Representatives from Bradley University, Caterpillar, University of Cambridge and Peking University gathered at a Caterpillar facility in Dec. 2011.
By Abby Rhodes
February 14, 2012
For more than 20 years, Caterpillar has been sending its supervisors to Bradley University to receive customized leadership training in an intensive, five-module business and leadership certificate program. Now, two of the world's most highly respected universities have joined the partnership, putting Bradley's academic model to work across the globe.
England's University of Cambridge and China's Peking University now offer Caterpillar's “Powering Up” program to the corporation's supervisors located abroad. Each institution serves one of three geographic spheres designated by Caterpillar in its Leadership Excellence in Accountability and Development program. As the sole institution serving the Americas, Bradley's program attracts trainees from across the United States and throughout North and South America.
“It is a great honor for us to partner with these prestigious institutions in serving Caterpillar all around the world,” said Dr. Robert Scott, interim dean of the Foster College of Business Administration, who is one of the program's forefathers. The program has undergone two name changes since its inception in 1991, but the goal has been consistent: accelerate leadership development through instruction in economics, finance, organizational management, marketing and business strategy. Bradley's program is completely customer-driven. Faculty consult with Caterpillar subject matter experts annually to align the curriculum with Caterpillar's strategic initiatives.
According to Chris Kreuser, global manager of Caterpillar's Global People and Organizational Development unit, because of the long partnership between Bradley and Caterpillar, Bradley has come to know the Caterpillar business very well. That knowledge informs customized instruction that helps participants converge business acumen with their functional expertise to be more effective, productive leaders.
“What we really like about the program is that our employees have the opportunity to interface with Bradley's world-class faculty and the networking that goes on between the class participants and the alumni who have previously gone through the program,” Kreuser said.
Jordan Levitt, technical manager with Caterpillar's Advanced Components & Systems Division, is one of the program's 1,200 alumni.
“It was great because we had just started a systems integration initiative and part of it was really putting ourselves in our customers' shoes to see what they struggle with, what they need day-to-day and how we can be part of their solutions,” Levitt said. “The class forced us to take a step back and think about how to best market our products and meet our customers' demands.” Levitt now serves as a mentor for members of his team who participate in Powering Up. Thanks to technology incorporated into the program last year, Levitt and other participant supervisors can utilize live webcams to join class discussions and view presentations from remote locations.
“The opportunity for that kind of networking will be even more valuable as we expand the program globally,” Kreuser said. “It's very exciting to work with Bradley in developing this outstanding program into a global consortium that addresses Caterpillar's global footprint from a leadership perspective.”