Peer Talk Profile: Bill Mairson
Booth: Why do you think it’s important that professionals find new learning opportunities and acquire new skills?
Mairson: The business environment changes at the speed of innovation, so the need for professionals to keep up with an ever-changing business environment becomes imperative if they want to remain successful.
Booth: What inspired you to seek out an Executive Education course at Chicago Booth?
Mairson: I am a lifelong student and always looking for opportunities to learn more about the ideas, methods, and tools that are driving business today. I had the option of attending any of the top tier business schools, but for me Chicago Booth was the only choice. Booth has an excellent reputation for providing students with cutting-edge information that can be immediately applied. So far, I’ve found this to be true.
Booth: What are two or three key concepts that you were able to take away from the Advanced Management Program that you think will be valuable for the remainder of your career?
Mairson: Of particular note I found that our first course—which was Harry Davis’ discussion on Personal Impact—was both insightful and effective for bringing about a desired change. I’ve successfully used Harry’s approach several times and I now mentor others to follow suit.
I also found that in the Advanced Strategy Program, we received tools to conduct honest self-examinations of ourselves as a business—why we are doing well, or not so well. That self-examination is a strategic imperative that cannot be ignored and must occur routinely.
Booth: Before you came to Booth, what were some of the challenges you were facing in your work that led you to the Advanced Management Program?
Mairson: I work in an environment where very diverse scientific and R&D operations occur on a daily basis. The mindsets that drive these operations also vary, in terms of how a given operation is approached, implemented, monitored, and completed.
Such a diverse operation, if not properly managed, can present operational inconsistency across the institution, setting the stage for operational upsets and impacts.
Booth: How do you think the program prepared you to better meet those challenges in the future?
Mairson: The program has provided both the tools and current insights for effectively approaching and sustaining a partnership with other leaders and organizations who might not be aware or aligned with the more global and critical short- and long-term objectives of the institution.
Booth: The Advanced Management Program is flexible and consists of six nonconsecutive weeklong courses. What courses helped you the most in your day-today?
Mairson: Every AMP course that I’ve taken has been exceptional. The one in particular that I found to be very beneficial was High-Performance Leadership. This course requires that you come prepared with a current work challenge. The professors and classmates then work with you in great detail to flush out potential solutions.
For me, the result was an innovative approach to begin resolving what was, at the time, an institutional challenge. When I returned home, I led the implementation of the proposed solution and experienced a successful outcome.
Booth: What was your impression of the faculty members teaching your courses?
Mairson: Not only is each outstanding in their respective field of study, but they all bring a wealth of personal experience from having worked outside of academia. All faculty members were able to present their information in a way that was engaging and intuitive.
Booth: Why should others considering enrolling in the Advanced Management Program?
Mairson: For anyone who’s interested in remaining on the leading edge of the most current business information, and who wishes to engage in data-driven discussions with proven business leaders, Booth’s Advance Management Program is a great program to take.