
When I came into this program, I never thought I’d be able to take away as much as I have and apply it to my work so quickly.