Executive Development Program Alumni Profile: Shalini Jacobs, Director of Partner Solutions at Microsoft

Shalini Jacobs, Executive Development Program Alumni

Tell us a bit about who you are and where you are in your career journey.

I lead a global team of 10 employees who are in Seattle, London and Singapore. My team manages negotiation of strategic contracts with our partners globally. We also manage global training and readiness for our broader organization.

I have worked in Australia, New Zealand and the USA in individual contributor roles. I first moved into leadership in 2015, and since then I feel I have been constantly learning and adapting to find the best ways to help my teams to succeed and grow.

Why did you choose the Executive Development Program?

The Executive Development Program provides a broad range of education from finance to operations to leadership. The courses were an ideal blend of subjects to help me grow as a leader as well as reinforce base concepts.
Shalini Jacobs, Executive Development Program Alumni

Describe your experience in the program overall.

It was a privilege to learn from professors with such deep knowledge and experience. The sessions were engaging and interactive with a blend of academic research as well as case studies and group activities to help us learn together.

One of the best parts of the program was the diverse members of my class. They all had such different backgrounds and perspectives and provoked thinking in different ways. Being able to learn from people from corporate, start up and non-profit organizations added to the overall learning.

What strategies did you use to balance work, life, and study during your time in the Executive Development Program?

Covering the reading prior to class made a big difference in being able to understand and participate in discussions with the lecturers. To ensure I was able to fully participate in and benefit from the program, I did the following:

  • Ensured I had full support from my leadership and family so they understood that my ability to travel would be limited from Sept to May and that I would not be available on Monday nights.
  • Carved out time, either on my weekends or during the evenings to complete readings or activities for the next class. This was generally about 4 hours per week.
  • Made use of technology to collaborate with team members for group assignments to get work done without needing to always meet in person.

What was your favorite experience during the program?

Residential sessions were fun and allowed for deeper learning.
Shalini Jacob and fellow, Executive Development Program Alumni

What is something that you learned in EDP that you have been able to apply in your job?

Getting to understand my own motivations and drivers and how they affect my leadership helped me tremendously. I learned helpful leadership concepts like “Feedforward versus Feedback” and “People/Process/Culture” to align my team.

Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective students about this program?

I considered it a privilege to go through the program. I would recommend that people really consider the time commitments that it requires (residentials, evening classes and group work) to ensure they get the most benefit.

How has your EDP experience enabled you to see your industry/company/career differently?

The course shines a light on business generally, which was a useful experience as it brought my thinking out of the industry I am in. It helps me better understand my industry, my competitors and my customers.

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