School of Business earns funding to support, expand programs with U.S. Army

The School of Business has received $1.28 million since May from multiple U.S. Army grants and contracts to support its initiatives with the U.S. Army. The money will support the school’s Brigade Pre-Command Course and the master’s of science in business with a concentration in supply chain management and logistics program.

“The KU School of Business is playing a major role in helping forge a stronger connection between KU and the U.S. Army at Fort Leavenworth,” said Bill Fuerst, dean of the school. “We are extremely proud of the outstanding educational instruction we’re providing to a significant and ever-growing number of Army officers. The school’s successful relationships with the Combined Arms Center and the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth provide a solid foundation for future growth and expansion of top-quality programs.”

The Brigade Pre-Command Course, which the grants fund for the next year, is an executive leadership program. The participants come from a highly select group of colonels who have been chosen for brigade commands.

The colonels are preparing to take on the responsibility of leading brigades of 3,000-5,000 military and civilian personnel.

“These commanders are among the Army’s most promising leaders,” said Keith Chauvin, associate dean of academic affairs. “This group of colonels represents the pool from which future generals will be selected.”

At the U.S. Army’s request, the School of Business designed the program to introduce the colonels to business models in strategy, organizational change and leadership. The program is one week long, was first offered in January and is now offered monthly.

Several faculty members oversee the program. Tom Jindra, executive lecturer, is the primary instructor and director of the program. U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey gives presentations to each class. The program has graduated about 180 colonels, half of all brigade commanders in the U.S. Army, during the nine months it’s been offered.

The U.S. Army grants and contracts will also fund an additional 16 U.S. Army majors in the School of Business’ master of science in business with a concentration in supply chain management and logistics program. Established in 2008, the one-year master’s program bridges the gap between military and civilian logistics, leadership and management practices. Now in its third year, the program has 33 students, up from 11 in 2008.

“After talking with friends in the civilian sector about the growing importance of supply chain management in the business world, I knew this was the degree that I wanted to pursue,” said Maj. Al Zehnder, who has spent more than 14 years as a U.S. Army logistics officer.

“The school also has 10 U.S. Navy officers in the MBA program this year,” Chauvin said. “Most of these officers were selected by the Navy for the petroleum management concentration. Three of the officers specifically chose KU’s MBA program when the Navy offered to pay for their MBA degree.”

The School of Business is ranked in the top 14 percent of undergraduate schools of business in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report, and programs like these with the U.S. Army further the school’s high standings.

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