Purdue University's
School of Management
Spring 2022:
Issue 23, Vol. 1

Life in the C-Suite - New online course gives master’s students an executive-level perspective

Online MBA and master’s students aspiring to a career at the executive level will get an advanced preview of the challenges involved in a new, graduate level one-credit course titled “Life in the C-Suite” that will make its debut in fall 2022.

“The course will familiarize students to the unique set of decisions a C-Suite executive faces in running an organization in a changing world,” says Krannert’s Associate Dean for Online Programs and Strategic Innovation Dilip Chhajed. “This exposure will help graduate business students appreciate the executive’s demands and point of view, facilitate their interaction with executives, and improve their readiness to progress to higher leadership roles in the organization.”

With input from the Krannert Dean’s Advisory Council, Chhajed and Executive-in-Residence Jorge Romero-Day (MS AgEcon ’85, MSIA ’90), founder of JRD Solutions, designed the course around the topics that defy C-Suite level executives throughout their careers. These range from the daily running of the business to defining and cascading strategy, leadership team development, promoting innovation and transformation, imposed change management, the power of communication, cascading strategy, and others.   

“We created this course by bringing in leaders from many different industries and walks of life and having each contribute to one topic,” Chhajed says. “This makes the course much richer and helps it reflect more diversity of opinion rather than the voice of a single expert.”

“In general, junior and mid-level managers do not really have an appreciation of all that is involved at the C-Suite level,” Romero-Day says. “This course will familiarize students with these issues and the complexity involved in handling them in successful organizations. Students will also have a unique chance to view the different styles and views of global executives, as well as how they communicate at this level.”

The course methodology consists of 30- to 45-minute interviews with C-Suite executives on a specific topic. Interviews are conducted via Zoom by the course instructors and will be followed by class discussions and corresponding assignments. The current lineup of speakers features a majority of Krannert alumni, complemented by other experts who bring both national and global perspectives to the topics addressed. They include:

  • Mauricio Adade, President, Latin America & Global Malnutrition Partnerships and Programs, Royal DSM
  • Mike Berghoff (BSIM ’85), President and Chief Executive Officer, Lenex Steel Company; Chairman, Purdue University Board of Trustees
  • Jane Brock-Wilson (BSIM ’78), Senior Advisor, Berkshire Partners LLC
  • Patrick Niels, President, DSM Food Specialties BV
  • Tim Coleman (BSIM ’90), Vice President and Information Officer, Medicines Development Information & Digital Solutions, Eli Lilly and Company
  • Rich Freeland (BSIM ’79), Chief Operating Officer and President (retired), Cummins Inc.
  • John Krenicki (EMBA ’90), Vice Chairman and Partner, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice
  • Marshall Larsen (MSIA ’77), Director, United Technologies Corp.
  • Kevin Sullivan (BSM ’80), Founder of Kevin Sullivan Communications and Senior Adviser at George W. Bush Presidential Center

“I think there’s a lot of excitement around this course because of the quality of speakers it brings to the students in a very systematic way,” Chhajed says. “It engages students as well as our alumni, and the course content can be kept current by bringing in new executives to talk about different topics. We could even have two executives talk about the same topic so students can see different viewpoints.”

Click here to learn more about Krannert's Online MBA program.

Written by Eric Nelson

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