In this exclusive interview with Prof. David Sluss, we learnt more about him, his passions, and what he wishes to bring to the Global MBA program and students.
Prof. David Sluss, professor of Management at ESSEC Business School and Academic Director of the Global MBA. Prof. Sluss’ research focuses on “new leader” development and other high-potential professional transitions, how leaders build resilience within themselves and those they lead. He is also an expert on the new employee onboarding process. He takes a diagnostic and behavioral approach to facilitating leadership development. In his role as Academic Director of the full-time ESSEC Global MBA, he applies these principles with his students encouraging them to change, adapt and thrive as agile adaptive and analytical leaders - all the while, building personalized and productive work relationships.
Tell us about you and what led you to becoming the ESSEC Global MBA Academic director?
ESSEC’s Global MBA program is built on quality and is poised to take a leader position in providing high-potential and leadership talent to world-class companies. As I came to ESSEC, I quickly realized that the Global MBA was a diamond in the process of being polished. I have taken part in several initiatives at past business schools in taking their MBA programs from strength to strength. So, when approached by ESSEC’s leadership team, it was hard to deny the fit.
Why did you move to Europe?
I have been traveling to Europe for many years for research projects, presentations as well as teaching for many executive groups through affiliations with other universities. There is a vibrant community of scholars that care about both rigor and relevance within European business schools. After several years of mulling it over, I finally took the initial steps reaching out to colleagues at European business schools. Then, from there, voila, it happened quite quickly and naturally. My family and I are loving it so far.
What drove you to join ESSEC Business School?
ESSEC Business School is about both rigor and relevance. There is an active and engaged research environment here as well as an active and deep engagement with executives and practitioners. This is key for me. ESSEC is one of the best providers of executive education in the world as well as of a high reputation with research. Again, it was hard to deny the fit.
What are the biggest challenges faced by organizations today?
There are many. However, like most of my colleagues, my view will be colored by my research and area of expertise. So, challenges? An overwhelming majority of executives in hyper-growth organizations (or scale-ups), for example, state that leader and talent development is their largest obstacle to sustained growth. With so many societal, economic, and ecological challenges, organizations need talent that are prepared to lead out. So, I see talent attraction, acquisition, and development as a root challenge that if we “get it right” then many other challenges will be met by top talent.
And how can an MBA enable high-potential executives in tackling these challenges?
An MBA provides you with more than just a “sample size of one” (N=1) view of the world and the world of business and society. Within an MBA - when done right - you will, of course, double-down on your basic business competencies but you will also expand your view of how to create disruptive and innovative models. The MBA provides you a type of learning laboratory to create ideas that bring value to both business and society.
What is your role as Academic Director and what do you wish to bring to the Global MBA program and students?
My role is to follow the great lead of the Program directors that have built such a great program. I hope to provide some additional vision and know-how to take our program to the next level. A goal to help ESSEC’s Global MBA become the leader in creating responsible, analytical, and entrepreneurially-minded leaders of today’s and tomorrow’s organizations.
How should candidates best prepare when applying to the Global MBA?
Our global MBA has two focused tracks: (1) Strategy & Digital Leadership and (2) Luxury Brand Management. As such, our program is perfect for focused, open-minded, and globally-oriented individuals. In truth, if you are looking for a generic MBA, you won’t find it here. Our program attracts passionate professionals and future leaders looking for high-growth and high-impact roles in business and society.
Do you have any advice for future applicants to the Global MBA?
ESSEC’s goal is to train the next generation of passionate leaders who strive to make a positive impact on the world. So, think through your motivation and goals with these two tracks and ESSEC’s purpose in mind. Here are some reflective questions: How ready are you to commit to a challenging and intensive one-year MBA? Have some explanation ready for why now is the right time for your MBA. This helps you clarify for yourself your engagement in the program. Your cohort will be very important to you. So, the more you think through your unique background and how that background can make a contribution to your future cohort - everyone has something of value to contribute.
When you are not researching and teaching, what do you enjoy doing? What inspires you?
My family and I love traveling. We love going off the beaten track and learning about other cultures, languages, and peoples. Currently, I am learning French to add it to my English and Spanish.
More about the ESSEC Global MBA
If you’re a passionate management professional considering your next move, read more about the ESSEC Global MBA and find out of it is a match for you.