GM/DeVos Executive MBA Program

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The DeVos Graduate School of Management is proud to showcase our newest program: the GM/DeVos Executive MBA program. On January 13, 2014 we launched this innovative partnership program with General Motors.  

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • 30-months & 36 credit hours
  • Online course offerings along with six week-long onsite residencies 
  • Interactive case-study learning
  • Immediate application to workplace
  • Participation in system-wide MBA simulation event

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Building upon the graduate school’s previous automotive industry-specific expertise (Dealership & Automotive Aftermarket Executive MBA programs), this partnership program is designed to educate and transform leaders and future leaders from GM Dealerships and Corporate Sales and Service.  Staying true to our differentiators, our time-tested problem-based learning methodology continues to transform the way our students think and act as they hone their personal effectiveness, critical thinking, and business acumen skills.  This partnership program includes exclusive interaction, collaboration, and team-teaching with leaders from GM. Dr. Lisa Fairbairn, dean of the DeVos Graduate School of Management, explains “Given the specialized nature of this program, we are able to customize some elements of the program for a more robust learning experience.  Automotive-specific cases and readings comprise approximately 20% of the curriculum and each student will complete a capstone project focused on their business that creates a minimum $50,000 EBITDA savings. Another integral component of this corporate program is that students learn from each other and share GM and industry best practices.”

GM/DeVos Executive MBA Inaugural Cohort - Each individual brings both a wealth of experience and vibrant energy that make this group very dynamic on a variety of fronts.  Initial conversations with them revealed that most, if not all, of these professionals did not graduate from college with the ultimate dream of working in the automotive industry.  In this cohort, you will find students with bachelor’s degrees in Spanish, materials engineering, secondary education, and economics. Many just happened to stumble upon the opportunity to work at a dealership after college expecting it to be a temporary stint. They quickly discovered that with a bit of hard work and dedication one can quickly move their way up in this competitive industry.

Despite the fact that this industry has primarily been dominated by males, this cohort that consists of eight men and six women and is a great example of how the field is evolving. Most of these individuals have experience in various areas of the dealership including sales, service, finance, insurance, and information technology. There are also three individuals that bring a unique perspective that work directly for General Motors. Of the fourteen students, only three are from Michigan.  Others have joined us  from different states across the country including California, Montana, Washington, South Carolina, Florida, and New York to name a few. Their first onsite residency was February 10th – 15th in Troy, Michigan. In addition to the wealth of information gained in the classroom, these students were able to interact with Mr. Steve Hill, Vice President of U.S. Sales and Service, and tour GM corporate headquarters.

The GM/Northwood University Partnership - In early 2012, Northwood University and General Motors began discussions to develop a series of programs for General Motors dealers, their employees, and corporate staff serving the General Motors dealer network. General Motors chose to partner with Northwood due to our long tradition of excellence in educating General Motors’ dealers and their key management employees.  Through a series of meetings with General Motors staff (led by Chris Bower, Senior Manager for Sales, Service and Learning at the General Motors Learning Center), General Motors’ dealers, faculty, and staff from Northwood University’s undergraduate and graduate programs…the partnership formed and took root.

We are pleased to report that we have finalized and executed a partnership with General Motors called the “GM Retail Professional Development Curricula”. We are very proud that three Northwood University alumni GM Dealers Chris Gaunce, Jason Brickl, and Paul Stanford played key roles in program development. The program is flexible and appeals to a broad segment of automotive professionals. There are three core offerings for participants to pursue within the Retail Professional Development. Each features a tailored curriculum to engage and challenge participants and help them critically learn, grow, and actively apply their learning in the retail automotive environment.

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The offerings are:

  • GM/Northwood University Advanced Leadership Program (began Summer 2013)
  • Northwood Automotive Marketing Bachelor of Business Administration Degree (began Fall 2013)
  • GM/DeVos Graduate School Executive Master of Business Administration Degree (first cohort began January 2014)

Depending on the level of education and academic attainment desired, Retail Professional Development allows participants to select a tailored approach that best meets their professional goals.  Whether the aim is to develop specialized skill sets or earn a bachelors or MBA degree, Retail Professional Development provides educational opportunities that have a direct application to the retail automotive environment.

We have had over 1,500 inquiries via our website and strong early enrollments in all programs including the Executive MBA.

For more information on:

Executive MBA program, please contact Nicole Keel at keeln@northwood.edu

Advanced Leadership Program of the Automotive Marketing BBA, please contact Brett Blythe at

blytheb@northwood.edu - Lisa Fairbairn, Timothy G. Nash, Nicole Keel