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Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms

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Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2010, 07:53
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I know some of this has been covered in the General Management thread, but just wanted to see if anyone has any knowledge/experience with Leadership programs at major capital goods manufacturers (Boeing, GE, Sikorsky, Cameron, Pratt & Whitney, etc). Specifically, do they primarily or only look for applicants with prior engineering experience? I'd really like to get into one of those programs in a general management or operations role, however, I have no engineering experience (I'm a military helo pilot with a liberal arts degree). If anyone can shed any light on these programs and who they look for, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2010, 10:45
Chopperin wrote:
I know some of this has been covered in the General Management thread, but just wanted to see if anyone has any knowledge/experience with Leadership programs at major capital goods manufacturers (Boeing, GE, Sikorsky, Cameron, Pratt & Whitney, etc). Specifically, do they primarily or only look for applicants with prior engineering experience? I'd really like to get into one of those programs in a general management or operations role, however, I have no engineering experience (I'm a military helo pilot with a liberal arts degree). If anyone can shed any light on these programs and who they look for, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.


I work at one of the companies you listed and while they don't require an undergraduate degree in engineering they typically hire out of mba/eng masters programs like MIT's LGO, Kellogg's MMM, & Michigan's dual degree. I've met an MBA hire at my company who happened to already have a master's degree in engineering so the mba was all he needed for the rotation. To get in to the schools' themselves for the dual degree you don't always need a bachelors in engineering just some background, like a supply chain or design role since the masters in engineering is typically a masters in engineering management.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2010, 11:17
seanyc- Thanks for the info. I am definitely interested in Michigan's Tauber Institute. As far as the other programs, I'm rather hosed since I have absolutely no supply chain or design experience either (my entire work experience has been flying helos and OIF deployments). Have you met any non-engineers in gm/ops roles at your firm?
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2010, 11:46
I will look up some information later but I think engineers make up the bulk of people going into the GM roles (LDPs) at these companies. There are corporate fin and supply chain and things like that where backgrounds are different. These companies also like former military, a good friend of mine is heading to one of those and is a former military guy. I interviewed with several companies in this area but wasn't very impressed...a friend of mine who was a senior engineer said he made more than they offer MBAs. If he went back in their LDP he would have taken a pay cut. Most just dont value the degree that much...

If they don't recruit at top schools they probably will underpay and not offer the greatest opportunities. My advice is find out who they recruit from if its Ross, Kellogg, and MIT thats a great sign...but if they are going to local schools you may want to look else where.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2010, 17:09
riverripper- Thanks for the info, that was very insightful. I do know that United Technologies recruits from MIT, Ross, Purdue, and Tepper among others and that Boeing has an internship program at Ross. Not sure about GE though, I'll definitely take your advice and look into it. Thanks again, I appreciate it.
I think you're spot on with your analysis about these firms not valuing the MBA as much. Looking at the leadership bios at these firms, most have MBA's at local schools while some don't MBA's at all (except for GE and Boeing where the CEO's went to HBS).
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2010, 19:59
Good stuff from seanyc and riverripper. I'd add the following for chopperin:

- I think what you said about MBA's being de-emphasized in your target industry sounds accurate. I think that's why the three programs that seanyc mentioned all augment it with something else. In my research over the last year, those three are the same ones that stood out, but each has a different emphasis.

Kellogg MMM has a Engineering Management portion which I think emphasizes design and isn't necessarily targeted towards a particular industry. domtri33 has posted in a while, but he's a military vet who's in his first year with that program. You don't need to have a technical background for MMM. There's a pretty good thread in the bschool ambassadors section where he discusses the program.

LGO requires a technical degree (engineering, some hard sciences, and a few others) to apply so it doesn't sound like it fits you, but is geared towards those interested in manufacturing/operations companies.

I know the least about Ross and the Tauber institute but from looking at their website it looks promising and seems to have the opportunity to gain experience with operations.

One program that isn't grad school but would offer you immediate industry experience is GE's JOLP. It's a rotational program that specifically recruits from transitioning military. The only downside is that after it's over you'll be older than the average applicant and/or more advanced in your career. Good luck!
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2010, 21:19
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I think there are two kellogg guys bother former military going UTC, naval aviator going to P&W and a helo guy going to Sikorsky. However, a lot of UTC people go to parts of the company such as Carrier and Otis, so look beyond UTC in the hiring data...I dont know if Boeing has an active program right now they were going through a lot of restructuring.

GE...well not a fan. Any program that hires 100-150 MBAs a year (not consulting/banking) and does so from schools ranging from HBS to ones you never have heard of...well thats one I would avoid. Historically they underpaid, not sure what it was like this year but in the past they were high paying for lower tier schools but if you are at an elite/ultra elite school they paid 5-15% below market for GM jobs.

