Considering executive education? Business leaders praise USD program

This piece is presented by the executive education program of the USD Beacom School of Business.

Since he joined Architecture Incorporated 10 years ago, Andrew Eitreim progressively has taken on more responsibility.

He’s now vice president and principal architect and knew that as his role changed he needed to strengthen his business knowledge and leadership skills.

Andrew Eitreim attended the Beacom Sampler in the spring of 2017.

He found a way to do it this spring, attending the daylong Beacom Sampler, an executive education program from the USD Beacom School of Business that exposed participants to a wide range of management-level topics.

“The program was tremendous,” Eitreim said. “I was really impressed with the high-quality faculty.”

At Concrete Materials, human resources director Jana Quam gave equally strong reviews.

“I was very impressed with it,” she said, adding sessions on negotiating and lean management were directly applicable to her business.

“I felt like the professors really knew their stuff,” she said. “I felt like I got a lot out of the day.”

Eitreim, Quam and countless others like them are the reason why USD Beacom launched an executive education program.

Jana Quam networks with another participant in the Beacom Sampler event this spring.

As the state’s flagship business school, USD Beacom already has a “tremendous reputation for high-quality academic programs, taught by world-class faculty,” Dean Venky Venkatachalam said, including programs nationally ranked by Princeton Review and other entities.

“We have students coming here from around the world to get highest quality learning experience at a low cost,” he said.

“But we also have a vision of becoming the school of choice for high-quality students and employers. We want to be an engine for economic development in South Dakota and the region.  Toward this aspirational goal, we  are focused on making an entry into the executive education arena.”

The school’s goal is to partner with leading businesses statewide and throughout the region to thelp them recruit and retain world-class professional and managerial talent, Venkatachalam added.

“To do this, we want to offer professionals opportunities to acquire knowledge and skills that are in high demand, utilizing our faculty who are not only great teachers but also world-class researchers.”

Executive education participants don’t have to apply to the university, and there are no grades or homework.

The plan eventually is to offer continuing education units, but for now the courses are solid resume-builders that have immediate impact in the workplace, said Linda Halliburton, director of graduate business and executive education programs at the Beacom School of Business.

“The quality of instruction is outstanding,” she said. “Our faculty can link theoretical expertise with practical experience. They are faculty we know can work well with adult learners, who have familiarity with the executives’ industries and can make those connections between theory and practice.”

This fall features a diverse and highly relevant line-up of short courses, including:

  • Developing High Performing Teams – Sept. 29.
  • Foundations of Project Management – Oct. 12 and 19.
  • Negotiating for Added Value – Oct. 27.
  • Lean Management: Create Profit in Any Industry – Nov. 3 and 10.

All courses are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University Center in Sioux Falls.

“We really feel there’s a big opportunity being missed,” said Scott Sletten, CEO of JDS Industries, who serves on the business school’s advisory board. “How many graduates are there of the USD business school working in the Sioux Falls vicinity and elsewhere around the state? And once you’re done, the engagement really kind of ceases right now. We thought there’s a great opportunity to continue involvement.”

Participants at the spring Beacom Sampler executive education event.

Sletten credits Dean Venkatachalam for launching the executive education program.

“One of the things the dean wanted to do was really have the business school connect more with the business community here in Sioux Falls and elsewhere. And with the business world and technology changing, this is a great opportunity to utilize professors at USD who are up on the trends and can help the business community,” Sletten said.

He and five of his senior leaders attended the Beacom Sampler. His team will have the opportunity to go to additional classes this fall, he said.

“Everyone learned something at all the sessions and really appreciated the opportunity to go. You’re interacting with other businesspeople and sharing ideas and practices,” he said. “And when two people hear the same conversation, it gives you an opportunity in your business to talk about it afterward.”

The topics are “very practical things needed in the business world,” Sletten added.

“I don’t think they’re completely new skills, but it helps point you in directions you might need to learn more about, either a new concept or sharpening your toolbox.”

Back at Architecture Incorporated, Eitreim already is looking at options for attending full-day sessions this fall.

“The convenience of being able to access these high-quality courses right in Sioux Falls at the University Center is a great opportunity and something people should consider taking advantage of,” he said.

At Concrete Materials, Quam is “definitely looking at going back and doing more,” she said. “I give it high marks. I got a lot out of it.”

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Considering executive education? Business leaders praise USD program

USD Beacom School of Business wants to help businesses recruit and retain world-class talent. That includes offering ongoing education for front-line managers through top executives. Here’s how to get involved.

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