Effective Leadership: Theory and Practice

Instructors: Robert Allio

Leadership is not a science. It is a craft honed through practice and study. In this course, students forge their own models of leadership. They review the classic models of leadership delineated through literature and philosophy and examine a range of contemporary models. Students then develop individual plans for becoming more effective leaders. The course explores how leadership and strategy intersect and how leaders engage followers to create impact.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Develop a model for leadership based on principles of theory and practice revealed through literature, history, philosophy, and politics.
  • Learn how strategy provides the linkage between an organization’s values and vision.
  • Study how leaders strengthen their relationship with followers by unifying them around shared purpose.
  • Establish a leadership identity that reconciles personal and organizational ethics.
Entrepreneurial Leadership in Innovative Firms

Instructor: Banu Ozkazanc-Pan

In the context of global competition, developing entrepreneurial leadership skills can propel individuals and organizations to develop new innovations and find growth opportunities. Such leadership derives from a strong entrepreneurial mindset that includes being persuasive, thriving under conditions of uncertainty and having a propensity to seek creative, learning opportunities. By developing these skills, leaders can infuse entrepreneurial thinking into their organizational processes and systems, create a culture of innovation and develop business models for realizing new opportunities. These individuals and organizations will then be positioned competitively in innovation ecosystems that are now taking shape across the globe.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand and develop entrepreneurial leadership skills
  • Establish organizational processes and systems for entrepreneurial leadership and culture of innovation
  • Examine different business models for realizing new opportunities
  • Consider how entrepreneurial leadership can provide competitive advantages in innovation ecosystems
Persuasive Communication

Instructors: Barbara Tannenbaum and Nancy Newman

Engineers that impact industry don’t just have good ideas. They have the ability to sell them. In this course, students develop the communications skills to do just that. This course provides students with theory, practice opportunities and individualized coaching to help them enhance their oral and written communication skills. Students focus on persuasive communication, including verbal and nonverbal communication, and the relationship between a presenter’s goal and the goals/perspectives of his or her audience. Students also learn how to create compelling business presentations using data visualization to garner people’s attention and stimulate action. This course also uses the practice of writing as a means to think, learn and reflect developing a greater awareness of one’s self and others.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Communicate effectively through oral presentation.
  • Formulate strategy in a multi-faceted environment of social, political, economic, and legal entities and forces.
  • Complete strategic and financial analysis required to support corporate goals.
  • Perform short and long term investment evaluations.
Technology Leadership in a Changing Environment

Instructor: Donald Stanford

This course takes a broad look at the factors that contribute to successful technology leadership in today’s fast paced and ever evolving environment. Students will use examples and case studies from a wide range of industries to learn about, and gain practical experience in, the issues that ultimately determine the success (or failure) of highly technical undertakings.  The alignment of marketing, technology and project execution is examined in both its best case and worse case implementation as students learn from both successful and failed endeavors. Through the lens of organizational effectiveness, value creation, addressing market needs and meeting customer expectations, students will discuss and examine best practices used to engage the array of stakeholders that are crucial to positive outcomes. Via the same framework, students will also study some of the cultures and practices that foster continuous innovation and effectively leverage technology trends and trajectories.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand changing technology trends and develop responsive leadership skills to effectively mitigate adversity in an ever evolving environment, while leveraging knowledge of development and innovation models that are applied across the business landscape.
  • Apply leadership skills to align and mobilize organizational support for technology innovation opportunity with a clear execution plan.
  • Develop understanding of the effectiveness of joint ventures, collaborations and outsourcing.
  • Create and prioritize ideation processes to effectively address market needs.
  • Consider stakeholder input in an innovation culture and understand the voice of customers in value creation models.

Strategic Thinking

Big Data and Machine Learning

Instructors: Iris Bahar

Companies are generating 10-1000 times more data every 12 months as the Internet of Things (IoT) explodes. Leaders have a strong desire to derive more and more value from it—machine learning is the tool to monetize this gold mine of data. There is not one “best” machine learning technique. How much data you have, whether you have the right data, and how your data is structured make an important difference in the potential for machine learning and appropriate machine learning technique to use. The newest and fanciest machine learning techniques for big data don’t change this and can extend the reach of machine learning into domains where the previous generation of tools couldn’t go.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand how Big Data (e.g., Internet of Things) will impact industries
  • Learn the necessary elements to begin the machine learning journey
  • Evaluate how companies obtain insights and outcomes from machine learning
  • Understand how machine learning impacts employees
Economic Perspectives on Strategic Decision Making

