Executive Education Program Created for Innovation and Growth in the Energy Industry


Newswise — In an effort to provide "best management practices" for business professionals in the energy industry, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lally School of Management & Technology has developed an executive education program that addresses leadership skills, emerging technology, innovation, and large-scale project management. In its inaugural year, the program's first participants include 19 engineers and managers from China Three Gorges Project Corporation (CTGPC) " a company known for the construction of the world's largest hydropower dam located in the Xilingxia gorge, one of the three gorges along China's Yangtze River.

"Global energy security is the key challenge of our time," said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. "The Lally School of Management & Technology has developed a leading-edge program " combining Rensselaer's historic strengths in technology commercialization with an innovative, integrated MBA curriculum " to provide an environment for business leaders to explore and prepare to manage major energy initiatives. We are honored to launch this program with executives from the China Three Gorges Project Corporation, who represent the next generation of government and business leaders in China. They are working to develop the critical management skills needed to lead this technologically intensive enterprise, and the lessons learned will no doubt have global applications for generations to come."

The four-month residency program developed by the Lally School consists of tailored academic coursework, corporate site visits, cultural experiences, and interaction with industry leaders in order to help technical professionals and others develop the critical managerial skills needed to manage large-scale, energy-related projects. The program features nine courses taught by Lally School faculty and industry experts that includes: Managing the Technology Intensive Enterprise, Managing the Capital Intensive Enterprise, Marketing in the Energy Sector, Performance Management, Creating and Leading the Enterprise, Large-Scale Energy Systems Project Management, Energy Innovation and New Product Management, Strategic Management, and Business Implications of Emerging Energy Technologies.

A highlight of the residency program is the Energy Innovation and New Product Management module that is based on experiential learning through a simulated exercise. Using multimedia and interactive learning materials and simulations, participants get an understanding of the importance of the integration of design, manufacturing, and marketing involved in new product development.

Concurrently with the residence program on Rensselaer's campus, the course features a series of lectures given by energy professionals from several New York state-based companies. This component of the program provides opportunities for American cultural experiences and continued development of executive skills.

"The need for an adequate supply of affordable, accessible, sustainable energy is the overarching issue of the 21st century. In the past 35 to 40 years, worldwide energy consumption has nearly doubled, driven by population growth, rising living standards, invention of energy-dependent technologies, and consumerism," said David Gautschi, dean of the Lally School. "It is clear that achieving a sustainable global energy framework, capable of meeting the energy needs of citizens, without causing irreparable environmental damage, will require continued technological advances, and business management practices. The China Three Gorges Project Corporation Program serves as a model that we can learn from as academic and business professionals, and the program developed by the Lally School allows for this kind of global exchange."

In China, "guanxi" is a term, generally translated as personal "networks" or "connections," developed between individuals in an effort to deal with social uncertainty in a complex social environment. Throughout the course of the program, Thomas Triscari, associate professor of management in the Lally School and the academic director for the program, has worked to introduce and connect the participants to life in America through various activities and projects facilitated inside and outside of the classroom.

As a result, the group has eaten at various restaurants to learn about dining etiquette and American food, attended various sports events, toured the New York state capital in order to learn about the state's government and politics, and participated in a series of business presentations with Lally School undergraduate and graduate students in order to practice their English and facilitate discussions on the American and Chinese way of conducting business negotiations and transactions.

"The Three Gorges Project has been a learning experience for all those involved. It has given us an opportunity to explore the potential uses of natural resources to provide green environmental-friendly energy that benefits our people, society, the environment, and the economy," said Wan Qizhou, division chief of CTGPC's Construction Department. "The hands-on approach involved in the Lally School's program allows us to engage in realistic and complex exercises in a number of areas that will help us to work on developing our leadership skill sets needed to effectively manage the future of our business in today's rapidly changing global marketplace."

CTGPC was founded in 1993 under the auspices of China's State Council. The official construction of the project " that began in 1994 " has an expected completion date set for 2009. The project was several years in the making, as a number of Chinese government officials and an American expert in dam construction envisioned the benefits that such a large-scale energy project would bring to the society.

Gautschi sees the CTGPC Program as a model for academic and business professionals to learn from. The "Leadership for Innovation and Growth in the Energy Industry" program developed for the organization correlates with the Lally School's dedication to the idea that management and technology, and innovation and entrepreneurship are critical to improving the quality of life.

"This is only the beginning of our experience here in America, and for some of the group members, this is our first trip to the United States," said Chen Xianming, division chief of CTGPC's Olympic National Aquatic Center Project Management Department. "There are still many lessons to learn and we appreciate this opportunity to explore the social, political, economic, and ecological impact of the Three Gorges Project. We are looking forward to the dialogue and exchange of ideas and experiences that will lead to a better understanding of the project, while working to achieve innovative ways of addressing the future management of our large-scale energy project."

Upon completion of the program in mid-December, participants will develop, implement, and refine an actionable set of management best practices unique to their organization.

About China Three Gorges Project Corporation

The China Three Gorges Project Corporation (CTGPC) was founded in 1993 under the auspices of the State Council with an expected completion date in 2009. The project is one of the largest hydropower-complex dams in the world, ranking as the key initiative for improvement and development of the country's Yangtze River. The project was launched in an effort to use the Yangtze River's water resources to create improved methods for managing flood control, development of clean and renewable energy sources, protecting the surrounding environment, creating better navigation and irrigation systems, and providing the country's residents with an improved standard of living and economic benefits. For more information, go to http://www.ctgpc.com/

About Rensselaer's Lally SchoolRensselaer's Lally School of Management & Technology was founded in 1963 as an integral part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the nation's oldest degree-granting technological university. Building on Rensselaer's heritage of more than 175 years of leadership in science and engineering, the Lally School is dedicated to advancing business through innovation. The Lally School's curriculum is designed to produce leaders who combine creative passion with the ability to integrate technology across business functions. The faculty emphasizes the value of hands-on experience available through campus resources such as the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship and the nation's first on-campus business incubator. Rensselaer's Lally School offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs in management, doctoral programs in management and technology, an Executive MBA program, and a joint Sino-U.S. MBA for companies operating in China. For more information on the Lally School, go to http://www.lallyschool.rpi.edu.

About Rensselaer Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the nation's oldest technological university. The university offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, management, and the humanities and social sciences. Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals around the world. Rensselaer faculty are known for pre-eminence in research conducted in a wide range of fields, with particular emphasis in biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, and the media arts and technology. The Institute is well known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace so that new discoveries and inventions benefit human life, protect the environment, and strengthen economic development.

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