Executive Development Center

 

The Executive Development Center has been drawing business students to UIUC, with coursework and field visits custom-tailored to their needs, since 1957. The program is constantly growing and changing to reflect current trends.

 

T HANKS TO THE SUCCESS OF ITS INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVES, OFFERED SINCE 1977, EDC IS KNOWN WORLDWIDE.

The newest domestic program, offered for the first time in the fall of 1997, in conjunction with Partnership Illinois, the Certificate of Business Administration, drew so much interest that enrollment spilled onto a waiting list. The program — a Monday night series of ten classes in functional areas of business — continues to draw "a really interesting mix of people," according to EDC acting director Carolyn Pribble, who says that students come from cities and towns throughout the region. She is pleased by the "huge response from the community," and adds: "They appreciate the opportunity to study in our college."

The program's innovative curriculum integrates such areas as negotiation, marketing, strategy, finance, and accounting — based on the wide and varied expertise of participating faculty. (There is a different professor for almost every session.) "Our faculty are very familiar with the needs of business people — which are somewhat different from those of college students," observes program director Karyl Van Dyne. "It speaks to the fact that we all become very expert in our own fields — and we can therefore learn a lot from each other." Currently, EDC is investigating the potential for expanding the certificate program through synchronous and asynchronous learning techniques, such as video links to sites off-campus and on other campuses, and classes on the Web. "Through this new technology, we can actually have sites at companies," Van Dyne points out.

 

THROUGH THE CHINA MANAGEMENT PROGRAM, EDC HAS HOSTED MORE THAN TWENTY DELEGATIONS from the People's Republic of China since 1993. More than 550 high-level business leaders, scientists, government officials, bank directors, and academicians from every region of China have participated in these programs, which are held on the UIUC campus and vary in length from three to six weeks. The programs provide an overview of American business concepts and practices, through guest lecturers, seminars, and site visits, as well as tours and special activities. "EDC has worked closely with Chinese organizations in promoting these programs to the highest level of professionals and decision-makers in China," notes program director Virginia Waaler. "Our management training programs have had a positive and significant impact on key institutions in China, through the changes and improvements initiated by the graduates of these programs."

EDC CONTINUES TO PROVIDE:

  • Open registration programs — which include professional development seminars and general management programs, as well as the Certificate in Business Administration program and programs for international managers.
  • Custom-designed offerings for industry, associations, financial organizations, international firms, such as Saudi Aramco, the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and the Korea Banking Institute.
  • Executive education portion of the M.S. programs offered in conjunction with the accountancy, business administration, and finance departments.

OFFERED EVERY SUMMER FOR THE PAST THIRTY-FIVE YEARS AND AIMED AT MIDDLE- AND UPPER-LEVEL MANAGERS, the Executive Development Program promises a totally new experience this June. Newly refashioned and emphasizing interpersonal skills at all levels of management, the three-week program has as its theme "Leaders for the Twenty-first Century." Thanks to input from companies such as AT&T, Caterpillar, Dekalb, GM, Illinois Power, and State Farm, "We're incorporating the competencies different corporations want to develop in their executives," notes Van Dyne. "There are a lot of different levels to this program and a lot of ways people can benefit from it." Above all, she says: "We want to make it a showcase for the university."

NOVEMBER OF 1997 FOUND JIM GENTRY, IBE DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR OF FINANCE, in the Saudi Arabian city of Dhahran, near the Persian Gulf. Under the auspices of the EDC, Gentry taught two, two-day courses on credit analysis valuation to executives at Aramco headquarters. Participants were from Saudi Arabia (60 percent) and other countries (40 percent), including Europe and Australia, as well as the U.S. "It was a unique international experience," Gentry recalls. "And the Aramco facilities are really beautiful."

Tamara Magrina: Muskie Scholar

L e a r n i n g , A m e r i c a n - S t y l e

Sure, it happens. But that doesn't make it easy when it happens to you. Fabulous but scary, that opportunity arises. It will never arise again. And so you fly off into the unknown.

For Tamara Magrina, the chance to come to Commerce for a year and earn an MSBA (Master of Science in Business Administration for International Managers) didn't just mean leaving behind her comfortable job and her secure circle of friends. It meant winging off from her native Ukraine to a faraway land — the remote and mysterious midwest region of the United States. But "because the decision was so difficult to make, the rewards have been enormous," says the 26-year-old grad student, a smile lighting up her thoughtful, pretty face. "I am enjoying it tremendously. I've met a lot of people from other cultures — especially from south Asia. By working with different people you have to try to adapt and find a consensus."

Magrina has come here on a fellowship, sponsored by the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR) and the American Council for Collaboration in Education and Language Study (ACCELS). Funded by the U.S. Information Agency, the Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program was created to offer educational opportunities to citizens of countries in the former Soviet Union. "They announced the competition in the Ukraine. American universities applied to host the students. The agency chose the finalists, and matched them with the universities," Magrina explains.

"The competition was very tough for the scholarship," she continues. "I didn't really expect that I would get it." But, among her other virtues, Magrina is modest. Fluent in English and versed in German from her undergraduate studies at Kiev Linguistic University, she began her professional life working for the South African embassy in Kiev. Later she moved on to positions with M&M/Mars, CIBA/Gigy, and Colgate/Palmolive, in the process also earning a business degree from Aggio College. "I like big companies," she says. "You're so much a part of things. There are lots of prospects, and lots of opportunities."

Now she finds herself in the midst of her biggest challenge yet. "I find the program very competitive and demanding. I like that — even though I sometimes complain. It is difficult but so interesting. And it's also quite well planned. I've even had the opportunity to take two elective courses in finance."

But faraway is still far away. "I'm nostalgic," she admits, in the lovely Oxford-accented English she learned at KLU. "I do feel isolated — it's so different from where I was." She regards herself as very fortunate to have enjoyed the company of Mary Ruth and Lowell Getz, her host family. "He was a professor — now he's writing a book. It's so exciting to me to meet someone whose expertise is so distant from what he's doing now."

And she doesn't really have much trouble staying busy. "I mainly study," she says. "Ten or twelve hours a day. When I want to relax I go to Krannert. There are wonderful performances there."

When her year at Commerce winds up, this August, she hopes to begin an internship with a multinational company. Eventually, she'll return to the Ukraine. "There are new businesses and new opportunities there. In the Soviet Union, you didn't stand much of a chance to go anywhere. Now there are new stores, new restaurants, the cultural life is booming."

And she'll meet those changes changed from within. "The point is," Magrina concludes, "you do more than you think you can. Something about this school has made me realize that. Maybe there's a limit to my possibilities, but I haven't reached it."