Photo credit: MAS Holdings
Darden has found a kindred spirit in new partner organization MAS Holdings. One of the world’s most recognized design-to-delivery solution providers in apparel and textile manufacturing, Sri Lanka-based MAS Holdings is a community-focused organization dedicated to providing a sustainable working and living environment for its more than 79,000 employees in 48 manufacturing facilities across 15 countries.
Part of MAS’ dedication to its workforce includes developing responsible, ethical leaders, which has helped lead to the partnership with Darden Executive Education. Darden Senior Director Larenda Mielke first connected with MAS Holdings after they conducted an extensive search for top executive education providers in the United States. Darden was invited to submit a proposal to develop a custom Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) for MAS’ rising senior leaders, which would also welcome other director and executive level leaders from across Asia.
Designed to be a comprehensive hybrid online and in-person program, MAS was looking to provide new approaches and applications of such innovative practices as design thinking to help participants lead, innovate, navigate, and creatively address the fast-paced, increasingly challenging global business landscape.
Mielke took an opportunity to visit MAS in Sri Lanka to present the proposal in person while on travel in Asia and invited one of the program faculty members, Rajkumar Venkatesan, to join via audio conference. This effort gave MAS' leadership teams the opportunity to directly engage with program designers. “Darden’s ability to propose a truly customized program based on the detailed competency framework provided by MAS was a very important aspect of the interaction," says Mielke. “We listened to their needs very carefully and we customized a program from the bottom up.”
As we prepare to launch the inaugural program, there is also potential to create more touch points between Darden and MAS, such as possibly developing an MBA project with Darden’s Center for Global Initiatives (CGI) in which students could interact with MAS, their employees and their communities. “It seems to me that the MAS business culture truly cares for the whole-person development of the employees and the sustainability of the environment surrounding the company operations,” says Mielke. “They are creating something truly amazing.”
In addition to the opportunity for students, there is a unique philanthropic aspect. “Darden can give back by becoming a resource for the company,” she stated. “It’s more than just the work. It’s an organization that we can really believe in.”
The MAS Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) launches 1 August 2016, consisting of five modules over seven months. Modules include online courses and in-person sessions in Sri Lanka and Singapore.