Executive Development and Teaching


One of the most important roles of a faculty member is to help shape the way executives look at business issues around them - even though this dimension sadly is under-emphasized in many of the top B-Schools of late. My own teaching focuses on executives; while I taught MBA students at Wharton and in my first year at LBS, I have since focused on the executive audiences, whether in degree programmes (Sloan Fellows and Executive MBA Global) or shorter programmes (Emerging Leaders Programme, Senior Executive Programme, Developing Strategy for Value Creation, and in a substantial involvement with companies, directly and through LBS's Centre for Management Development).  This work has been recognized with the Teacher of the Year award at the Wharton School, the Innovation in Teaching Award in LBS, and the European Centre for Management Development's award for the best Custom Programme (in 2009) for Lufthansa.

My executive development interests revolve around weaving strategic decision making in the organizational fabric of the firms I work with; in helping them identify the dynamics of their business environment; and in helping managers think strategically, and innovatively. My teaching objective is to ensure that strategy, as a set of simple but robust rules and tools, gets the firm some concrete traction: As the indigenous people of Papua-New Guinea say, "knowledge is rumour until it gets in the muscle". I try, as best I can, to move beyond the big fat words that we as strategy professors (myself included) create and propagate, and link to the practical realities the executives face. I view my work as a substitute for consulting, helping executives reach their own conclusions with less external dependencies. My role is to provide some perspective, and some guidance in the process.

I try to link my current research to practice and get directly involved in strategy within organizations. This has led to thought leadership and consulting activities, as well as keynotes to corporate events, or industry meetings. My current interest, reflected in both research and teaching, is on how industries evolve and how business models and firm boundaries change (do look at my research activities, too!) For instance, in this AIM Briefing, I looked at the role of industry architectures in shaping "who does what" and "who takes what" in a sector; and in this more recent article for the Financial Times I have considered the new rules for competing in a shifting environment.

As a result of my work both on strategy tools and visualization, and on the challenges posed by shifting environment, I just published a Harvard Business Review article, which summarizes much of my work on the area, which you can access here: It tries to help companies develop effective playscripts as a means to compete in a shifting environment. A number of related teaching materials (and cases) are under development to complement this work. I am in the process of working on a complementary article for the Sloan Management Review, which looks at how firms can benefit from shaping their sector and becoming a bottleneck.

Finally, I also teach a phenomenon-driven course, motivated by the substantial interest in, and relative lack of work on the topic of turnarounds. This course highlights the links between strategy and finance (and the firms' capital structure), which are surprisingly neglected by much of contemporary strategy teaching. To give you a concrete sense of what I do in the area, please look at my elective on Managing Corporate Turnarounds- the latest syllabus can be found here.

If you want more information, please look at a brief list of my work on Executive Education within the London Business School; and at Executive Development working direct with Major Corporates. You can also see my related Thought Leadership and Consulting activities, which partly overlap with executive development, as I see my work as a means to help managers make better choices, as opposed to hooking them up to consultancy projects. Lastly, here's a list of my teaching activities in LBS, as well as in the LBS/ Columbia programme and during my days in Wharton.

© London Business School 2005