CTAM U Goes Ivy League

The Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing's weeklong CTAM University class-scheduled for June 18 to 23-is moving to Harvard Business School.

The past three courses were at Northwestern University in suburban Chicago.

CTAM president and CTAM U alumna Char Beales said former students recommended that the CTAM Educational Foundation make the course more focused on cable.

"We think it will be more relevant if it's industry-specific, and we know Harvard will do that," she said.

Harvard Business School assistant professor Tom Eisenmann will serve as faculty chair. A former cable and media insider, Eisenmann returned to Harvard in the mid-1990s to get his doctorate.

His dissertation focused on the reasons why some cable companies got bigger in the 1990s while others left the business altogether. At the time, Eisenmann conducted in-depth interviews with the heads of 18 of the top 25 MSOs, including then-Tele-Communications Inc. chairman John Malone.

"Malone let me knock around TCI as much as I wanted," Eisenmann said.

Several cable-specific case studies developed by Harvard professors will be used in the CTAM U course, including those conducted on BET.com, Cox Communications Inc. and the former TCI.

Eisenmann said he developed the CTAM U curriculum to immerse marketing executives in other areas of the business, such as finance, customer-service and strategy, and to give non-marketing executives a "Marketing 101" crash course.

Topics planned for the next CTAM U program include: marketing as a process of creating customer value; an overview of competitive strategy; strategic management challenges in new infrastructure companies; opportunities in interactive marketing; managing the service profit chain and real-option valuations.

Beales said the class size could rise to as high as 55 this year.

"We have turned people away in the past, so the larger class was an attractive feature," she said. The cost per student also rose, to $7,500.

The move was partly influenced by board member Maggie Bellville, most recently executive vice president of operations for Cox Communications Inc., who spent several weeks last summer at a Harvard Business School executive program, Beales said.

A&E Television Networks director of digital sales and special markets Walter Oden-a 2000 CTAM U alumnus-praised the move.

"Harvard has consistently spawned one of the premiere executive development programs in the country," Oden said.

Added Beales: "Harvard is a great brand. CTAM loves great brands."