Executive-on-Grounds | UVA McIntire School of Commerce
M.S. in MIT Charlottesville classroom


One expects a top-notch graduate business program to attract high-profile guest speakers – and the M.S. in MIT Program certainly delivers. More than 35 CIOs and other business and technology leaders are invited to discuss how their organizations are dealing with current issues or technologies. Given the high level of professional experience that exists within the class, faculty members carefully choose guest speakers who can bring a unique and fairly broad perspective to the topics being discussed. These speakers generally address the class for an hour or two and may join the group for lunch or dinner to further the discussion.

In addition, McIntire’s unique Executive-on-Grounds (EOG) program works with a select number of senior-level business leaders who agree to engage deeply on a topic or issue. The EOGs work closely with students and faculty members throughout a module, often mentoring students around executive leadership skills as well as helping them engage in executive-level thought processes in evaluating IT and management decisions. 

Recent and past examples include:

Module 2: IT Project Management

Two EOGs serve as curriculum advisers and coaches for sourcing, vendor management, and project recovery content. They work with Professor Ryan Nelson to hone content, attend and speak during classes, and provide experts for specialized content, such as “legal issues in sourcing.” EOGs currently serving this role include:

  • Dan Elron, Managing Partner, Accenture
  • Ray Hoving, former Principal Consultant, Ray Hoving Associates LLC
Module 3: Enterprise IT Management

EOGs meet with students early in the module to discuss enterprise-wide management best practices. Each student is then charged with exploring IT enterprise management practices at their own organization and creating a recommendation for improvement. Students craft their ideas into a memo, which is submitted to their module coordinator and an EOG. Executives meet with students individually to discuss their ideas and help shape ideas appropriately. The hope is that students ultimately will apply their recommendations at work and create value. In a large number of cases, this happens – with tremendous success. EOGs who have served in this module are all current or former CIOs and have included: 

  • Steve Cooper, Deputy CIO, FAA; Founding Partner, Strativest; former Senior VP and CIO, American Red Cross; first CIO for the Department of Homeland Security
  • Catherine Louise Szpindor, VP of IT, Thomas Nelson Community College; former VP of IT Strategy and Enterprise Applications, Sprint Nextel
  • Martyn Holland, CIO and Senior VP, Information Systems and National Processing Center (Shared Services), HMSHost (formerly Host Marriott Services)
  • Margaret E. "Lyn" McDermid, CIO, Federal Reserve Bank
  • Jill Singer, CIO, National Reconnaissance Office
  • Deborah Cassidy, Senior Vice President and Business CIO, Genworth Financial