Katz EMBA Students Go Global

Katz EMBA Worldwide students gather in Prague for a Global Executive Forum
Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Students from the Pittsburgh and São Paulo cohorts of the University of Pittsburgh Executive MBA Worldwide program traveled to Prague, Czech Republic this past August for a Global Executive Forum centered on ethics and negotiations, two topics critical to success at the highest levels of business.

The weeklong forum, the second of four the students will complete before their graduation in October 2017, offered international business perspectives along with the opportunity to experience the culture of Eastern Europe.

Highlights from the week included hands-on coursework in ethics and negotiations, a presentation by investments executive and Katz alumnus David Saaty (MBA ’84), and an alumni reception featuring a presentation by U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Andrew Schapiro.

"The learning atmosphere of the week was perfect and the events went well beyond my expectations,” said Joseph Dowd, an EMBA Worldwide student who works as vice president of global safety, health, environmental and process excellence for Koppers, Inc.

Dowd compared the Global Executive Forum to Thomas Jefferson’s ideal of the academic village, which he said is based on the belief that “learning is a lifelong and shared process, and that interaction between scholars and students enlivens the pursuit of knowledge.”

During the global forum, Katz EMBA Worldwide students spent each day in the classroom for lectures, discussions, and experiential activities.

Faculty member Ron Magnuson, who taught the module on ethics, was able to draw on years of experience as a human resources executive with Allegheny Energy. Alumnus David Saaty (MBA ’84), managing partner at GI Global Invest AG in Zurich, Switzerland,  also spoke to the group about ethical dilemmas experienced in his career in the investments industry.

In teaching his module on negotiations, faculty member Paul Klein drew on his varied experiences as a government mediator, investment executive, and corporate consultant in legal and ethics training. After providing students a strong foundation in theory and best practices, he made the experience highly interactive by having students take opposite sides on a negotiation and square off by presenting their points.

EMBA Worldwide student Braun M. Thompson, director of compliance assurance in the environment, health, and safety division of PPG Industries, appreciated the careful planning that went into the forum by the EMBA staff.

“It really was flawlessly executed,” he said.

The alumni reception, held at the CEELI Institute in Prague, drew nearly 50 alumni and included a keynote address by U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Andrew Schapiro. He focused his remarks on how Katz alumni can harness the power of their education to be change agents in their own communities, which he said is needed more than ever in today’s period of dramatic change.

Outside the classroom, time was also made available for exploring the rich history and culture of Prague, which as one of the oldest cities in Europe is home to many marvels found nowhere else in the world.

Students took in the sights along the Vltava River during an evening boat cruise that featured dinner and drinks. Additionally, they sampled authentic Czech cuisine in a welcome dinner at Hergetova Cihelna, which is known for its picturesque views of the cityscape.

By week's end, students earned three academic credits, and made new professional connections and memories that will last a lifetime.

Learn more

Watch an overview video about Katz EMBA Worldwide

Watch alumni discuss the impact of Katz EMBA Worldwide on their careers