If you want to go back into the helicopter area there are definitely going to be options for you since very few people at top schools have the background and want to go into it. Bell, Boeing, Sikorsky all historically hire some MBAs...or at least their parent companies do. Turbine makers (GE, P&W, Rolls Royce) also recruit for MBAs. Airlines recruit a lot, though not the most stable industry but they would probably look favorably on your background.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2010, 03:54
Gents- Once again, thanks for the info!
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2010, 10:26
Does anyone know the salaries (or range) these companies pay in their leadership development programs? Also, as I am sure 5 or 10 years out the salary is more based upon your skill (or luck), what is the compensation trend a few years after completing these programs? Thanks.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 09 Apr 2010, 11:12
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GM is often 90-110...some are significantly higher. You can get a decent idea by looking at employment reports but I think mean/median is usually 95-105 at most school, with 100k the norm. Signing bonuses range from 0-25k and some have bonus potential right away others dont have bonuses until you move up a level or two. Traditional programs usually have a set compensation level, most pay the same at all schools...some pay signficantly different between schools. Off-campus non-traditional usually have more negotiating room and can sometimes pay far more others pay far less, they also sometimes have more interestings compensation. I know of companies who pay from 85-140k and target all incompensation that range to over 150 with bonuses...which can be the biggest differentiator.

For example I know one program traditional rotation program that has a 10% target bonus meaning company meets expectations you get 10% if they dont you get zero. Where I am heading has a guaranteed bonus, then a target bonus based on company performance, if they hit I get 100% of that bonus...however if they exceed the target it goes up to potentially 250% of target bonus. It is important to remember targets usually are met and exceeded, talking with alums about those types of bonuses it seems to be extremely rare that they dont meet and that would only be at a time like 2008 when the market/economy went to complete hell.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 10 Apr 2010, 13:48
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In my experience, Aerospace & Defense tends to have minimal interest in non-engineering leadership. Most people in senior management have worked their way up from an entry-level engineering position. I think the reason you don't see very many big MBA programs at these companies is because they almost all sponsor their upcoming leaders at part-time MBA programs.

As a business undergrad working in program management, my experience has been somewhat unique. From what I've seen on various programs over the past few years, these companies really suffer from bureaucracy. I think something about mixing 100,000+ employees with cost-plus government contracts tends to create a culture of unimaginative complacency. As an ambitious MBA, you'll definitely stand out among a sea slugs, but you'll probably be deflated by the lack of open-mindedness for new ideas. That being said, there are some really sharp people at all of those companies, so it's just a matter of getting connected with the right network early on.

I'll echo what others have said about military experience. Prime contractors love ex-military hires. You should definitely leverage your clearance if you've held one.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 03:59
Avernusaur- Thanks for the insight! Do you feel my lack of an engineering degree would hurt me getting into one of these firms? I'm more interested in operations/supply chain issues, but I keep thinking since I have a social science degree, it might be looked upon negatively.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 11 Apr 2010, 16:05
Chopperin wrote:
Avernusaur- Thanks for the insight! Do you feel my lack of an engineering degree would hurt me getting into one of these firms? I'm more interested in operations/supply chain issues, but I keep thinking since I have a social science degree, it might be looked upon negatively.


Having an engineering background would definitely help you, but the lack of such background won't necessarily hurt you. Supply chain in most of those organizations is synonymous with Subcontracts, which typically has no engineering knowledge as a prerequisite.

If it's something you really want, you should definitely be able to get an interview. I'd suggest choosing a school that will help you bridge that technical gap through experiential learning, etc. I should probably note that having an engineering degree isn't what they actually value in engineers, it's the ability to understand the technical dilemmas the pop up along the way.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2010, 10:17
Avernusaur, you made some really good points about the industry in your earlier post, especially about bureaucracy. That's one reason that I'm looking away from the defense contractor roles that my background is suited for, and looking to career switch into the biotechnology industry.

Chopperin, it certainly won't hurt to apply this fall to MBA programs and see what happens. But depending on when you are getting out and how strong your desire to work aerospace/defense are, you might be just as well off working directly with a JMO recruiter who can place you directly into a management position. Once there, you'd probably have a good chance at being sponsored for a full or part time MBA.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2010, 14:43
Thanks for all the info, I really appreciate it! A couple more questions if anyone has the time to answer:

1.) From what I've read on this board and some other research, the organizations seem bureaucratic. How does this play into promotions and compensation increases? What is a reasonable time to expect to make it to the VP level (10 years? 20 years?) and what type of salary is at that level ($150k? $200k?)

2.) How do the military people who have done 20 years and transitioned to the corporate world do at these firms? Do they get stuck in middle management roles for the rest of their civilian career since they do not have the formative corporate experience in their 20's and 30's?

I know these are broad, vague questions, but any insight would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 16 Apr 2010, 21:41
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pay varies...title of VP can mean 200k or 600k depending what you are VP of and what company you work for. Some give out VP of everything others dont call anyone VP really. Honestly if you are going to manufacturing to make a killing you will be dissappointed. That said you move up to manage a medium size plant (100m in revenues) you could be pulling down 250k with bonuses at a lot of companies. However, remember some industries/companies have very little value for MBAs...the people with them go PT or come cheaply and never advance. I avoided returning into the defense space since the opportunities seemed rather lack luster at most companies, and honestly a few I talked to were willing to pay me more as an engineer than what their leadership development programs offered...one guy actually flat out said during an interview I would be better off getting hired FT as an experienced lead engineer.

