Think Like a CEO in Class to Win on the Job

by Mike DeCoste, MBA ’12

Mike DeCoste, MBA '12

Mike DeCoste, MBA ’12, reflects on some of the ways Johnson helped prepare him for success

As a Spring 2011 student of and Spring 2012 Teaching Assistant of Management Cases and Problem Solving Process, I may be somewhat biased in the following thought: this course is one of the most instrumental at Johnson in preparing MBA students for internship and long-term career success. Taught by Nathan Peck – who brings decades of real-world consulting experience at KPMG and McKinsey – the class prepares students in three critical ways:

Orients Students with a CEO Perspective: Students are drilled to think with a CEO perspective through weekly case work and a semester-long team case that challenge them to postulate actionable recommendations supported by rigorous quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Drives Clear, Concise Thinking: Students must defend their work in class to a jury of their peers who present a barrage of questions. The setting can be intimidating at first, but soon builds students’ abilities to communicate ideas effectively and convincingly to an audience.

Provides a Constant Feedback Loop: Every week students are provided detailed feedback on their case analysis and in-class presentations. With such attention to student’s analytical and communication skills, the class is unparalleled (in one man’s opinion) in its development of students in a semester-long classroom setting.

In my short time as an Assistant Brand Manager at a leading consumer packaged goods company, I have already leveraged the tools honed in Management Cases. The most fundamentally important skill in my job – which, really, is common throughout any profession – is the ability to communicate effectively. I have been equipped with the skills to do just that.

I highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in consulting, general management, marketing, operations or any other field in which air-tight analysis and strong presentation skills are a must (and if you’ve read this far, you’d realize I think that means everyone!).

During this academic year, current students and some of my fellow alumni will provide their perspectives and experiences right on this page. They’ll bring the student experience to life and will explain how they have learned to communicate effectively, to look for the “so what?” in solving business issues, and to think like a CEO.

Be sure to check back often for more posts!