Next Stop: CUES CEO Institute

“Cabin crew, please take your seats for take-off.”

These words are said during every flight, but they will take on a different meaning as I start my journey to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. The opportunity to attend this prestigious executive learning program is an average student’s perfect bucket list item. Now, as I prepare for this amazing scholastic adventure, I must share a glimpse of what lies ahead.

It’s probably safe to assume that you are questioning why I am headed to Wharton. I am still in shock about that! Winning the Next Top Credit Union Executive contest opened the door to attend the school’s executive education program. CUES partnered with Wharton to provide customized training for credit union leaders seeking professional development and information about the latest business strategies. This was the biggest prize from the competition.

So, why is the Wharton School of Business so renowned?  Benjamin Franklin played a pivotal role in developing the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The private, Ivy League university takes pride in being the first American university. The Wharton School of Business was the first collegiate business school, established in 1881. The school is dedicated to research and educational innovation, while receiving global recognition for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. The list of alumni is amazing – everyone from Warren Buffett to Elon Musk has attended. Wharton is the most published business school; with over 225 academic professionals who are committed to changing the way business is learned and practiced.

The first session is dedicated to strategic innovation. All of the attendees were assigned pre-reading materials to prepare for this week of learning and engagement. We will dissect issues that are important to managing a successful business such as ethical reasoning, relationship management, and organizational integrity. Wow, I still can’t believe what lies ahead!

To say my career has taken off is an understatement. This contest has opened doors and expanded my network exponentially. While I am grateful for the education I have, I am excited about the opportunity to enhance my skills.  This week I am a sponge, committed to soaking up the information designed for the course. I am also excited to learn and participate in simulations with credit union professionals who have already reached the C-suite.

As the flight crew prepares the plane and passengers for take-off, I will be preparing to ascend into a new phase of my career. While the information is plentiful and certainly overwhelming, I understand the power of knowledge.

To be continued…

Jimese Harkley