executive education programs celebrate a half-century of lifelong
by Rebecca Lindell
attend the dedication of the James L. Allen Center in
years ago, there was no James L. Allen Center. There weren't
even any executive education programs. For that matter, Kellogg
wasn't even Kellogg, and the school's rise to global prominence
still lay in the distant future.
was an idea -- that mid-career executives had much to gain
by returning to school for a short, concentrated period of
time. Here's a look back at the beginnings of Kellogg's world-renowned
executive education program -- and a chance to meet some alumni
whose brief time at Kellogg has left a powerful impact on
idea whose time had come
as 1929, Northwestern professors had entertained the notion
of bringing executives back to school for a "booster shot"
of education, although the Depression quickly quashed that
idea. The concept resurfaced in 1951, when it became apparent
that World War II had crimped the number of executives qualified
to manage large organizations.
the Institute for Management, a four-week immersion course
in business theory and practice. Participants lived with faculty
in Abbott Hall on the Chicago campus and attended classes
downtown. One of those faculty members was Don Jacobs, who
says teaching in the program formed a turning point in his
an enormous amount from the executives," he says. "I'd lecture
to them about theory, and they'd lecture to me about the real
world of business."
soon avidly supported the program, which expanded in 1965
with the creation of the International Institute for Management.
The three-week residential program at Burgenstock spa near
Lucerne, Switzerland, attracted about 30 international business
people each year.
of the Allen Center in 1979 heralded a new era for executive
education at Kellogg. The facility was the world's first on-campus
conference center designed exclusively for exec ed.
it was an idea whose time had come. "We believed we were living
in a rapidly changing world, and the notion that your education
ended when you were 22 no longer made sense," he says. "Education
should be lifelong, to help you keep pace with all the changes."
to faculty too. Keeping professors in contact with the business
world ensured that their teaching and research remained relevant,
a dynamic that also benefitted students in other Kellogg programs.
1990s, Kellogg's executive programs had achieved international
renown. The center offered dozens of programs to the public
and was designing programs for corporate clients. By 1999,
Kellogg featured 134 executive programs a year, including
courses on cutting-edge topics such as e-commerce. Numerous
business publications had ranked the school's executive education
curriculum No. 1 in the nation. Education for executives,
once viewed as a novelty, is now regarded as essential to
an organization's success.
we started, we didn't think about being in the vanguard. It
was who we were," Jacobs remembers. "It wasn't until later
that we recognized we were the precursor to a new way of thinking
for Management, 1957
the Institute for Management in 1957 was a bracing experience
for Don Whyte, who was working in research for S.C. Johnson.
"They used to wake us up in the morning with the garbage cans
banging," he says with a laugh.
Whyte and his classmates headed to class for a day of lectures
and discussions. The evenings, spent studying and preparing
for the next day's lessons, didn't offer much of a break from
the academic grind. "It was rigorous, which was good," Whyte
says. "It was what we were there for."
then was on "general management, accounting, evaluating what
your company ought to do -- normal b-school things," Whyte
recalls. "They taught us to be pretty frank, which I found
useful, particularly in dealing with people overseas."
proved instrumental later in Whyte's career, when he served
as head of research and development for Johnson. The job required
him to spend nearly three months of the year traveling to
the company's 40 labs and 42 subsidiaries.
had his employer not enabled him to attend the Institute for
Management, Whyte might never have had that career opportunity.
"At that point I was seriously considering leaving Johnson,
but that was one of the things that kept me there," he recalls.
years later, Whyte still gives a thumbs-up to executive education
at Kellogg. "It gives you a sense of confidence. It's a challenge,
and a very good broadening experience."
LEISTER International Institute for Management, 1978
Leister, the end of his three weeks at the International Institute
for Management in Burgenstock in 1978 was really a beginning.
from around the world now study in Kellogg's programs.
two decades since attending the program, Leister's relationship
with Kellogg has blossomed into an integral part of his career.
He has attended nearly all the European exec ed reunions,
visited Kellogg's Evanston campus numerous times and consulted
Jacobs and faculty on pressing business issues.
development programs don't necessarily reverberate throughout
one's career, Leister notes. The Kellogg experience was different.
one has been kept alive the entire timeŠthrough [its] quality
and [especially] through Don Jacob's personality," says Leister,
a consultant with extensive experience in the European technology
is a former chairman of Deutsch Telecom and director of IBM-Germany
who has served on numerous boards. Through it all, he has
stayed in close contact with the Kellogg community, which
has provided resources and fellowship at every turn.
is a family," he says of the school.
RUTHERFORD Advanced Executive Program, 1989
Matt Rutherford had spent 15 years at International Paper
Co. He was ready for something new. Not necessarily a new
employer, or even a new job within his company, but new horizons.
support of his company, Rutherford, then IP's general sales
and marketing manager, enrolled in the Advanced Executive
Program. The experience was all had hoped for, and more.
a very welcome break from routine, and a way to recharge my
intellectual batteries and push me into new areas," Rutherford
half Rutherford's fellow students hailed from outside the
U.S. The contact with so many international business people
left an indelible impact on him. "It was really the first
time I was able to participate in a lot of discussions about
global business, and talk through some of those differences,"
proved useful when Rutherford returned to IP and was appointed
to a group assigned to restructure his company's global business
plan. "Much of what I learned at Kellogg pervaded my [thinking
about] what we should be doing," he says. Afterward, he became
general manager of the company's Canadian, Latin American
and European operations. "I moved from a domestic track to
a more international track -- a big change for somebody who
hadn't had a focus on international business," he says.
PYATT Executive Development Program, 1999
Pyatt's three weeks at the Allen Center in July 1999 were
an opportunity to step back and do some "big picture" thinking
about leadership -- especially in the area of organizational
I enjoyed very much was the teaching on emotional intelligence,"
says Pyatt, an assistant vice president at the Jacksonville
branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. "At an executive
level, I think it's very important to understand people's
behavior and the things that influence them, and why they
are reacting in certain ways. I enjoy that subject very much
because that's where leadership skills emerge."
also relished the personal interactions within the program,
particularly those with students from overseas. It was the
first opportunity she had ever had, she notes, to work with
people from a number of nations. "Working with the Federal
Reserve, it was interesting to hear about the differences
in the economics in the different countries represented,"
recently received the Allen Center's schedule of classes for
2001. "There are so many good classes," she notes. "It's so
positive if you can continue building your knowledge base.
I hope to attend Kellogg in the near future to further continue