University of Delaware
Delegations of bankers from China and Vietnam recently visited UD, and the agenda included a demonstration at UD's Exelon Trading Center.

Executive education

Banking groups from China and Vietnam complete Lerner College-JPMorgan Chase leadership training course


8:45 a.m., June 27, 2012--Through an extension of the University of Delaware’s collaboration with JPMorgan Chase, the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics recently hosted a series of two-day leadership seminars, “Managing Innovation and Risk,” for delegations of bankers from China and Vietnam.

“Our selection by JPMorgan Chase to deliver a leadership development program for 40 international delegates truly shows our global capabilities here at the Lerner College,” said Bruce Weber, dean of the college.

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The program, as well as the executive education curriculum, was developed by Lerner College faculty and staff including Weber; Roger Coffin, associate director of corporate outreach; Jack Baroudi, associate dean for graduate and executive programs; Bintong Chen, associate dean for research; and Wendy Holmes, administrative assistant, in conjunction with JPMorgan Chase.

The Chinese delegation, with representatives from seven banks, met on May 10-11 on UD’s Laird Campus in Newark. The Vietnamese delegation, with representatives from eight banks, met on May 14-15 on UD’s main campus in Newark.

Weber gave the first session, “Leadership: Risk and Innovation,” and used a simple jellybean guessing contest to show the participants about group choices versus single-person decisions.

“Innovation will be stifled unless an organization can tolerate risks, and rewarding managers based only on outcomes, rather than their decisions, is harmful,” said Weber. “Remember, in an uncertain world some good decisions do not generate the desired results for factors outside of the managers’ control. As the complexity of business and technology increases, leaders today need to develop more inclusive decision processes.”

Using a jar with 989 jellybeans, Weber showed the median error of the individual guesses was 462, while the median guess was only 11 away from the true number.

“The more independent perspectives a leader gathers the more successful his or her organization will be,” said Weber.

Baroudi taught the next session, “Leadership: Learning and Biology,” with Weber, as well as “Leadership and Learning.”

“Understanding our cognitive and emotional biases is critical for successful decision making, particularly in stressful situations,” said Baroudi. 

For Baroudi, the “fun part” of the research he shared with the groups was to show that those biases apply to all humans regardless of origin or nationality and the flaws in decision-making are a consequence of human biology. 

“It was my pleasure to share this information with our Chinese and Vietnamese bankers and hope they will find it helpful as they think about how they make decisions and what they may do to improve this process.”

Chen taught sessions on “Project Management: New Trends and Innovations” and “The Psychology of Waiting and Implications for Banks.” He spoke highly of the program as a model for university and industry collaboration and exchange.

“The university professors design their lectures for specific needs of the financial industry and talk about the latest developments from their readings and research while the managers from international banks share with professors the challenges they face in their daily operations,” said Chen. “Both groups from China and Vietnam were very energetic and enthusiastic about learning and I really enjoyed the experience of interacting with them.”

Coffin taught a session titled “Working with Government and Laws,” which showed the students, using real life examples, the types of competencies that prove to be effective in working with government regulators, particularly in times of organizational crisis.

The program agenda also included a full tour of the UD campus by the Blue Hen Ambassadors, as well as tours and demonstrations of the Exelon Trading Center (ETC) by Rich Jakotowicz, director of the ETC and instructor of finance; and the JPMorgan Chase Innovation Center by Jennifer McDermott of JPMorgan Chase.

“The leadership training we delivered to the Chinese and Vietnamese delegations sponsored by JPMorgan Chase is something that the Lerner College has a unique perspective on, and along with our many other competencies, will form the basis for continuing executive education programs both within financial services and in other industries,” said Coffin, who added that increased executive education offerings will be a strategic priority for the Lerner College going forward.

Article by Kathryn Meier

Photos by Evan Krape

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