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Roberta Aubin
Kelley Direct

Mark Land
Cummins Inc.

Last modified: Thursday, October 12, 2006

Kelley School partners with Cummins on online MBA program for managers in India, China and worldwide

Oct. 12, 2006

Photo by: Tyagan Miller

Dan Smith

Print-Quality Photo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Cummins Inc. has turned to Indiana University's Kelley School of Business to deliver a global online MBA program, which each year will prepare 60 of the company's most promising managers in India, China, the United States and elsewhere for increased leadership responsibilities.

Dan Smith, dean of the Kelley School, will join officials at Cummins India Ltd. at a formal ceremony in Kothrud, Pune, on Friday (Oct. 13) to sign the agreement. Twenty percent of those who enroll in the Cummins International MBA Program will be based there. The event is part of a larger visit by Smith, who, along with several faculty and 60 students from the Kelley School, is touring companies and government ministries in India.

Smith said the announcement of the global online MBA program is another example of how the Kelley School is collaborating with companies that want to develop strong worldwide management teams and improve their global competitiveness.

"Cummins is known around the world for the high quality of their products, the integrity of their business practices and their forward-thinking leadership. They have long been an important partner of the school. This most recent, and significant, collaboration is an outgrowth of our shared belief that business education can not only improve the performance of organizations, but transform entire societies," Smith said.

Jill Cook, vice president of human resources for Cummins and executive sponsor of the program, added, "Cummins is pleased to be partnering with the Kelley School on this important initiative. Nothing is more important to our future success as a global company than cultivating strong leadership. This program allows Cummins to offer a world-class educational opportunity to some of our brightest employees that is tailored specifically to our needs."

Smith noted that the Kelley School has a long history of developing programs to meet the needs of its corporate partners. "Our online MBA has its origins in company partnerships such as the one with Cummins," he said. "We are known for our collaborative, innovative and flexible approaches to curriculum design, traits that are at the very core of high-performing educational partnerships."

The Kelley School was the first nationally ranked business school to offer a fully online MBA program and has developed similar specialized programs for General Motors, United Technologies, John Deere, Ingersoll-Rand and the U.S. Department of Defense. It has been providing its Internet-based Kelley Direct program since 1996, continuing a legacy in extended education that began in 1952.

"At a strategic level, the Cummins partnership fits perfectly with our plans to further globalize the Kelley School and the university," said Michael A. McRobbie, IU interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Kelley's faculty has considerable experience working with business leaders, and many IU faculty have taught abroad and have international research interests. The Cummins partnership allows us to focus these skills on two top-priority international markets, India and China. It's going to be an exciting adventure together, and we are eager to move ahead."

In addition to Cummins' managers in India, another 20 percent of those enrolled will be based at company operations in China, 40 percent in the United States and another 20 percent elsewhere around the world. The initial cohort of students will total 20 students, and the number of those enrolled will increase to 60 within three years.

"This represents a significant cadre of managerial talent being developed within Cummins," said Richard Magjuka, associate professor of management and chair of Kelley Direct. "We're truly trying to become a partner with them to address their needs to generate future leaders who know how to manage a global enterprise."

Magjuka said there are three ways that Kelley will adapt its online program for Cummins:

  • The two-year program will have an exclusively global perspective incorporated into many of the core courses. Students located around the world each will lend a unique perspective about their local markets and, thus, will broaden everyone's worldview.
  • While being an online program, it also will have an expanded residential component that will bring students to the Kelley School in Bloomington and to Cummins' world headquarters in Columbus, Ind. Key Cummins leaders and leadership development practices will be incorporated into these sessions, while students also continue their regular coursework.
  • Students will engage in a Cummins-specific capstone project, for which the Kelley School will dedicate a senior faculty member. That Kelley professor will develop a deep knowledge of Cummins and will work with its top executives on formulating problems and projects that will have an immediate impact on the company.

"Students will learn by addressing significant problems, and Cummins and the school will benefit by creating a learning experience that will be very hard to match in a course setting," Magjuka said. Instead of students working on general case studies, they and the professor will work with a top Cummins executive on a weekly basis "to develop a solution to some pressing problem that would lead to a great business outcome, but also to a great learning experience."

The Kelley School will develop a knowledge management center for Cummins, which will include all of the students' projects and other information developed through the MBA program. It will lead to a high degree of interaction between what is learned, re-integrated into the company and continued for further learning within the program.

Those enrolled in the Cummins International MBA Program will have met the same stringent entrance requirements as other Kelley students, including previous academic success and their scores on the Graduate Management Admissions Test.

In addition to the Cummins-specific coursework, students will complete courses in business analysis, economics, finance, operations management and strategic marketing. Courses are taken while the employees continue with their company responsibilities.

Magjuka said others also will benefit from the new relationship with Cummins.

Enrollment in Kelley Direct program has grown from 100 five years ago to more than 1,000 today. Corporate-sponsored programs now represent about 40 percent of the school's online MBA efforts. Ingersoll-Rand executives praised the Kelley School and its specialized MBA programs in a February 2006 article in Training and Development magazine.

"The Kelley School of Business has a faculty that is willing to work closely with us to understand our business and develop a curriculum suited to our business strategy," wrote Ingersoll-Rand's Rita Smith and Beth Bledsoe. "While some universities offer online courses, many employ faculty who lack the training and aptitude to teach within the unique virtual learning environment. But Kelley School faculty understand how to instruct students virtually as well as in the classroom."

Teaching tools include discussion and debate forums, online testing, audio streaming and video streaming, simulations and time-revealed scenarios for case-based learning. The program only uses full-time, tenure-track faculty recognized for their quality of teaching in other Kelley School programs.

Smith and other Kelley School faculty are in India with a group of 60 sophomore students who are enrolled in a special class on emerging economies and international business topics. This is the first year for the program, which also requires students to take courses in accounting, communications, technology and business law. While in India, they will see how what they are learning is applied by visiting auto manufacturing facilities, call centers and the parliament. Those interested can keep up with the Kelley School's travels by reading blogs at

Cummins, based in Columbus, Ind., is a corporation of complementary business units worldwide that design, manufacture, distribute and service engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions and electrical power generation systems. It has customers in more than 160 countries through its network of 550 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 5,000 dealer locations.