I was thrilled to be attending the Executive Development Program at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, in 2021. In general, I am very excited and impressed with the program; it exceeded my already set high expectations. Very interesting, inspirational and motivational, the program contains specific areas like financial lessons, accounting, marketing strategy, but also a great amount of leadership classes and development of soft skills for the participants.
This year, the program was hybrid, starting in July with virtual sessions and finishing in November, with in-person lessons. The virtual sessions took place after working hours, when we were already exhausted and with limited concentration. Despite that, the professors, experts in their fields, managed to keep all our attention even virtually with many cases, interviews, stories, and so on. Throughout the virtual learning, we had sufficient time for reading assignments, preparation of the cases, absorption and digestion of the lessons and implementation of the take away points. The leadership sessions left a deep impression on me. The most remarkable part of the leadership session was Harry Kraemer’s class. I have read some of his books, watched his tutorials and have been familiar with his work for a long time. It is always nice to hear his thoughts about life balance and development of leadership skills. Marketing sessions made a big impression on me, too, because they were filled with real cases and with interviews with people who were actually involved in the cases. We resumed strengthening our knowledge on finances. For part of the participants, it may have had a direct impact on the job, but for me, it just deepened my general understanding of finance.
On the other hand, the last module, which took place in-person in Evanston, was an incredible experience. We enjoyed an American experience; learned a lot from our American friends in the group, became aware of diversity in the organizational functionality due to culture and habits. The program was intensive and organized in a remarkable manner. The professors used extraordinary ways of teaching, stimulating interactive classes. We also learned a lot from mutual discussions among the participants, about everyday challenges and obstacles, during mingling and social networking time.
During the program, I also worked with a personal development coach. At the beginning of the sessions, I felt like I was the only one who talks. Like being in a therapy session. My coach just jumped in my monologues for short questions from time to time. Contrary to what I expected a coaching session would be, the agreed topics of each session weren’t discussed and explained by the coach. Although when I put some thought to it, I think that it was the way to go. While I was loudly speaking, I started to see the problem and the situation from another perspective. With the questions asked, the coach led me towards conclusions, which is a requirement in order to achieve certain improvements.
The whole process of application, selection and communication was organized very smoothly and precisely, especially thanks to the support given by Macedonia 2025.
This journey was very refreshing and critical for my personal and professional growth. I am immensely grateful for this development opportunity.
One of the take away messages from the program that we should have in mind: The day you will stop learning you will stop growing! You can be cozy or you can fly!
To anyone reading these lines and thinking about taking on this incredible program I would like to clearly say, go for it! It will probably be an unforgettable experience benefiting your business skills greatly. It’s also a once in a life time opportunity to meet likeminded people in a place which produced more than 20 Nobel laureates.
Participant: Jelena Lazova, Deputy Director of Research and Development Department
Company: ALKALOID AD Skopje