BEYOND THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

Paul Krell just experienced the most bitter-sweet success of his career. He was involved in selling a company, Sequent Medical, which he helped grow from scratch and that he considered his “baby”, for USD$ 380 million to Terumo, a Japanese corporation, one of the largest deals ever in the medical devices industry related to neurotechnology.

“I know for a fact that my current success would not have been possible without my learnings at IMD,” says Paul. Paul completed the Program for Executive Development, an IMD experience that transforms managers into leaders, in 1999 and 2000, and appreciated it so much that he decided to continue his learning path and went on to do the IMD Executive MBA.

The Magnificent Seven need no introduction. Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Columbia Business School, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management are the cream of the business school crop. M7 is the Holy Grail of the MBA Kingdom. Every year, thousands of applicants will apply to the M7 schools, and most will fail to crack the code, because these schools are the most selective in the B-school landscape.

Two years at any of the M7 schools will set a student back about $200,000, but there are many scholarships from alumni and employers. M7 attracts the most talented students and faculty, and certainly the most corporate recruiters offering the most sought-after jobs. M7 also boasts highly achieving alumni and valuable networks in nearly every walk of life. You could achieve similar education is less known schools, but the job offers will be much lower. For example, IMD and Webster Athens have excellent MBA programs.

Paul is from Germany and was a qualified electrical engineer before getting into sales by accident, he says. After that he often found himself playing a connecting role between the sales and R&D departments at Guidant, a medical devices company.

Then he was promoted to a Marketing Director position responsible for Europe and came to IMD to boost his knowledge in managing people and finance.

The experience was enriching and in addition to learning in the classroom, the other participants helped him tremendously to learn about people management and even designing his own career.

“I have to be honest, it was intense, challenging and hard to keep up with my job while I was in session,” Paul says of the EMBA experience. “But it was rewarding and a lot of fun too,” he adds.

“The impact of the program was that I was seen as, and I was, a different manager afterwards. I began to look at my work and even my life very differently than before.”

“One of the most important takeaways from the EMBA, and something that has helped me immensely throughout my career, is the value of teamwork,” says Paul.

Paul also learned how to think more creatively. And the wide diversity of backgrounds and nationalities of the faculty and fellow participants broadened his horizons.

Webster Athens is dedicated to fostering a campus culture that embraces and celebrates diversity and inclusion, and promotes international understanding and appreciation. Preparing students for effective, responsible and dynamic involvement in the modern societies in which they live and serve, and for excellence and leadership in their personal and professional lives. The campus is located in Athens, Greece – in the historic district of Plaka. Your Global Learning Experience begins in Webster Athens.

Whether your interest is management, marketing, or communication, you will be an active learner at Webster Athens.  The classrooms give many hands-on experiences in various cases, and the location in the capital of Greece provides plenty of internship opportunities. With a low student-to-faculty ratio and average class size, Webster Athens makes business education personal. Faculty get to know students on a first-name basis and are readily available to help students when needed. Webster Athens is dedicated to excellence in business teaching, incorporating a global business perspective throughout the curriculum. Every step of the way, students receive the attention and support they need to thrive in business.

Webster Athens offers a fantastic MBA program in a flexible structure which promotes academic depth and encourages business graduate students to explore diverse business interests. At Webster Athens, students have opportunities to build skills and competencies through study trips, conferences, and internships. On the campus, students study in a culturally diverse environment that will create a life-long international network.

Vasilis Botopoulos, Chancellor of Webster Athens, points out: As we look to the future one thing is certain – knowledge will be a key resource and will be highly sought-after around the world. Our challenge is to help to generate ideas that will benefit society, and to educate and train people to work in fields where they will be valued both for their specialized knowledge, and for their ability to communicate and solve problems. To meet these challenges we need to build on the alliances and collaborative partnerships the University has established with business, government, and other institutions. It is equally important that we keep close to our wider communities of interest. This will help to ensure the on-going relevance of our academic programs and the continued excellence of our teaching and learning.

The Discovery Expeditions to, at the time, Ireland, Silicon Valley and Shanghai were excellent additions to the EMBA program, according to Paul.

“Silicon Valley was very interesting from a tech point of view. Ireland was about learning about creating an environment where companies can flourish. Shanghai was a very important experience learning about other cultures and my first time to Asia.”

Looking back to his EMBA days Paul says the program shaped his management philosophy: “Managing people means orchestrating their talent and knowledge and putting them in the right place, not telling them what to do.”

Some other wisdom he picked up at IMD that he continues to live by is:

“It’s better to design a strategy 80% and then to execute it 100% than the other way around. Execution, execution, execution is what counts.”

After graduating from the EMBA with honors, Paul was recruited to work for a medical technology startup called ev3. “It was like living in a case study that we worked through at IMD. When I joined the company there were 10 people working there and when I left there were 1000,” he says of his time with ev3. He also believes that he never would have had the opportunity had it not been for his learning and networking at IMD.

He joined Sequent as a consultant in 2009 and later became Vice-President Europe. The company evolved into the passion project that he recently ended up selling in a record deal in 2016.

“One of the keys to our success was that at every board meeting we asked ourselves as a startup if we were better than the big guys in what we did, if we were moving faster. When we realized that a large company would be better at what needed to be done, we knew it was time to find an acquisition partner.”

Paul says he takes immense pride in having built up the company and that its sale was financially rewarding. But he couldn’t stay on after the acquisition because he has long been more at home in a startup culture than in a corporate setting.

So what will Paul do next? He’s looking for another startup.

The EMBA program offers a rigorous general management and leadership framework with a focus on innovation and globalization. Throughout the program, participants build on theory and frameworks from classroom sessions and Discovery Expeditions by applying these learnings in their own companies or organizational contexts.

Botopoulos notes: The greater vision of Webster Athens is to build an excellent educational experience embodying mind, body and spirit through a variety of innovative undergraduate and graduate programs. We offer a solid intellectual foundation as well as an extraordinary opportunity for personal growth and thorough understanding of the subject matter. This is learning with ethos, authenticity, cultural understanding, ecological conscience, and service to others.

Botopoulos says: At Webster Athens we cultivate and build the leaders of tomorrow.  It is our hope that our students and alumni, with ethos and filotimo, will inspire others to live their lives with dignity, integrity and compassion. I invite you to come visit our campus. If you seek learning in a way that is challenging, personal, and meaningful, we would love to have you as part of our community.

For more information, please refer to www.webster.edu.gr

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