Managing Partner Michael A. Machica was privileged to be a part of the Program for Excellence in Professional Service Firm (PSF) Leader, an executive program of the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge which had transpired December 5 – 9, 2010 in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
The Judge Business School is a partner in a collaborative alliance between the University of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (The Cambridge MIT Alliance CMI).
Fifteen highly selected participants from Europe, Asia, Australia, South Africa, and America have completed the program. Mr. Machica was the lone participant from Southeast Asia.
The live-in program was conducted at The Møller Centre – a leading management and conference center in U.K. nestling inside the Churchill College campus of the pre-eminent University of Cambridge. The outstanding setting makes the first European version of Professional Service Firm Leader executive program truly unique and inspiring.
The PSF program brings together leading business academics from the University of Cambridge with top consulting professionals with a wealth of experience in providing strategic, leadership, personal advice, and development skills throughout Europe. The result is a unique learning event which blends academic and practical sessions to provide participants not only with an in-depth understanding of the concepts of professional service firm management and their role, but also with the skills to apply those concepts in their daily working lives. Collectively, the professors represent major parts of the globe whose linkages stretch to the leading business schools across Europe, Asia, and the U.S. Among the lecturers were Prof. Dr. Dame Sandra Dawson, Prof. Dr. Mark de Rond, Prof. Rob Less, Prof. David Yates, Prof. Des Woods, Prof. Brenton Hague, and Prof. Tim Bellis (also the Program Director). World-renowned Prof. Rob Less has researched and written on leadership and organizational change, and his book, When Professionals Have To Lead, co-authored with Professors Jack Gabarro and Tom DeLong from Harvard Business School, has just been published. Prof. David Yates, a U.S. and U.K. practicing attorney, is the CEO of a global law firm.
The curriculum focuses on implementation – in turning the concepts and ideas into specific actions that improve individual, practice, and firm performance. This unique approach is what sets the program apart. It recognizes that firms from different PSF sectors tend to face different issues in different ways at different times. To program responds to this reality and also focuses on participants’ needs.
While the program contents reflect the participants’ needs, it also cover the five main topics critical to the success of any professional service firm – strategy and differentiation, leadership, people management, client service, and business development. These topics were sequentially delivered combining hands on case studies, lectures, group discussions, and workshops, as follows:
|Day 1:||Integrated leadership: producer – manager – leader, motivational dynamics of professionals, strategic positioning model, 360 degrees and integrated leadership model.
|Day 2:||Integrated leadership (continued): what effective leaders do, effective leadership behaviors, co-coaching;
Market trends and developing strategies in the PSF sector and PSF business models;
Speed to experience: leading and growing your people day to day.
|Day 3:||Leadership and values: the importance of values, collaborative values, different models of collegiality;
Learning more about your leadership style;
Leader as coach;
|Day 4:||Leadership and change: leading change, different change models, overcoming barriers of change;
Global macroeconomic outlook;
Bringing in business;
What clients want.
|Day 5||Creating high performing teams;
Leadership and performance management;
What successful firms do.
The participants learning process was not limited to the intensive 5-day live-in sessions at The Møller Centre. The fact is all participants were required to study and answer all assigned case studies before the start of the program. The case studies were carefully selected mirroring actual scenarios, issues, and challenges of professional service firms compiled and written by topnotch faculty of the Judge Business School, and the Harvard Business School. The program director has made collaborative arrangement with the Harvard Business School which has the longest –running executive program on professional service firm leadership in the U.S. In addition, the 360-degree survey on each participant’s leadership qualities was completed in advance. This survey was undertaken by an independent HR consulting company in the U.K.
Managing partners, senior partners, practice leaders, directors, and senior managers – all coming from the professional services sector – makes a truly vibrant, highly-interactive, and powerhouse class. Just like the Managing Partner, other participants are taking up the course to learn the leading edge ideas, strategies, and best practices and to transform them into measurable gains as they return to their leadership roles.
To further taste and experience the culture and tradition of Cambridge, the class had a dinner gala at the five-century-old St. John’s College. Enthralled with the College’s rich history, everyone enjoyed the especially prepared meal as well. It was also a great chance for the participants to get to know each other better. The program director, an alumnus of the College himself, acted as the tour guide.
Completing the far-reaching program was an enormous year ender for the Managing Partner. Such an important executive credential from no less than Cambridge is yet another milestone in his illustrious career. As the Machica Group navigates to new opportunities and new markets, the Managing Partner’s fresh and additional skills acquired are surely an endearing weapon that will eventually translate huge success for the Group and its growing stakeholders.
Before heading home, Mr. Machica visited important tourist spots of the Kent region – widely touted as the garden of England. He enjoyed touring the Leeds Castle which was magnificently surrounded with thick snow. He had relaxing moments at the Maidstone’s beautiful countryside where he stayed with the Anderton family. Experiencing the sights of the Canterbury Cathedral, the Rochester Castle, and the famous Roman structures around Kent for him was unrivaled. Likewise, for the first time he witnessed U.K.’s spirit of Christmas.