Entering content area for Inside the Illinois Executive MBA

showing results for: January, 2012

blog posts

  • Reflections of my first semester

    Now that first semester is over, I can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for now. I have found this program to be academically stimulating and at times intense. The instructors come to this program with credentials that are quite impressive. My classmates are from all walks of life representing industries such as Health Care, Manufacturing, Human Resources, Banking, Insurance, Sales and Marketing, Real Estate, Business Consulting, Legal, and Small Business Start Ups. The diversity in skill set enables a unique learning environment and some very unique perspectives. I call our class, The 2013 EMBA Think Tank.

    I started this program with the intention to learn how other prospective leaders think in light of facilitating change across organizations. As a Business Strategist, I am very interested in strengthening the relationship between the employee and leadership at a firm. I am convinced there is another way to make an impact with firms outside of what has been coined as “change management”. If my organization can learn enough about what make leaders tick and what motivates the employee to produce and put forth innovation at the firm, I am convinced my firm can make a difference. I have never looked to go along with status quo as an appeasement.  Instead, I take on an innovative approach and extensive observation as to how to change the status quo. Thus, I believe firms can be better and much more profitable than they have in the recent decades.

    Several classes in the first semester of this program have helped to facilitate learning about firms and how and why Leadership fails or succeeds when driving organizations.  The course, Business Strategy focused on what leaders do when pressed by competition and how firms respond to competition relative to business strategy. While the course on Leadership took an in-depth look at what is needed to be an effective and efficient leader. As I suspected, diversity, inclusion, alignment and collaboration were key principles that Leadership must embrace in light of running a successful organization. The Leadership course forced the class to think out of the box and engage with classmates outside of our comfort zone. Thus, we learned firsthand how different perspectives impact leadership decisions. The third course offering of Business Economics was one of high energy offering unique perspective on how the scales of economics affect domestic and global economies, firms, the consumer and why it may be necessary for the government to intervene in a particular industry or firm. The learning experience was gratifying and I have begun to apply what I have learned with existing clients.

    Early on as the program got underway, I was advised by Alumni to sit in the front of the class and get to know the Professors. However, after the third class, my front row seat did not suit me. I grabbed a seat in the last row on the end for two distinct purposes. One, I can see the entire class and gain great perspective into the thought processes of some very bright minds. Two, I can duck out for a potty break if absolutely necessary without disrupting the class. The class is divided into teams relative to specific homework and other group assignments. The team membership is small in size, (3-6 team members) and operates via ‘team contract’.  As I understand from some other teams, there is great elation regarding team chemistry and others not so much. My team was a rocky road with several type A personalities clashing like crazy. However, just as you don’t pick your family members, you can’t trade in a team member. Thus, we have decided to go it with love and due diligence, as we will be together for an entire year!

    It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 5 months since our class embarked on this journey. The program moves very fast yet the learning experience is invaluable, well worth the effort. Balancing, work, family and school can be tough at times but at the end of the day, sharing war stories over lunch and dinner with a cold beer or a mellow glass of wine with new friends is priceless.

    All the best,

    Bridgette C. Lewis

additional blog information