LAU’s EMBA students meet with auto leaders in Munich
The Adnan Kassar School of Business offers its graduate students the opportunity to directly learn from top executives in the automotive industry.
Taught by Jamal el Hout, former vice president of General Motors (GM) operations in Europe, the course is further testament to AKSOB’s innovative approach in teaching and learning.
“LAU hired me as a ‘practitioner professor,’” said el Hout, as part of the school’s general effort to bring practical experience to the classroom. With 35 years of experience at GM, el Hout believes the academic and practical teaching offered by AKSOB is “a powerful combination, allowing students to see both sides” of issues they will face throughout their careers.
The objective of the course was to help students think about their respective business models, how to present it and explain it, and make sure of its viability and profitability. Underpinning the course’s pedagogical effectiveness was the belief that “they have to actually see a business model live, because it will stick in their minds,” added el Hout.
El Hout prepped the students for the course by providing them with reading material ahead of time. Once in Munich, the budding businessmen went on a private tour of BMW’s enormous plant and were able to witness first hand the practical application of what they had read. They were also offered the unique opportunity to meet with renowned professors and prominent experts in the fields.
Former CEO of Tata Motors Carl-Peter Forster, former CEO of Opel Hans Demant, former Director of Project Accelerate at GM Europe Jeffrey Glover, former General Director of Product Planning and Innovation at Adam Opel Ralph Kraeuter, and Vice President of Marketing Sales and Service at Borgward Group Tom Anliker were some of the top auto executives that the students had the opportunity to learn from live.
The presentations covered an array of topics such as forecasting on a large scale, operations management, leadership, negotiation, conducting business globally, among others. But it was focus on the future of business in the context of the technological revolution that most impressed EMBA student Charbel Rizkallah, currently a sales and projects regional manager at Honeywell. “It changed my perspective on how the future will look and what I should do [in my business] to adapt to these rapid changes,” he said.
For fellow student Mazen Abadi, regional senior manager at KARL STORZ Endoscope, the highlight of the trip was “the exposure [he had] to the international market and how companies and corporations are surviving and meeting the increasing challenges of today’s business world.”
Both Abadi and Rizkallah plan on using the tools they learned during the course in practical ways. For the first, the model he was taught would enable him “to group ideas together and present them in a concise, straightforward manner.” Rizkallah, for his part, said “the experience boosted my motive to start my own business, in line with the learning made available to us.”
AKSOB is planning similar courses in the future, both abroad and in Lebanon, bringing together guest lecturer executives from various industries.