Strategy Saturday Broadens Knowledge of Industries, Leadership Connections
The executive career management team hosted its annual Strategy Saturday event in January, part of a wide array of career resources offered to executive degree students at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. Three events — Strategy Saturday, the Recruitment Roundtable held this year on Feb. 15, and the Leadership Forum held in October — are signature programs designed to give students in Georgetown’s Executive MBA (EMBA), Executive Master’s in Leadership, and M.A. in International Business and Policy programs the experience and connections they need to achieve their career aspirations.
At Strategy Saturday, the emphasis was on broadening students’ knowledge of other industries. Small groups of around 10 students cycled from room to room listening to short presentations from over 20 industry leaders, from health care and consulting to the tech industry, learning the details of their industries and companies, along with insights from the panelist’s experiences in the c-suite.
Neil Sumilas (SFS’96, EMBA’17) moderated the Energy, Aerospace and Defense Industry panel, where the conversation centered around the panelists’ experiences with change management, in their own careers and at their companies. The audience heard a range of opinions on how to build a healthy corporate culture and how to integrate smaller companies into that culture.
In this regard, the diversity of professional background experiences was crucial, according to Sumilas. “The value was from hearing from people in different industries about how to handle transitions,” he said.
For Taha Memon (EMBA’20), the small group format was instrumental to the event’s success. “It’s a smaller room, so you can get more personal, you can get more Q and As out of it, rather than in a room of 200 people,” he said.
Attendees also received contact information for each speaker, which Memon said added to the event’s value as a networking opportunity. That, combined with the breadth of industry experience the speakers brought to the event, contributed to an important opportunity for executive degree students to make connections outside of their own fields.
According to Rajeswari Ramanan, assistant dean of career management for Georgetown’s executive degree programs, the Strategy Saturday speakers benefit as well as the students. Industry leaders get to see the talent pool at Georgetown McDonough for themselves and can explore opportunities to partner with the university.
The Recruitment Roundtable is an ideal follow-up to Strategy Saturday, Ramanan added. The event is more explicitly focused on recruitment: About a third of the Strategy Saturday employers attend, and speakers share open positions and provide employment information. Last year three students were hired as a direct result of the event.
The Leadership Forum focuses on bringing together industry leaders to address high-level management topics. At the most recent forum, leaders discussed issues ranging from how to adapt to the evolving role of technology across all industries to the basic questions of what a leader’s role should be within a company.
Beyond the range of special events for executive degree students, there are a variety of smaller-scale resources available. Students have access to personalized leadership assessments, one-on-one leadership coaching, and in-class lessons.
One objective of an EMBA degree, to Memon, is to gain a wider perspective on the business world than just one’s own industry. “The EMBA to me is a diversification. You’re trying to make sure you’re talking business broadly and are not just stuck in a silo. You’re looking at industries as a whole,” he said. Through Strategy Saturday, other career events, and in the classroom, Georgetown’s executive career management programming is designed to provide just that perspective.