EMBA's in Chicago

Mastering marketing: a transatlantic perspective

The Executive MBA cohort recently travelled to Chicago as part of the Marketing course led by Associate Professor Mogens Bjerre. In the following, he offers a flavour of what to expect from the module – and how the illuminating trip can reframe your thinking.

One of the defining tenets of the CBS EMBA is the chance to travel to global centres of excellence where value and new perspectives are gained. Frankfurt, Mumbai, Silicon Valley  – are all on the programme’s destination list with Chicago providing the backdrop for the Marketing course.

Professor Mogens Bjerre
Professor Mogens Bjerre

The most recent trip comprised of leading courses at renowned Northwestern University – Kellogg’s School of Management and superior advertising agencies and social media experts. The participants gained invaluable real-world understanding of the dynamics of marketing and its place in the supply chain.

Enhanced expectations

As Nadya Frost, EMBA participant and Chief Marketing Officer, group.ONE says, “Our EMBA Marketing field trip to Chicago was full of new insights and connections. From predictive lifecycle modelling to deep dish pizza, and from watching hockey to discussing the latest B2B martech gizmos, it was fun.

“We were positively surprised to see how many of our assignment projects could actually work,” Nadya continues, “I’m looking forward to real US launches in the coming months. For me, above all the trip created a new level of trust with fellow students, especially female leaders. We make each other better, and none of us would fail the stage diving test.”

Professor Bjerre expands, “Markets are very dynamic, so one of the key elements that I impress upon the students is that just because you did a market analysis half a year ago, won’t mean that you understand the market as it is today. Current, on-the-ground insight is vital.” And right now, the market is shifting more quickly than ever before. “Since 2020 and the pandemic, society has changed rapidly and this impacts marketing strategy tremendously,” continues Professor Bjerre. As a result, it’s vital to teach executives in a more agile way rather than by rote or with a one-size-fits-all approach – and the trip to Chicago helps to put all of this into perspective.

Overseas learnings

The trip to Chicago presents EMBA executives the latest academic knowledge and a chance to develop their own strategies. “Participants get a very hands-on experience,” Professor Bjerre explains, “and the visit to Northwestern University in Chicago gives them an opportunity to gain some real-world application. They develop a go-to-market strategy and plan for a product or service that is not currently for sale in Chicago. The choice of educational location is very deliberate as the marketing department there is one of the strongest in the world.

“In addition to the university education, we also visit advertising agencies while in Chicago,” Professor Bjerre continues. “A highlight includes time with a local internet marketing expert. This provides participants with an opportunity to really dig down into the ‘how’ by exploring the most recent developments. We’ve used his expertise for the past eight or nine years and we’ve expanded his time slot every year. The students really love him, he’s fantastic.”

Digging deeper

For Professor Bjerre, an important lesson is to gain an understanding not only of the market, but also of the dynamics in the market and the total supply chain. “From my teaching perspective I’m always thinking of how I can make hooks into some of the other courses on the EMBA,” Bjerre says.

This approach enables participants to get a solid understanding of the ‘why’. As Professor Bjerre explains, “Asking why people buy from you, but also why marketing is important in your organisation and how it all fits together is really important. And then,” he adds, “You might say that we address the ‘what’ through the strategies the participants create.”

Participants of the CBS Executive MBA

Language of marketing

One of Professor Bjerre’s main objectives with this course is for participants to become comfortable with real-world terminology. “The goal is for participants to have qualified, informed and valuable discussions with the marketing department within their organisations,” Professor Bjerre says. “A thorough understanding all the basic elements will hopefully help them to challenge the marketing people in their organisations and make considered, strategic decisions.”

Exclusive opportunities

One of the other major insights that participants take away from the US trip is how complex a skill it really is. As Professor Bjerre says, “They’re thrown right into the deep end while in Chicago, being tasked with marketing and selling products directly from a B2C and B2B perspective. And through our collaborations, participants can connect with corporations that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.

“Participants come back with an enriched understanding of the difference between American business logic and Danish/European business logic. This insight helps reveal elements in their own organisation that may require repositioning.”

“Because sometimes when you see somebody who’s different from you, you learn a lot about yourself. And that’s really my pedagogical tool here, by exposing participants to different logics, this enhances their understanding of different methods and empowers them moving forwards.”

If you would like to learn more about CBS Executive MBA >> you can download the brochure here.