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Ferdi BelgaYou may have heard of the many health benefits of cross-training, but have you benefitted from cross-training at your place of employment? Many companies today are cross-training their employees to prepare them for future roles by exposing high potential employees to different aspects of the business. Additionally, you can also make a big impact in your industry as you incorporate new innovations and strategies from other functions or across industries.

One of the benefits of the Kellogg Executive MBA experience I was looking for was this cross-training. I worked for a big company for 19 years across various functions: quality, engineering, manufacturing, materials management, research, sales and marketing—both in the US and outside the US, specializing in the emerging markets. The goal was that if ever I was to be a decision maker, I would have the exposure, experience and expertise across these various disciplines and markets.

The Kellogg EMBA program offers this cross-training from experienced cohort members across different industries, entrepreneurial start-ups, Fortune 100 companies and from Kellogg professors. I recently left the big company environment for a private equity start-up. The training I received over the years from a well-resourced company prepared me for success in the big company environment. In a start-up, the skillsets from the past brought me to this opportunity, but in order to be successful in this new entrepreneurial environment, I knew I would have to sharpen my skillsets even further.

In our cohort, there are those from entrepreneurial start-ups and small companies, whom I have learned from in terms of mindset and strategy. Conversely, I have shared the big company lessons learned from the investments made in employee development such as executive education courses. All this sharing happens during the various courses and group projects offered each quarter. It’s been very interesting learning from one another’s experiences in the context of each class and application to my daily role.

Moreover, the ideas shared on potential enterprising opportunities have been lively. These exchanges include ideas for new markets, enhancing current business and awareness of potential pitfalls from starting a business through growth/expansion.

This cross-training with our cohort has expanded my thinking across the scope of start-up through Fortune 100. This has benefitted me in my current role and expands my career as I am preparing for both segments. The added bonus of the program is that cross-training in a safe environment such as Kellogg allows us to learn through the learning cycle and your cohort will “spot” you to accelerate your development.

Ferdi Belga is the Director of Licensing and Acquisitions at Abbott Laboratories. He is an avid photographer and lives in Glenview, IL, with his wife Ruth and children Emily and Christian.