Executive Education

Executive Program for Emerging Leaders

The Chicago Booth Executive Program for Emerging Leaders (EPEL) is designed for University of Chicago staff with high potential. It will deliver new approaches to leadership development, build and develop high-performance teams, manage cross-functional and cross-organizational relationships, and craft strategy. This program will benefit staff responsible for improving the performance of their organizational unit, as well as contributing to the University of Chicago's broader strategic goals.

The program content goes beyond training in the administrative operations of the University. Through small group discussions and highly interactive faculty presentations, EPEL teaches participants to think beyond their own organizational unit and incorporate broader strategic considerations into their management decisions and style.

EPEL is delivered in a convenient format that minimizes disruptions to daily operations. Classes convene on Fridays for a total of 10 class days over five months.

The content is based on the University of Chicago Booth School of Business' general management and leadership programs. It features highlights from our best programs taught by our own thought-provoking faculty. This program also offers specific content sessions led by officers, vice presidents, and deans focusing on critical challenges and opportunities at the University of Chicago. 

During this seminar, you will learn to:

  •    Identify the characteristics of strategic leadership in higher education.
  •    Be better able to identify initiatives that create value.
  •    Analyze financial data and understand how funds are allocated.
  •    Understand how and when to build a strong team.
  •    Develop a strategic action plan for delivering value.
  •    Build social capital and leverage networks and the informal organization.
  •    Recognize and rise above organization boundaries.
  •    Manage across organizational boundaries.
  •    Engage others to implement important initiatives or change


Theme 1: Strategy and Decision Making

  • University of Chicago Strategy and Vision
  • Strategy for Growth
  • Decision Making and Negotiation

Theme 2: Strategic Leadership

  • Social Capital: Collaborating Across the University
  • High Performance Teams
  • Personal Leadership Agility
  • Influence and Leading Change

Theme 3:  Managerial ‘Business’ Acumen

  • Strategic Marketing
  • Topics in Finance
  • Managerial Accounting

Program Outline

Day 1

Program Introduction and Leadership Underpinnings

  • The Elements of Performance
  • Purpose-Driven & Purpose-Finding Journeys
  • Introducing the "Virtual Visits"  
  • Strengthening your action and insight skills

Day 2

Systems Thinking

  • Framework for systems thinking
  • Decision making from a systems perspective

The Power of Strategy

  • Alternative strategies for growth
  • The limits of strategy
  • Leadership’s role in strategy implementation
  • Identifying necessary capabilities for implementation

Day 3

Social Capital: Collaborating Across the University

  • How social networks create competitive advantage
  • Benefit from advantage depends on behavior and reputation
  • The social origins of your reputation & career implications

Day 4

Your Personal Leadership Brand

  • What is Your Leadership Brand and how is it perceived?
  • The value of authentic leadership
  • How do you maximize your natural talents?
  • How might your strengths be misunderstood, underutilized?
  • What are you doing to enhance your brand?
  • What are you doing that detracts from your brand and how to do less of it?
  • The gap between the perception of your personal leadership brand
  • The reality of who you are, what you stand for and how you are communicating

Day 5

Personal Leadership Agility

  • Understand how I am currently playing in my leadership role?
  • Identify how to set the stage to be more effective- what characters need to be center stage?
  • Seeing how others respond and how to influence their response
  • Adapting and growing in a new role with broader responsibilities
  • Career transitions for myself and for others

Day 6

Finance and Accounting

  • Reading and understanding financial statements
  • The three statements-income statement, balance sheet and statement of cash flows

Working in Teams

  • Common obstacles to effective team work
  • Improving group decision making

Day 7

Effective Decision Making

  • Frameworks for decision making under uncertainty
  • Understanding which decisions need to be made
  • Knowing what is a good decision
  • Identifying common decision traps

Collaborative Decision Making

  • Identifying interests
  • Finding opportunities for joint gains (win/wins) rather than zero-sum outcomes
  • Approaches to group decisions

Day 8

Strategic Marketing

  • Introduction to marketing
  • Forming and evaluating marketing strategies
  • Analysis of customers and competitors
  • Service positioning
  • Assessment of pricing and other tactics
  • Building and maintaining strong brands

Day 9

Finance and Accounting

  • Revenue recognition and expense matching
  • Sources of financing
  • Ratio analysis

Workshop on Communicating Effectively in Organizations

  • Influencing organizational behavior and success through communications
  • Elements of a sound communication plan
  • Case study to put principles into action

Day 10

Influence and Managing Change: Experiential Challenge

  • Leading large scale change efforts
  • Understanding and managing multiple stakeholders
  • Confronting resistance to change
  • Reading the organization for effective leadership
  • Working with peers to lead a change effort
  • Framework for leading change
Read Profile

Harry L. Davis

Roger L. and Rachel M. Goetz Distinguished Service Professor of Creative Management

Harry Davis teaches MBA and Executive Education courses at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he has been on the faculty since 1963. His teaching and research interests lie in the areas of strategy, leadership, creativity, and innovation.

