Q. What did you hope to accomplish in AMP?
When I came to AMP, I looked forward to taking a break from daily life at the office, gaining time to reflect and build new relationships. I also wanted to celebrate what I had accomplished in my journey from technical specialist to leader of a large business—we all need to do that. I had a general idea of what I wanted to achieve during AMP, but quickly realized that the program offered so much more than I ever expected. There was such a depth of information to draw on, many different experiences and exposures, as well as awesome people bringing their own diverse knowledge and cultures. The insight and learning surpassed all my expectations!
Q. How would you describe the AMP learning experience?
Describing the elements of AMP—the individual modules, lectures, great guest speakers, and even the relationships you develop—doesn't capture the whole experience. The essence of the program is about bringing all of these learnings from different disciplines together to form a fresh view of the world, your environment, your relationships, and yourself as a leader.
I gradually realized how intertwined all aspects of the program were, and that enabled me to start drawing on the various takeaways from the different modules. The faculty gave us clues about how to pull it together; but at the end of the day, each of us had to do that individually. That was one important takeaway for me—everything is linked. And if you can see those links and make them your own, the value of the program unfolds in the most spectacular way.
Q. How did your living group enhance AMP?
Working with the living group is a great learning experience and lots of fun. It cements relationships that will last forever. In many ways, that small group replicates our daily professional environment. We needed to work together as a team to prepare for class. Our group had one woman and seven men, who represented eight industries and eight countries, all of which created an interesting and stimulating dynamic, much like the workplace. We got to know each other well. Everyone observed one another’s interactions and was in a unique position to provide helpful feedback about our approach toward others, our strengths, and our blind spots.
In addition, exposure to industry perspectives that differ from my own was invaluable. As a banker, I tend to see things through a specific lens. But as I talked with people about some particular aspect of a case, I realized that there are many different approaches to the same problem. Sharing how it looked from their perspectives certainly opened my mind to just how different—and similar—people are.
Our group will definitely continue to meet. The emotional bond is deep, and we often share thoughts and experiences on WhatsApp. For those who have never shared eight weeks with others in such close proximity, it will be difficult to comprehend the level of friendship and trust that can develop. When the program ended, people were already arguing about which country we’d meet in first!
Q. What role did the guest speakers play in your learning?
Incorporating guest speakers into the program made a real difference. I imagine very few business schools would be able to draw from so many experts and CEOs. Hearing from the guest speakers forced me to analyze my own view of leadership more closely, both in how I would like to be led and in how I am leading.
Q. How has AMP changed you?
My AMP experience changed the way I approach just about every aspect of my life, both professionally and in closer personal relationships. I now look at everything through a completely different lens and have thought deeply about my contribution to society. AMP also reshaped the way I think about myself as a leader. I have much more appreciation for how difficult it is to be an effective leader, my impact on others, and how to foster the best in those around me. Now I’m asking many more questions and am encouraging a thorough discussion prior to making a decision. I'm also less critical of the leaders around me—and a bit less critical of myself as well.
Q.What would you say to other executives thinking about attending the program?
It's impossible to describe the enormous value of gaining a very different perspective on your life. If you are even considering attending, then just go! My first suggestion is not to be too specific in what you want to achieve, because the program offers so much more.
AMP is an ideal opportunity to learn a great deal about yourself and form very precious relationships. The faculty and the curriculum will stretch your leadership capacity and make you do things you did not think you could or wanted to do. You will step up and have a great experience.