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EMBA insights

This year’s plenary speakers can help you gain a better understanding of EMBA from the perspective of its alumni; insights into shared value and its integration into business strategy from a leader in its development; and a deep dive into thinking bigger, which can help you navigate the trickiest of circumstances.

QUICK SPEAKER GUIDE
Alumni Speak: How EMBA Helps and How It Can Do More

Brendan Downing
President, XSELL Technologies
Aurora Martinez
COO and Managing Director, Gamelearn
Corbin Norman
Performance Marketer, Bunq
Rachel Parent
Head of Enterprise Change, T. Rowe Price

Shared Value: Why It Makes a Difference and How It Fits in Your Program

Mark R. Kramer
Founder and Managing Director, FSG Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School

Experiences in the Future: Robot or Human, Human or Robot?

Bernd Schmitt
Robert D. Calkins Professor of International Business and Faculty Director, Center on Global Brand Leadership, Columbia Business School
Alumni Speak: How EMBA Helps and How It Can Do More
PANEL
Brendan Downing, President, XSELL Technologies
Aurora Martinez, COO and Managing Director, Gamelearn
Corbin Norman, Performance Marketer, Bunq
Rachel Parent, Head of Enterprise Change, T. Rowe Price

In this panel, four C-suite EMBA alumni from diverse organizations discuss what the EMBA experience meant to them–to the next steps in their careers, to their current leadership roles, and to their future goals. They also will share their perspectives on the ways that programs can best prepare today and tomorrow’s EMBA students for the future, whether through academic curriculum or co-curricular experiences, and talk about how those perspectives might impact EMBA’s evolution.

Alumni stars

Brendan Downing

President of XSELL Technologies, a high-growth consumer-engagement software company, Brendan Downing understands entrepreneurship well. He previously founded and served as CEO of Falcon Consulting Group, a 140-person consultancy with a focus on helping large health systems implement and optimize technology products. He sold the company in 2016 to Avvap.

He began his career at Epic Systems Corporation, where he led several high-visibility projects as a project manager implementing Epic’s revenue cycle applications. He received his MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Maryland – College Park.

Aurora Martinez

Aurora Martinez spent the majority of her career in executive leadership positions for two of the world's largest education technology and services companies, McGraw-Hill and Pearson Education, and for a ‘rising star,’ Curriculum Associates. She applied the skills she learned about entrepreneurship and start-ups at Curriculum Associates, during her time at Trinity Education as senior vice president, and as founder and CEO of EVERLEARNING. She currently serves as COO and managing director at Gamelearn, a pioneering technology company dedicated to providing game-based learning solutions for the corporate training industry.

She describes herself as “always curious about learning new things, passionate about innovation, and a believer in making education simple and accessible to all through innovations in learning.” Her specialties include general management, corporate strategy, P&L, M&A, strategic partnerships, digital transformation, product development, customer experience, and team-building.

Corbin Norman

Corbin Norman’s career spans many industries – music, technology, government, healthcare, and consumer retail. He started as a trumpeter for marching, symphonic, and jazz ensembles.  He moved to start-ups in technology and healthcare before entering politics as the Virginia Fellowship Program Director for Organizing for Action, where he worked with community leaders to implement strategic issue campaigns.

Norman returned to entrepreneurship, launching kweliTV Inc., a video streaming platform for the global black community and later building entrepreneurial ecosystems in startup hubs in Eastern Europe. Currently, he serves as a performance marketer for Bunq, a revolutionary mobile bank, as well as Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Startupbootcamp and an advisor to Macedonian startup QPick. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Jackson State University and his MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.

Rachel (Rae) Parent

Rachel (Rae) Parent recently started at T. Rowe Price as the Head of Enterprise Change. At T. Rowe Price, Rae leads a team that is the driving force behind the execution of an ambitious strategic transformation agenda developed in response to shifting industry dynamics. She previously was corporate chief information officer for MassMutual, overseeing the technologies that support finance, risk, investment management, HR, law, audit, compliance, technology, and employee productivity. In her six years with the company, she served in business and technology roles of increasing accountability where architecting and delivering process and technology transformation were key to achieving strategic objectives, including chief of staff to the president of MassMutual's U.S. businesses and head of operations and technology for MassMutual Investment Management.

Parent began her career as a technologist in Accenture's Energy Trading and Risk Management practice. Before joining MassMutual, she led strategic planning and execution for The Hartford’s Wealth Management division and Investment Management organizations. She serves on the boards of the MassMutual Foundation, the Young Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, and the Academy Hill School. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Villanova University and her MBA from Northwestern University.