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Gregory D. Bunch

Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship

Greg Bunch brings years of practical experience as a general manager and entrepreneur to his classes. He is the founder and president of Masterplan International Corporation. Bunch works with Fortune 50, family, and start-up businesses in the areas of innovation and strategy. He was also a partner at Brandtrust, a brand strategy consultancy. Some of the companies he has worked with include: American Express, Danaher, ETS, Harley-Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, Kimberly-Clark, McDonalds and YUM!

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Dan Adelman

Professor of Operations Management

Dan Adelman is a leading expert in management analytics, which helps companies deploy data and decision analysis to build world-class strategic and tactical management capabilities, resulting in higher profits with lower risk and competitive advantage. Dr. Adelman publishes regularly and holds editorial positions in leading academic journals.

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Susan Lucia Annunzio

President and Chief Executive Officer

Susan Lucia Annunzio is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Center for High Performance (CfHP). She is a strategic advisor to CEOs of leading global companies on strategy attainment and business transformation.

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Richard Leftwich

Fuji Bank and Heller Professor of Accounting and Finance

Richard Leftwich teaches MBA courses and executive MBA courses in financial statement analysis and financial management at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In 1994, he received the prestigious McKinsey Award for Excellence in Teaching.

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Bernd Wittenbrink

Professor of Behavioral Science

Bernd Wittenbrink has been a member of the faculty at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business since 1996. He teaches courses on organizational behavior, management and behavioral science.

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George Wu

John P. and Lillian A. Gould Professor of Behavioral Science

George Wu has been a member of the University of Chicago faculty since 1997, where he teaches MBA classes in negotiation and decision making. Professor Wu’s research is centered on decision making under risk and uncertainty. His teaching utilizes a framework to enable managers to make better decisions.

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Linda E. Ginzel

Clinical Professor of Managerial Psychology

Linda Ginzel is Clinical Professor of Managerial Psychology at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where she has been a member of the faculty since 1992.

Read Profile

Ann L. McGill

Sears Roebuck Professor of General Management, Marketing and Behavioral Science

Ann McGill joined the Chicago faculty in 1997. She teaches MBA level classes in marketing management and a doctoral level marketing workshop. Professor McGill is the 2005 recipient of the prestigious McKinsey Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Embarking on the EPEL journey has impacted me, both professionally and personally, more than I could have imagined. The opportunity to develop skills in strategic thinking, leadership, and decision-making has inspired me to approach my work with refined clarity and purpose. Perhaps the best and most surprising outcome of the program was building relationships with University-wide peers whose perspectives and experiences strengthened my understanding of and commitment to the University of Chicago mission.

— Brooke Noonan, Director, Graduate Student Affairs, The University of Chicago

EPEL wonderfully highlights the valuable contributions of University staff. Although we support and promote the faculty and academic culture of the University, this course allows a unique forum for sharing best practices and leadership ideas from a staff perspective. It also provides an appreciation for staff diversity and illustrates the consistency of the University’s mission across many departments and schools. A highlight was meeting and hearing from senior level leaders at the University. I left every class feeling more connected to the University and its mission and with a renewed appreciation for being a steward of this great institution.

— Patty Keegan, Associate Dean, Executive MBA Program North America, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

I found the Executive Program for Emerging Leaders to be tremendously valuable. The course covered a range of topics – from communications planning to creating value in negotiations to evaluating social capital to managing personal and organizational brands-and I gained new awareness and learned tools for effective leadership in all of these areas and more. What made this program outstanding for me was the participation of University leadership. It was wonderful to hear the thoughts of the provost and vice presidents on the attributes of successful leaders, and to learn about the initiatives, priorities, and values of the University in their own words. EPEL is not a course that prescribes a certain way of thinking. Instead it gave me frameworks for thinking, and provided plenty of fuel for an ongoing examination on the topic of leadership. As well, I met many smart and talented staff from across the University, and I look forward to staying connected with them and growing together in our careers.

— Stacey Shintani, Manager of Strategic Web Communications, IT Services / Web Services, The University of Chicago

I was excited about the opportunity to be part of the Booth Executive Program for Emerging Leaders since the program was designed to explore different facets of leadership. I was also excited that the program incorporates Booth Faculty who, as leaders in their field, could provide quality and engaging instruction for leaders from throughout the University community. The program offered me a rare opportunity to step back, reflect, and develop my own leadership. The Booth Program also provided me with the time and skills to look critically at my own department and think about its long-term future. The program was a great experience. It gave me a new set of tools to hone my leadership skills, introduced me to parts of the University with which I had limited familiarity, and more importantly helped me develop relationships with a talented set of colleagues who I know I could call upon to provide assistance and guidance.

— Richard J. Mason, Executive Director, UChicago Dining

The benefits of the EPEL program emerge on many different levels. First, you have the academic rigor of attending ten Chicago Booth Executive Education sessions and working through the associated case studies and group exercises. Second, it is a very unique opportunity to gain a greater appreciation for the University as a whole and expand your perspective about the University beyond your division or area of responsibility. Finally, the opportunity to connect with and get to know other peers / leaders from around the University really built a sense of professional community that I did not have outside of my division before attending the program.

— K.C. Goodell, Senior Executive Administrator, Departments of Neurology & Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, The University of Chicago Medical Center

The program is designed for University of Chicago staff members who may or may not have managerial experience but have demonstrated the potential to assume mid- to senior-level leadership positions in the future.