From Operations to CEO

Operations is most common background for S&P 500 CEOs

  • For the second year in a row, executive search firm Spencer Stuart found that Operations (31%) was the most common functional role prior to becoming CEO.
  • Wisconsin tied with Harvard as having most alumni serving as CEOs.

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Career Tracks

The thread that unites students in the OTM program is the interest in operations and the development and application of technology to products, services, and processes. This is true regardless of whether past degrees have been in engineering, biotechnology, computer science or business (to name a few). Starting positions are naturally dependent on interest and previous work experience.

The OTM program is built on the notion that managers involved with operations and/or technology need to have a broad understanding of business. It provides an education where comprehensive management training complements previous knowledge and skills.

The OTM program differs from traditional MBA programs in that the curriculum focuses on course work relevant to the management of operations and technology. Some of program’s unique features include:

  • Flexibility: Courses can be taken outside of the School of Business (e.g., in engineering, law, science, etc.). Our intention is to tailor your MBA based on your unique knowledge, skills and career aspirations.
  • Breadth: Students are presented with many opportunities to work directly with business and non-business graduates and professionals on class assignments and during professional development activities.
  • Applicability: Since theory and practice are addressed through required and elective project-based courses where students work in teams on industry problems, our OTM MBAs are ready to be out in front on day one.

The Operations and Technology Management program is administered by the Erdman Center . Through this center, students get exposure to industry leadership and are provided a home within the Wisconsin MBA .

A multi-disciplinary Academic Advisory Board consisting of faculty from both business and engineering governs the Erdman Center. The Executive Advisory Board provides guidance and assistance with professional development programming, curriculum development, internships, paid project assistantships, and other matters. Its members commonly serve as mentors, participate in mock interviews and lead monthly roundtable discussions. The Board meets formally twice a year. These meetings are also opportunities for OTM students to meet board members, alumni, faculty, and school staff.

The Erdman Center community fosters the development of a strong network and a comfortable and inviting work environment. Work space, computers and other office equipment are readily available and individual attention in matters involving career, study plans, campus life, contacts, etc., are offered and shared.

For examples of companies recruiting OTM students, see placement statistics.