Tammy Madsen wants students to use class content at work the next day, and uses case studies and group projects to accelerate the process.
Tammy L. Madsen, Ph.D., had just joined the faculty at Santa Clara when she was tapped in 2000 to be part of the committee helping to plan the new building for the Leavey School of Business.
“Many of us had strong opinions based on our experiences at other universities” she says. “But, ultimately, the challenge was figuring out what we would need 10 to 20 years out.”
Since then, she’s advanced along with the new Lucas Hall, becoming chair of the Management Department in the school in 2007. Madsen, who grew up in Fremont in the Bay Area, was attracted to Santa Clara because she wanted a place that valued research and teaching.
She teaches the required capstone strategy course in the MBA program; the course introduces various strategic analysis frameworks and covers a range of topics such as industry analysis, strategic positioning, alliances, outsourcing, mergers and acquisitions, and global strategy.
Students engage in an intensive research project where they apply various strategic analysis frameworks and the knowledge and skills they have gained throughout the MBA program to analyze a firm undergoing strategic change. Madsen uses in-depth case analysis and various experiential exercises in her classes. One of her goals is to ensure that students can use class content at their companies.
“Basically, it’s about putting knowledge into action,” says Madsen, who started her career working for a small defense company to analyze F-14 aircraft. She moved on to packaging design and program management for commercial vehicles at Delco Electronics in Santa Barbara, but realized she wanted a different kind of career.
“My exposure to various divisions within General Motors motivated me to pursue a doctorate in strategy and organization,” she says of her move into academics. “I couldn’t help but think that there has to be a better way to run an organization."
"I love my job. I enjoy doing empirical research – exploring questions, collecting data, conducting analysis, and disclosing counterintuitive findings," recounts Madsen. "Many of us are faculty because we enjoy continuously learning and building knowledge.”