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October 30, 2008
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Considering many of the students in Virginia Tech’s Executive MBA program could probably be teaching advanced courses in business, it’s a pretty high powered program. (We already knew that, because they’re an illustrious sponsor of ours.) But we ran out to their Falls Church campus because we know a lot of their students are techie readers of ours en route to global business domination.


If you’re thinking of enrolling, be nice to Karime Shamloo, who heads up admissions. Only 25 students are selected at a time, bringing an average of 13 years work experience and (in some cases) a handful of degrees. “Most of our students are experts in their field, but to take the next step they come to us for a more rounded global business education,” Karime says. To do that, the school holds classes on Fridays and Saturdays every other week. That helps students manage work, school, family, and their own sanity.


We caught the students before class started, so they’re all smiling. To keep up with schoolwork, each student gets an Apple MacBook Pro (complete with video conferencing technology to work remotely on class projects) and an iPod to record class lectures. There is also an end-of-program trip. This class picked Moscow and Helsinki (for some strange reason). We would have picked a warmer climate, but that just shows how serious these students are.


Booz Allen’s Dan Rogers, Case Design’s Karen Eckert, and AOL’s James O’Brien. Dan tells us the classes focus on real world situations, mostly pulling case studies from actual companies. “We really look at what they did to figure out what went right and what went wrong, which in business can be hard to tell,” Dan says.


Scale’s Sundeep Mohan, center, flanked by Booz Allen’s Tim Hanlon and Tim Goodrich. Tim G drives three hours from Hampton Roads for class, so the traditional post-graduate classes at night are not exactly ideal for him, and the weekend schedule lets him see his two kids. In fact, all of these guys are fathers, so classes on international finance get mixed in with SpongeBob. “It will all be worth it when I’m a CIO or CTO some day,” Tim H says.


DARPA’s Amyn Jan, AOL’s Ajay Chadha and Cognoss’ Erik Sauter. This will be Amyn’s third master’s degree, because you know two is never enough. Amyn already manages a multi-million dollar budget with the Feds, so we’re guessing next he wants to run DISA. Erik has a home somewhere, but he forgets where it is. “I’ll travel so much for work and then come here on the weekends; I think my son is wondering who this strange man is showing up every few days.”


After 30 years in business, Rockville-based Biocon is still on the cutting edge of innovation as their new Greenlight testing is the rage among local vaccine developers. “In a few days we can accurately tell if a vaccine is getting a biological reaction and is worth pursuing,” says President Larry Cunnick, a former science teacher from Niagara Falls who started the 32-person company after his wife got a job at NIH. Larry also runs a dog kennel (he has two dogs of his own) and loves keeping his wife’s prize-winning chrysanthemums fresh.

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