Michael Baker Reflects on His HKS Executive Education Experience

Michael Baker is a strategic advisor for the U.S. Coast Guard Intelligence Coordination Center. Michael’s executive education experience includes attending Global Change Agents in 2016 and Leadership Decision Making in 2018.

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

I was looking for a program that would give me insight on how to lead organizational change, what challenges could I expect, and how to best prepare for them.  The course was a perfect primer on how to prepare for this long, hard road.

What would you consider the key takeaways from the program(s)?

I’ve learned that those who oppose change likely have good reasons, be curious about them and explore their points of view. Overall, it is always about the organization, not about you and change is going to take time.

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

I have built three curriculums and conducted more than 500 hours in training and mentoring sessions to pass along the wisdom I've gained in the two programs that I've attended. These insights inform my action every day and frame a major part of my value to the organization.         

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

My role in the organization substantially changed after attending my first program.  I had a sense of confidence, born of insight, regarding how we needed to change and why. This type of insight can’t be found in day-to-day work. It comes from the research, careful study, and analysis in which the HKS faculty excels. I walked away from Leadership Decision Making with a perspective and skills I would not have developed had I not attended. It is a clear differentiator from my colleagues.

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