How well you do varies by person, I could say no one moves up and you could be CEO in 5 years...or could say everyone moves up and you fail completely. I think most manufacturing companies if you are an operations/gm guy its easier to measure your performance than if you are a numbers crunching analyst. You improve your plants production, reduce costs, increase ROI, ROC, whatever measures they follow...well thats easy to tell.

I tend to think ops/management jobs tend to value previous experience and age...as long as it translates some what...I mean where I am going after a year or so at corporate I will be managing 25-100 people depending on where I go and the position I go in. If you are a baby faced 27 year old dealing with a lot of blue-collar people that might not work too well. If you are a 30+ year old who has some life experiences they might give you a little more respect. If you are a 40 year old former marine chances are they will be even more willing to listen to you.

If you want to be in a corporate job I dont think thats as big of an advantage...it all really depends on the company and what you want to do. Alums working at your target companies will be your biggest sources of direct information since there is so much variation. But remember times have changed, 25 years ago GE was a stellar job from HBS or other top schools...now most of their hiring is done at 2nd, 3rd and no name programs. The people hired from top schools often are former employees with much better gigs than the typical hire. Personally I like the idea of being 1 of 1-4 people not 1 of 150.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 21 Apr 2010, 16:31
riverripper- Thank you very much once again. With the insight I've gathered from you and some other people, I'm leaning more towards staying in the service, doing 20 years, and then making the transition to a corporate role. The pay (at the mid-grade officer and corporate middle manager level) and work environment seem very similar and if I went to school, I would be giving up two years of a pretty decent salary. My main concern with staying in is getting stuck at a mid-level role when transitioning to a corporate job. Oh well, I still have some time to decide and I'm sure I'll change my mind 50 times in the next few months, ha ha! Thanks again for all your help, I really appreciate it.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 23 Apr 2010, 14:15
I don't know how well the transition will go if you wait another 10 years after business school. I was referring to former military transitioning during school. Knowing pay for military, I would say 10 years after business school unless you never advance most likely you will make far more leaving the military. Plus with the GI bill you should get some money to go towards school. I dont know any of my military friends going back. The few people in my former life who went back were planning on being lifers, most were commanders or captains looking to eventually becoming admirals. Yes if you make admiral/general and then retire you will probably do very well for yourself post retirement but I dont think the MBA will be a huge plus since most military jobs dont utilize many of the skills you will develop during business school.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 23 Apr 2010, 20:42
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Chopperin wrote:
riverripper- Thank you very much once again. With the insight I've gathered from you and some other people, I'm leaning more towards staying in the service, doing 20 years, and then making the transition to a corporate role. The pay (at the mid-grade officer and corporate middle manager level) and work environment seem very similar and if I went to school, I would be giving up two years of a pretty decent salary. My main concern with staying in is getting stuck at a mid-level role when transitioning to a corporate job. Oh well, I still have some time to decide and I'm sure I'll change my mind 50 times in the next few months, ha ha! Thanks again for all your help, I really appreciate it.


I work at one of the companies list. I would first say that no, you do not have to know or have experience in engineering to be in the leadership rotation, I've known several who did it through other means. My comp is large enough were there is rotations in finance, SCM etc that aren't associated with engineering or operational roles. Of course having an engineering degree, SCM degree would help you in the interviews etc, but definitely not required.

In face if you were looking to move up quickly, engineering would not be the place you would want to do it.

Now as for the rotations, from looking at career path, usually the rotation people are young and over achieve, Type-A people which most in the engineering community aren't too fond of (except maybe when it's a girl). But over all they are brown nosers, and that's the thing... when they exit, they get a position that is slightly better but they just sit there.. You will not be inline anytime soon for a top management position, in fact you will probably be in a non-management position at least 2 years post rotation.

With respect to VP dreams, it's possible, but you need to be strategic and you need to learn to suck up to the right people, very very few people will make it. I am currently the 9th level to the CEO which means my manager and my manager's manager is only 8th and 7th respectively and they are about 45-55 age respectively. So if you are looking for a C-suite, I would try to go a different route. This is many ways is why I'm going back to school to pursue consulting. My company will pay for MBA and still I would prefer FT.

Now if you're looking for a nice stable job, the companies you listed are definitely good for that. Great benefits, pension, unions, and you have a lot of options moving between companies. If you are in aerospace, you can move between the companys pretty easily.
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Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms [#permalink] New post 25 Apr 2010, 11:11
Thanks again fellas for the information!

GoBruins- riverripper and avensaur have provided some great info regarding salaries, but just so I have as many datapoints as possible, can you give me a rough estimate of what you think your level 8 and level 7 manager's salary or compensation is?
Re: Leadership Development Programs at manufacturing firms   [#permalink] 25 Apr 2010, 11:11
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