Instructors: Rajiv Vohra and Geoffroy de Clippel

Business leaders must make decisions in complex situations and often under tight deadlines. Under these conditions, it’s easy to lose track of the important variables in decision-making. This course engages economists’ study of game theory as a tool for recognizing the rules of the game and honing in on determinant factors to train students in the art of strategic decision-making. Students learn to apply game theory models to identify key variables in various business scenarios, and in turn, choose the best course of action for their business.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • More judiciously identify key business variables for decision-making and to communicate their rationale to others.
  • Strategically navigate ambiguity and make decisions that maximize probability of success in the face of uncertainty.
  • Maximize profits by making decisions that factor in decisions of other key market players.
Finance and Business Strategy

Instructors: Michael Donohue

The business strategy “shelf life” is decreasing as new technologies and externalities (e.g., data privacy) create a strong case for change.  The students begin with an introduction to the lingua franca of commercial and financial activity. They will learn to merge the finance language with a deep understanding of business strategy. The case studies will provide practical examples of industry analysis which help formulate available strategic options. These options will be explored through the lens of an incumbent industry participant and a new entrant. We will explore concepts around the innovator’s dilemma and digital transformations for incumbent companies. Advancing their understanding of business strategy further, they learn to leverage this knowledge to master concepts like “no regrets” strategies and the potential optionality new strategic choice.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Formulate strategy in a multi-faceted environment of social, political, economic, and legal entities and forces.
  • Complete strategic and financial analysis required to support corporate goals.
  • Perform short and long term investment evaluations.
Psychological Perspectives on Strategic Decision Making

Instructor: Joachim Krueger

This course introduces students to elements of social and cognitive psychology related to business, leadership and entrepreneurship. This course is based on empirical scientific research on how people behave and make decisions. Students review two major perspectives on judgment and decision-making that distinguish among riskless, risky and uncertain contexts for making decisions. Students examine trust and power, the two great, interrelated challenges of interpersonal behavior, and consider these challenges as social dilemmas that do not have simple, “one-approach-fits-all-situations” solutions. Delicate issues of “mind-reading” (e.g., empathy, perspective-taking) and uncertainty management are considered. Students understand that the psychology of creativity lies at the core of innovation, competitiveness, and sustainability, while the psychology of happiness raises issues about broader interpretations of the bottom line, utility and productivity.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Learn to frame problems of judgment and decision-making depending on context.
  • Consider the two great (and interrelated) challenges of interpersonal behavior — trust and power — especially how they affect decision-making.
  • Apply current research on creativity and happiness to leadership challenges.
Unlocking Value Globally

Instructor: Edward Steinfeld

If you’re a business professional in today’s globalized economy, then the world is your oyster. It offers unprecedented pools of technical know-how that companies can tap into and embrace. This course examines how firms can mobilize worldwide knowledge to create commercial value and promote technological leadership; how this has been achieved historically by firms in a variety of national settings; and, whether and how contemporary technological change – i.e., advances in data analytics, sensing, automation and cognitive computing – has changed the nature of cross-border learning and innovation. Throughout the course, students examine how processes at the firm level interact with societal institutions, governmental policies and other ostensibly non-market forces.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Learn to create commercial value by examining firms in industrializing countries that are revolutionizing production and redefining innovation.
  • Compare the impact of different ecosystems on different types of innovation.
  • Understand the power of mimicry and reverse engineering as sources of commercial value creation, and reevaluate the challenges of developing commercial opportunities in the world’s fastest growing markets.

Integrated Applications

Critical Challenge Project

The Critical Challenge Project (CCP) is central to the Executive Master of Science and Technology Leadership. The project identifies a critical technology challenge for an organization, drawing from the student’s own work experience. Under the direction of a faculty member, the student analyzes this critical challenge from multiple perspectives and develops a comprehensive plan for addressing it. The CCP draws upon the knowledge and skills gained by the student from each of the EMSTL courses, with particular emphasis on integrating technology, policy, and human factor aspects, considering ethical implications, and developing innovative, transformative, and viable solutions. The CCP is expected to be relevant to the student in terms of background, interests, current job, and future aspirations. Also, it should have practical applicability to the field of technology and take into account multiple stakeholders, such as customers, developers, policymakers, and government and industry executives.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Tackle a technology problem facing your industry
  • Position yourself for leadership in your industry
  • Build a network of advisors for your long term career aspirations
International Experience

Technology leaders must acquire an understanding of international business practices and global technologies. We’ve addressed this need through an innovative and structured global immersion opportunity designed for working professionals. We partner with technology leader (e.g., SAP, Samsung) to tackle their greatest technology challenge through a one-week project in their corporate headquarters. The students work closely with sponsoring company’s technology leaders to understand the situation and develop solutions. The students present findings and recommendation to C-suite leaders.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Experience dramatically different culture
  • Understand how to conduct business in a new country
  • Evaluate lessons learned from this new culture
Professional Development

Instructors: Robin Rose

The Professional Development component of the Executive Master in Science and Technology Leadership is a critical piece of the student experience and spans the length of the program. In both residential and online settings, students will engage in discussions, reflections, lectures, simulations and experiential activities focused on their professional development as leaders. Students will be consistently challenged to apply the leadership theory and practice they are exploring in the program to their work environment. They will also have opportunities to establish professional development goals and receive support from peers and faculty relative to those aspirations.

