We hear again and again from students and alumni that one of their top reasons for choosing Rotman is our expertise in leadership training. Being a great leader and being a great manager are two very different pieces. We take pride in helping managers and executives become powerful leaders using a personal approach. With that in mind, we sat down with Associate Professor Scott Rutherford who is truly an expert in leadership training.
Associate professor Rutherford teaches courses in leadership and management consulting, business problem solving and integrative thinking. Additionally, he works with McKinsey & Company and their clients on topics such as Leadership Development and Top Team Strategy & Alignment. But one piece we were particularly interested in was Rotman’s Leadership Development Program, which is available to students in Rotman’s Executive MBA programs: the One-year Executive MBA, the Global Executive MBA and the new Global Executive MBA for Healthcare and the Life Sciences.
Rotman: Tell us about the Leadership Development Program.
Rutherford: The Leadership Development Program at Rotman provides some important connective-tissue between curricular and co-curricular offerings. It helps students leverage their concurrent work experiences and integrate what they are learning into a coherent, informed and intentional journey of professional and personal development.
Rutherford: The work of the program is spread across the entire Executive MBA experience, but the cornerstone of the program is a two day, offsite residential Leadership Retreat that helps to catalyze and accelerate the transformational leadership development journey that the students have embarked upon.
Rotman: What kind of impact can students expect as an outcome of the program?
Rutherford: Executive MBA students will learn an amazing number of new and valuable ideas and concepts, and also practice new skills. The real impact of the Leadership Development Program extends these new ways of thinking and doing into new ways of being. They learn new ways of showing up in the room and in the world.
Rutherford: We encourage students to step back from their success so far in life, take stock, and give themselves permission to step into a new sense of professional identity and become more the leader that they aspire to become.
Rotman: How does the Leadership Development Program tie back into everything else students will learn during their Executive MBA?
Rutherford: In a way, everything students will do during their Executive MBA experience at Rotman will be part of their Leadership Development Program. That is, one definition of leadership is the ability to bring about a desired future for oneself and others. Therefore at the very beginning of their Rotman experience, we ask students to imagine and articulate their desired future as a result of this period of intense work and study at this point in their lives.
One definition of leadership is the ability to bring about a desired future for oneself and others.
Rutherford: The rest of the Leadership Development Program, and indeed the MBA itself, is focused on helping students bring about their desired future by offering new ways of thinking, acting and being. We do that by providing rich learning and experiences with regular developmental feedback and, most importantly, supporting the active co-development of the entire cohort through sharing of experiences, challenges and successes.
Rotman: You’ve been running the Leadership Development Program for a few years now. Can you tell us about some of the tangible changes you’ve seen in students and alumni?
Rutherford: The tangible changes we’ve seen to date from this program include accelerated career progression, successful transitions to new regions, countries and industries, and many other key indicators of professional growth and development.
Rutherford: I’m particularly proud of those students that have extended their leadership development success from the professional space into their broader ‘life’ space, and feel in a much better place not just at work, but at home and in other life pursuits. I believe these students are now more inspiring to others by becoming more inspired themselves.