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Speakers in Hambrick’s management course embody, reinforce the lessons learned

November 1, 2017

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Greg Stock (MBA '91) is the chairman and CEO of Zenoss, a hybrid IT monitoring and analytics software company in Austin, Texas. He has spoken in Management 531 for 12 consecutive years.
Penn State Smeal College of Business professor Donald Hambrick is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of top management. Perhaps it’s not surprising then that his work researching executives in the boardroom has influenced the kinds of speakers he brings into the classroom.

Hambrick, an Evan Pugh University Professor and Smeal Chaired Professor of Management, looks for just the right fit when considering executives to invite to address his Management 531 course. 

“It’s important for students to hear about executives applying the principles they learned in this classroom. It’s highly valuable if they are alums. I want the speakers my students hear to be real and serve an aspirational function,” he said. 

This year, those speakers were Greg Stock (MBA ’91), chairman and CEO of Zenoss, a hybrid IT monitoring and analytics software company in Austin, Texas, and Suzanne Jones (EMBA ’10), vice president of The Hershey Experience at The Hershey Company. 

For Stock, it was the 12th consecutive year he has presented a case study in Hambrick’s class. 

“Students find Greg very energizing and relatable. His case studies have become almost legendary,” Hambrick said.

Jones spoke for the second year in a row and her message had to be music to Hambrick’s ears. 

“I use the things I learned in this classroom all the time,” Jones told the second-year MBA students. 

That’s exactly the point that Hambrick is trying to get across to his current students with his selection of former students who have ascended into leadership positions. 

“It’s important to hear that our graduates who are now executives are applying the principles we learn in this course,” he said. “Greg and Suzanne hit the sweet spot for me. They are successful graduates that current students can relate to and emulate.”

Management 531 focuses on strategy implementation and organizational change. Both Stock and Jones presented real-life cases that reflected situations that arose from their own professional experiences. 

Hambrick is the ideal professor for the course. He is the author of numerous articles, chapters, and books on the topics of strategy formulation, strategy implementation, executive staffing and incentives, and the composition and processes of top management teams. He has also written two oft-cited books on top leadership and a widely-noted worldwide study of executive leadership, Reinventing the CEO. 

Since Management 531 emphasizes application and practice of strategy implementation, it is one of the most popular Smeal MBA Program electives. It is relevant for a broad array of students, including those hoping to be managers, consultants, investors, and entrepreneurs. 

For the Smeal Executive MBA Program, the course is almost required, as most students are in or aspire to top management positions.

“I work really hard to make everything highly practical,” Hambrick said. “I try to highlight practicality, perspective, and philosophy of managers and leaders at all levels. I want students to have a broadened appreciation of leadership.” 

Applications for August 2018 are currently being accepted for Smeal’s MBA and Executive MBA Programs.

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