When it comes to business education, what you read in a textbook can only get you so far. At the Carey Business School, the classroom experience is supplemented by offerings such as Executives in Residence: a program that offers students a unique opportunity to interact with influential business leaders.
Since its launch in 2014, the program has brought more than 30 top-level executives from the most influential and successful corporations in the world to Carey’s campus. The list includes CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker, General Electric Senior Vice President and CFO Jeff Bornstein, former Excellus BlueCross BlueShield CEO David Klein, and Citibank California President Rebecca Macieira-Kaufmann.
During their day-long residency, the executives lecture in classrooms on topics pertinent to the course curriculum. These lectures often develop into group discussions as the executives invite students and professors to ask questions, exchange stories, and engage in debate.
Additionally, a select group of students are treated to a roundtable lunch with the executive. This intimate setting allows for more candid interaction, exposing the students to invaluable insights.
For the hundreds of students who have gone through the program, the takeaways are many.
Brandon Cleary is a Global MBA student with a concentration in Health Care. Cleary – along with other students focused on health care, including some in Carey’s Master of Science Health Care Management program – spent an hour with David Klein over lunch last fall.
The discussion covered topics such as how the Affordable Care Act is changing the industry, the philosophies at work at BlueCross BlueShield, the differences between Eastern and Western medicine, as well as the qualities Klein looks for in new hires and young professionals.
“The conversation was really interesting. It did a good job of showing me how someone can rise to a high-level health care executive,” Cleary said. “It also gave me insight and takeaways about the health care industry – how BlueCross BlueShield conducts business and his view of best practices.”
Paul Shin is a student enrolled in Carey’s Master of Science Marketing program. As a member of Carey Scholars, Shin participated in a lunch discussion with Sid Goodfriend, the former managing director of Merrill Lynch’s investment banking division.
Shin said his big takeaway from the lunch was Goodfriend’s advice about how to move up in a company.
“One of the things that stuck with me from our lunch was how Mr. Goodfriend’s strength was his commitment: he worked crazy hours and was willing to take on the extra work on a number of occasions, and it continued to pay off for him throughout his career,” Shin said.
Leah Sbriscia, a Global MBA student, agrees with Shin that personal stories matter. John Rice, vice chairman of General Electric and CEO of GE Global Growth Organization, spoke to Sbriscia’s Thought and Disclosure Seminar during his visit to Carey as part of the Executive in Residence program.
Sbriscia said she appreciated hearing how Rice climbed within General Electric, and what skills he found key to his own personal success.
“I think the personal story of somebody in executive leadership is always really interesting because ultimately, these are the roles we want to be in,” she said.
During the conversation, Rice recounted situations where he was faced with dilemmas the students themselves were studying in the course material. Sbriscia said hearing a first-hand account added a new perspective to the coursework.
“Having high-level executives come in and speak with us is really beneficial because it allows us to see how the principles we discuss in the classroom are applied to real-world business situations,” she said.