On an early March evening in downtown Chicago, a group of business leaders gathered to hear the behind-the-scenes deal-making that led to Kraft Food’s hostile takeover of Cadbury. The merger itself happened more than a year ago, but this was their chance to find out the details from the team that led the takeover in January 2010, and learn some valuable management lessons in the process.
The attendees were alumni of the Notre Dame Executive MBA program, and the occasion was a meeting of the Notre Dame Conversations on Leadership and Ethics (NDCLE). The group was formed by alumni of the 2010 Executive MBA program in order to provide a way for graduates to continue their business education even after they’ve started careers. The discussion group grew out of the students’ desire to continue the great conversations they had in and out of class, said Jay Vincent (’10 EMBA), senior vice president for business development with the Saint Consulting Group.
The group meets monthly at Notre Dame’s Chicago Commons located in the Santa Fe Building, tackling a different topic each quarter.
Suggested readings are posted online ahead of the meetings, which typically occur the second Thursday every month from 6 to 9 p.m. The final meeting each quarter features a guest speaker or panel. In addition to Kraft Foods, panelists and speakers include Matt Walsh of the Walsh Group, who lead a conversation on navigating the recession, and Tom Giacomini, CEO of Dover Industrial Products.
One of the group’s founders, Todd W. Arbuckle, a senior vice president at JP Morgan Securities, said he hopes the group will raise the bar for ethical leadership in the business world. Personally speaking, he also envisioned the NDCLE as providing a meeting place where alums can have “serious conversations” about the challenges of leadership.
Also involved in creating the group were fellow 2010 EMBAs Jon Hahner, senior project manager, Fifth Third Bank; Kyle Bellin, vice president and information security officer, Banco Popular North America; Jeff Hasselman, venture debt associate, MMV Financial.
Arbuckle credits Mendoza College of Business staff for supporting the group’s efforts. Joe Holt, Executive Ethics Program director and concurrent executive education instructor, served as a moderator or conversation leader at most of the group’s sessions; Paul Velasco, director of executive degree programs, assisted the group in gaining access to the Chicago Commons space; and Kim Patton, alumni relations program director, continues to publicize the program.
For a meeting schedule and more information, visit the group’s blog at www.ndcle.org
Offering lifelong-learning opportunites to Mendoza alumni has become a priority for the Graduate Alumni Relations office. Earlier this year, Graduate Alumni Relations brought Chicago-area alumni together at Notre Dame’s Chicago Commons for a seminar on doing business in emerging markets. The event was sponsored by Aurora Investment Management and Equity International.
Lifelong-learning efforts also provide alumni a connection back to campus. Links to current faculty research and faculty experts, as well as information about Executive Education program offerings are shared with alumni through The Rally, the Graduate Alumni Relations newsletter and are available on the Graduate Alumni website or viaFacebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Events are being planned for Fall 2011. As details are finalized, information will be available on the Graduate Alumni Relations website.