the school or having an M.B.A. held little value or influence in being considered to attend the program: “It was more about your experience than the degree you brought to the table.”
For MacAdory, the most important element of the program was learning with a group of students that represented a vast array of perspectives. “The broader the diversity of backgrounds and experiences and types of companies, the more you have an opportunity to learn how things are done or not done at other companies,” she explains. “You’re gathering information to take your professional contribution to the next level.”
Another significant benefit of the training was that MacAdory could be at the forefront of innovations in her field instead of learning by trial and error on the job. She was prepared to face the transition from transactions-based human resources to a more consulting-based business model.
Last October, MacAdory attended a global managers program at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. This program gathers executives from around the world to discuss the dynamics of managing multinational companies. As companies continue to flatten their organizational models, the greatest evidence of an executive’s professional value is the ability to partner with functional areas of the enterprise to bridge people, processes, technology, and information to develop performance that reaches the organization’s objectives.
“The world of business is so rapidly evolving from day to day,” she says. “What we now look for is leadership and the ability to manage through chaos and ambiguity.”
Refining His Business Skills
Ron Grant had launched several businesses before starting ?Starpoint Investments L.L.C., the company he now owns in Atlanta. A Wharton M.B.A. grad, Grant updates his masters with executive courses he’s taken at the University of Pennsylvania, Emory University, and the University of Chicago. “Because business school gives you a broad foundation in several different areas,” offers Grant, “you’ve got to go back to take what I call niche-specific courses to refine your skills in a ?subject area.”
A believer in the tenet that education is an investment, Grant has taken more than six training courses since acquiring his M.B.A. in 2005. These courses include studies in mergers and ?acquisitions and finance management at Wharton, and a management certificate and executive development program at Emory’s Goizueta Business School. “Once you’ve gotten that education or skill set, it will never lose its value because you’ve learned a new technique and way of thinking [to add to] your war chest as you deal in the business world. If you’re going to play the game, it’s good to have the same insider knowledge that [others] have. If you have the same skill set, it levels the playing field.”
At Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, Grant took classes in the basics of options, futures and derivatives, finance for ?executives, and fundamentals of investing. Grant says he chose the school because of its international emphasis and its Chicago location, which draws a globally diverse crowd as an important commodities market center. “You want to be among your