There is no “assumed knowledge” for EMBAD, but participants must be willing to concentrate on and participate in the program while obeying some basic rules of the road (e.g., not interrupting other participants, not making derogatory comments about ideas or suggestions expressed by other participants). As part of the theme of becoming more effective at dealing with senior management, I will provide all participants opportunities to join the conversation and address the group. Participants may wish to visit the Audeze company website to become familiar with the design history and progression of the product line.
EMBAD is an intensive, interactive, in-person, 2-day program for a small group of experienced design professionals who have progressed in their careers to the point where they need to interact and deal effectively with senior management (C level and boards) that do not have design backgrounds and are primarily “business professionals.” Through EMBAD’s case-method approach, participants will gain an understanding of the concepts, vocabulary, and priorities of senior management by discussing a series of real-world situations as though they were actually the senior executive team. The program will follow the key situations and decisions faced by the senior team at Audeze, a headphone company that in five years has grown from four people building headphones as a weekend hobby to a company with $10M in yearly revenue. Their first professionally designed consumer headphone, by BMWDesignworksUSA, is now available in Apple retail stores.
Over two days, participants will address and respond to key decision moments faced by the Audeze management team. In the course of these discussions, participants will be introduced to key concepts and terminology. Each morning and afternoon session will end with a general discussion in which participants will be challenged to apply what they have learned to their own industry.
1. Participant introductions
2. “We want to grow/change the world/do this full time/make more money. What do we need? Who do we get it from? How do we persuade them?”
a – Strategy
b – Finance
3. “We need to hire more people, but how do we organize? We need to sell more. What should we promise our channels and consumers?”
a – Organizational behavior
b – Sales
c – Ethics
4. “We need more and different people to buy our new products. How do we market to them? We need to reduce the manufacturing costs for our new products and get our supply chain certified. How do we do that?”
a – Marketing
b – Operations
5. “What are our investors thinking about? How do we get our money out?”
a – Advanced strategy and finance
b – Competitive dynamics
Derek Alderton is the faculty director of the Anderson Strategy Group in the MBA program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Derek has been an adjunct faculty member at the Anderson School for 10 years, developing and teaching courses in entertainment strategy, entrepreneurship and venture initiation, entrepreneurial operations, and strategy. His student teams have won multiple awards in the Applied Management Research program. Before starting his own boutique management consulting firm, Derek spent 10 years at McKinsey & Company, where he was responsible for the West Coast Media & Entertainment practice and became a leading expert on the impact of technology on entertainment business value chains. His clients ranged from established global entertainment companies to the fastest-growing technology companies, including some exceptional startups. He has been on the faculty at numerous McKinsey and other corporate training programs, has spoken at a wide variety of technology, media, entertainment, and entrepreneurship conferences, and has been published multiple times. Derek holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, degrees in law and economics from the University of Sydney, and a diploma in finance from the Securities Institute of Australia. He is also a chartered accountant (US CPA equivalent).
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