BroadWeek IV at Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business, held February 26–28, took Full-Time MBA students on a deep dive into the world of leadership, with help from industry partner Procter & Gamble.
Recognized as the best company for leaders by Chief Executive magazine, P&G is known for its commitment to helping employees develop the skills they need to lead complex global businesses. The intensive hands-on content presented at BroadWeek was drawn directly from P&G’s library and presented by P&G executives and trainers, giving students exposure to ideas and concepts traditionally reserved only for P&G employees
The partnership was the brainchild of Pete Wojda (BS Chemical Engineering ’80), associate director of P&G’s supply network operation for global shave care product supply, and Sanjay Gupta, associate dean for MBA and professional master’s programs for the Broad College.
“P&G brought time, talent, and resources. Their level of commitment to our students and program was outstanding,” noted Gupta. “The ideas in the curriculum were reinforced and came to life as executives from a Fortune 100 company that is ranked at the very top for leadership, people who are living and breathing these concepts, narrated their own experiences and the importance to their own successes.”
The three-day session, which included both first- and second-year MBAs, focused on developing students’ leadership skills in strategy, personal performance (through the metaphor of the “corporate athlete” who plays to win), and influential presence. Wojda noted that he selected the leadership topics “that had the most personal impact on me, that would help the students to become effective in the field.”
As executives led sessions, they shared stories from decades of experience leading P&G and directing billions of dollars in business, reinforcing themes such as authenticity, risk taking, and being in the present.
Friday’s session, led by a professional actress, particularly focused on a model for engagement that develops the ability to connect authentically, communicate effectively, inspire action, build relationships, and thereby drive results.
“I’m not confident in public speaking,” commented Phoenix Jian (MBA Supply Chain Management ’14), “but today I got a method for how to do it. It’s a powerful tool to use for persuasion.”
Standing 6’6” tall, Jason McLean (MBA Marketing, Supply Chain ’14) is accustomed to drawing attention when he walks into a room. BroadWeek helped him transform how he sees his leadership role. “I’ve focused on holding back, being careful, so everyone else is heard,” McLean said. “But a takeaway has been to use my stature and voice to take control of a room and lead – and in that way to make sure everyone is heard.”
This is the purpose of BroadWeek – helping students to see how practice ties to the curriculum, making a direct, immediate connection with their future work, and continuing to hone practical skills in a setting of the unexpected.