San Marcos,
15:29 PM

Open Course Invites CEOs to Talk Candidly

By Christine Vaughan

Allowing students to interact and learn firsthand from top CEOs, In the Executive’s Chair, a premier program of CSUSM’s College of Business Administration, invites top executives to share their business philosophies, successes and challenges, and candid advice.

The first of its kind in the nation, the upper division business course was first developed 15 years ago and has welcomed more than 300 CEOs, founders and executives to campus. Although a formal class, the seminars are open for anyone to attend.

“We bring in top business leaders to talk about their careers, their companies and the critical business decisions with which they are commonly faced,” explained Raj Pillai, who co-founded and teaches the course. “Our primary purpose for exposing the students to these successful executives is to better prepare them for their own business careers.”

The concept for In the Executive’s Chair was inspired by the Bravo television series, Inside the Actor’s Studio. At the core of the show, highly regarded actors shift from celebrity to teacher, imparting words of wisdom to the next generation of actors; or, in the case of CSUSM’s course, executives to future business leaders.

Past guests include Irwin Jacobs, board chairman of Qualcomm, Ralph Rubio, chairman and founder of Rubio’s Restaurants, Inc., Steve Wagner, brewmaster and president of Stone Brewing Co., Jerry Navarra, chairman of Jerome’s Furniture, and CSUSM’s very own President Karen Haynes.

In the Executives Chair seminars are held on Tuesdays from 10 to 11:50 a.m. in Markstein Hall room 125.

Watch short exerts from past speakers on CSUSM's YouTube channel.

Upcoming Guests Include:

  • Oct. 6: Margaret Davis, President & CEO, Marine Corp Scholarship Foundation
  • Oct. 13: Shelly Zimmerman, Police Chief, San Diego
  • Oct. 27: Mike Mogul, President & CEO, DJO Global Inc.
  • Nov. 3: Mark Emch, VP Finance & CFO, San Diego Convention Center Corporation
  • Nov. 10: Neville Billimoria, Chief Advocacy Officer, Mission Federal Credit Union
  • Nov. 17: Jody Watkins, President & CEO, Watkins Landmark Construction
  • Nov. 24: Chris Sichel, CEO, Make-A-Wish Foundation San Diego
  • Dec. 1: Paul Ecke, President, Paul Ecke Foundation