Gaining Fresh Perspective through 9-month Executive Development Program

James WetterEDP is an accelerated alternative to an MBA degree.  We caught up with James Wetter to hear about his experience in this work-compatible certificate program designed for busy professionals.

Tell us about where you are in your career journey and why you chose the Executive Development Program?

Currently, I’m unwinding a family-owned investment company and beginning the process of transitioning my career.  I chose the Executive Development Program for two reasons:

  • The first was to challenge myself. Education has always been my vulnerable spot.  For change to be meaningful and lasting, I felt the need to become vulnerable.
  • The second was to better prepare myself for my career transition. EDP’s curriculum touches a lot of topics.  I believed having a broad brushstroke when it comes to different aspects of business would open up my perspective and add value.

Describe your experience in the program overall.

It was awesome.  I felt energized, refreshed, and challenged.  Even though it was another thing on my already full plate, it was grounding and something I looked forward to every week.

What were your impressions of your fellow students in the program?

Amazing!  I was impressed with the diversity, not only culturally, but also with the various levels of experience and industries.  It provided for an amazingly rich experience.  The bonds formed with fellow classmates were unassuming, yet very powerful.  Here you are, getting an amazing education, then you’re struck by how much you’ve connected with each other.  In the last 25 years of my career, I’ve never experienced anything like it.

EDP Class of 2018

Pictured above: Students from the Class of 2017-18 UW Foster Executive Development Program

What strategies did you use to balance work, life, and study during your time in the Executive Development Program?

I allocated a block of time for studying each week.  The workload in between classes was manageable.  The professors were good at estimating the time it takes for the assignments.  You could decide how much you want to get out of the program by how much effort you put in.

Which courses were the most relevant to you?

There were great takeaways from all of them.  Pinning down the most relevant, I’d have to say  Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and Finance.

What is something that you learned in EDP that you have been able to apply in your job?

Perspective.  Even though there are lots of valuable details learned, it’s the perspective that I’ve gained that has been the most valuable.  I’ve been able look at things more broadly, valuing areas I’m not an expert or experienced in.

Is there a particular faculty member who stands out in your mind as being really exceptional?

This is a tough one.  The faculty’s expertise was exceptional across the board.  Everyone was incredibly knowledgeable.  Equally impressive was how many professors were truly passionate about their fields.  I personally was touched with how accessible and guiding Professor Kotha and Professor Koski were.  That’s not saying the other faculty weren’t, but for me I happened to engage with them the most.  Other students mentioned Professor Bigley being accessible above and beyond as well.  But, if I had to narrow it down to one faculty member, I would say Professor Bettin.  There was something powerful there.  It’s hard to describe, but those that have been taught be him know what I’m trying to get at.  He is exceptional.

James WetterHow has your EDP experience enabled you to see your industry/company/career differently?

It has opened my eyes wider and made me excited to learn and practice more.  There’s so much that we do without knowing the why behind it.  Learning more about the why has been broadened my perspective.  I take less at face value.

What was your favorite experience during the program?

The people!  The connections and network have been my favorite part.  That’s the part that has blown me away.

Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective students about this program?

The other gem in this wonderful experience has been the administration.  The work they do and support they provide adds a whole other layer to the experience.

Executive Development Program Highlights:

  • Program duration: Nine months, one evening per week + two off-site retreats
  • Program dates: September 9, 2019 – May 4, 2020
  • Early applications due:  May 1
  • Final application deadline:  August 1

See the program curriculum, faculty, and more at the program website.