fbpx Alumni Q&A Series: Mark Schaan | Harvard Kennedy School

Mark Schaan Reflects on His HKS Executive Education Experience 

Mark Schaan is the director general of the Marketplace Framework Policy Branch at the Innovation Science and Economic Development department of Canada. Mark attended the Leadership Decision Making executive education program in 2018.

Why did you choose to attend a Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education program?

I chose to attend Leadership Decision Making to develop my ability to make more strategic and thoughtful decisions in my leadership role. I also wanted the chance to network and learn across sectors and geographies, and to gain the necessary skills to make better informed, less biased, and more thoughtful leadership decisions.

What would you consider the key takeaways from the program?

Leadership Decision Making is fantastic at exposing the underpinnings of our decision-making -- how we receive information, what impacts our decision-making processes, and how we are subtly influenced in form, behavior, and approach, to lean a certain way. Another key takeaway was the importance of diversifying the leadership circles we run in - gaining access to other leaders who are similarly working through how to maximize their leadership impact was an exceptional and truly path-breaking opportunity.        

How have you implemented lessons from your executive program upon returning to your organization?

I have tried to reflect more often and in more considered ways about how and why I am making a decision. Moreover, I am constantly trying to draw on a widening circle to inform and assist in my decision-making.     

How would you describe the value of HKS Executive Education to someone who is considering attending a program?

HKS executive programs give you the time to contemplate and improve as a leader. It is not just the exceptional caliber of colleagues in the course, nor the truly world-leading researchers at the front of the class -- but the whole environment and the gift of time and reflection that makes this such an incredible investment in your leadership and future.


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