As a result of participating in several different workshops and activities, students will:

  • Increase their self-awareness of their leadership style and their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Develop an ability to create and implement a professional development plan.
  • Develop their skills in coaching and supporting the professional development of their peers and employees regardless of race, culture, gender, age, creed or ability.
  • Enhance their skills at managing difficult conversations.
  • Increase their understanding of how they function in a group, how groups function and how they can effectively lead groups to become high performing teams.
  • Display professionalism and ownership of professional growth and learning.

This element of the program is not graded.


The Executive Master in Science and Technology Leadership program blends residential and online learning, allowing participants to work full time while completing their degree. This gives students the opportunity to continue their lives at home and apply new knowledge and skills immediately in their work settings. There are five residential sessions–four that take place at Brown and one that takes place during the International Experience–over the 16-month program, and the rest is completed interactively online.

Students who successfully complete the program are awarded a Master’s degree from Brown University.

Bonnie '19 explains why she loves the Executive format

South Korea: Rise of a Technology Leader

Instructor: Hye-Sook Wang
SKKU Faculty: Wooyeal Paik, Juneseuk Shin, Raunaq Pungaliya, Aleksios Gotsopoulos, Eric Shih

South Korea serves as the laboratory for evaluating all aspects of a successful innovation ecosystem and developing sophisticated analytical skills in a global context. Students apply critical, comparative and analytic skills, and develop cultural awareness through lectures, corporate visits (e.g. Samsung Electronics, Hyundai) and cultural field trips. The one-week in-country session is prefaced by an introduction to Korea that covers history and culture with special focus on the modern formation and development of innovation.

During the Residential Session students gain an understanding of the economic environment of Korea and the role and structure of large family-led conglomerates or ‘Chaebols.’ They understand how the Chaebols are driving technological and economic progress, and how their legal, operational, and financial structures differ from competing conglomerates in the United States which provide them with unique strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. They also discuss whether the Chaebol structure is still relevant in fueling the next phase of economic growth in the country.

Students also examine the innovation ecosystem in Korea and the role of government and public policy. Finally, students also consider the Korean consumer and market structure and the barriers to multinationals entering this market.

Student teams will present comparative analyses of rapid technological advances and innovation in Korea.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Have a basic understanding of Korea’s historical, cultural, and social background.
  • Perform country level analysis to identify new venture and business engagement opportunities in a global setting.
  • Conduct organizational level analysis to understand how corporate culture and structure (e.g., Chaebol) impact innovation development and global value creation practices.
  • Leverage models of government-industry collaboration to develop effective innovation networks.
  • Conduct market analysis and understand how consumer, culture and channel structure differences can be incorporated in the development of a marketing plan.

Critical Challenge Project 

Instructors: CCP Coordinator Anubhav Tripathi, Faculty Advisors, Executive Practitioners

At Brown we believe in the rigorous application of theory to practice. The Critical Challenge Project (CCP) course – an independent project that spans the duration of the Executive Master in Science and Technology Leadership (EMSTL) program – embodies this ethos. When applying to the EMSTL program, each student identifies a critical challenge related to their industry or workplace, drawing from his/her own experience and vision for the future of their industry. This critical challenge becomes the focus of the “Critical Challenge Project” throughout the 16-month program. Each student is matched with an advisor, based on their professional expertise and interests. The advisor serves as a mentor and an expert resource for the student, monitoring the student’s progress and evaluating the project.

The student develops and completes the project using resources available through the program, including the courses and course assignments; interaction with peers and faculty, including the Advisor; and the other resources the student identifies for the project.

Key principles students use to define their CCPs include:

  • Relevant – meaningful to the student in teams of background, interests, current job, future aspirations, and/or organization.
  • Consequential  a project of broad enough scope to have an impact on stakeholders across science and technology industries.
  • Realistic – feasible and viable set of steps and expectations within the 16-month program (The overarching challenge does not need to be resolved within the program, but measurable progress toward the defined CCP must be reasonable and appropriate).
  • Measurable – contains measurable outcomes of success.