Shared Value: Why It Makes a Difference and How It Fits in Your Program
Mark R. Kramer
Founder and Managing Director, FSG
Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School
Mark R. Kramer

Learn more about the power of shared value to drive business and stimulate social progress – and the ways that EMBA Programs can share this cutting-edge concept with students to help advance their leadership development.

With a shared value approach, businesses marshal their resources to pursue not only financial success but also to generate benefits for society. By looking through the lens of shared value, corporations bolster their brand by demonstrating interest in the greater good of the community, which, in turn, helps strengthen their marketplace position. In turn, big societal issues, for example climate change, require the expertise and commitment of business to develop and implement effective solutions.

Creating shared value (CSV) represents another way for business to engage with society by finding business opportunities and competitive advantage in addressing important societal problems. CSV does not replace philanthropy or corporate social responsibility, and unlike environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, CSV tackles one or a few key social issues that the company can materially impact and that can contribute to its economic success. CSV focuses on innovation and competitive differentiation within an industry rather than mitigation of harm, license to operate, or accountability to stakeholders.

In this plenary, one of the architects of shared value will look more closely at the strategic competitive edge that shared value offers businesses, its impact, and its place in the EMBA experience.

Thought leader

Mark Kramer co-founded FSG with Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter in 1999. Currently a 160-person global social impact consulting firm, FSG includes the Shared Value Initiative and the Collective Impact Forum, a partnership with the Aspen Institute for Community Solutions. 

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Kramer has co-authored seminal articles on shared value in the Harvard Business Review (Creating Shared Value) and in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (Collective Impact and Catalytic Philanthropy). He has led more than 100 consulting projects throughout the world for FSG, with a particular focus on corporate opportunities to create shared value. He has worked closely with senior executives at many of the world’s largest corporations in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, and Asia and in diverse industries, including financial services, consumer products, extractives, and health.

A prolific author and regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review and the Stanford Social Innovation Review, he frequently lectures at global conferences and has co-authored multiple Harvard Business School case studies on creating shared value.

He also is a senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a visiting lecturer at Harvard Business School where he teaches both MBA and executive education courses on creating shared value. He also teaches at the Haas Business School at the University of California, Berkeley.

Before founding FSG, Kramer served as president of the private equity firm Kramer Capital Management and as an associate at the law firm of Ropes & Gray. A summa cum laude graduate of Brandeis University, he received his MBA from The Wharton School, and a juris doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

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Experiences in the Future: Robot or Human, Human or Robot?
Bernd Schmitt
Robert D. Calkins Professor of International Business and Faculty Director, Center on Global Brand Leadership, Columbia Business School
Bernd Schmitt

With the super-fast pace of technological change, you don’t want to get left behind. Indeed, you want to put technology to work on your behalf, to strengthen your program and your ability to offer EMBA students the best possible educational experience.

During the last 20 years, the digital revolution has radically changed how we live and work.  Emerging technologies, such as the internet of things, augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and robotics, are on the rise. We are entering a new wave of this revolution that promises even more radical change to our personal and work lives. 

In this session, Bernd Schmitt provides an overview of the transformation to come and presents insights from his research on how robots are perceived and what it means to be human.

Influential business thinker

The Robert D. Calkins Professor of International Business and Faculty Director of the Center on Global Brand Leadership at Columbia Business School in New York, Bernd Schmitt teaches an international seminar in Munich for Columbia’s EMBA Program.

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Widely recognized for his major contributions to branding and marketing through his unique focus on the customer experience and innovation, he has published in the major marketing journals and written nine books. Translated into 25 languages, those books include, among others, Experiential Marketing, Customer Experience Management, Big Think Strategy, and Happy Customers Everywhere.

In addition, Schmitt has consulted and developed brand, and experience and innovation strategies for clients in consumer package goods, automobile, electronics, software, financial services, pharmaceuticals, beauty and cosmetics, hospitality, and media industries. Schmitt founded the Center on Global Brand Leadership, which focuses on the interface of brands, innovation, and technology. He received his PhD in psychology from Cornell University.

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He also helps executives on their learning journey as a professor at Nyenrode Business University and adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s executive doctoral program for chief learning officers.

As an internationally known thought leader in human capital development, van Dam has written articles and has contributed to articles in The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, Business Week, The India Times, Information Week, Management Consulting, CLO Magazine, and T+D Magazine. He has authored and co-authored more than 17 books and numerous articles on innovation in learning and leadership development.

He received the 2012 Lifetime Learning Leadership Award from The MASIE Center, a think tank on workforce education and performance. Under the patrons of the European Parliament Federal Ministry of Education & Research, he received the 2013 Leonardo European Corporate Learning Award for shaping the future of organizational learning and leadership development. He also founded the e-Learning for Kids, a global non-profit foundation that has provided digital lessons for more than 20 million underprivileged elementary school children.

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