When he began working at Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business, Tom DeWitt wanted to create a community of practitioners in customer experience management and began networking through LinkedIn, reading people’s profiles and finding something unique.
“People were coming from different backgrounds … sales, supply chain management. They learn very ad hoc,” said DeWitt, director of the new Customer Experience Management program. “That provided the motivation.”
DeWitt was quickly Googling away, finding a couple master’s programs in Europe, but none in the United States. As he began talking with more people — and more employers — he realized that people’s skillsets in this field were fragmented, and there is an immediate need to develop different competencies by teaching customer experience management in a more traditional way.
Working professionals are encouraged to apply for the M.S. in Customer Experience Management and build their competency toolkit. The 100% online program is part-time, with 15 courses planned out for five weeks at a time, with synchronous and asynchronous elements.
“I wanted the degree to be easily digestible,” DeWitt said. “It’s team-based learning, focused on collaboration, application, discussion. The instructor is there to facilitate.”
DeWitt said faculty teaching the master’s degree program reflect this, with projects often starting in one course and ending in another.
“What’s interesting about the curriculum, the courses build on each other,” DeWitt said. “That requires a very close cooperation between the faculty.”
People coming to the program often work in customer experience management, but in their own silos, DeWitt said. The degree program “allows them to step up above all of that and be able to connect all the dots.
“They can take on a more senior leadership role,” he said. “They will look outside of their industry and see how it’s being done elsewhere.”
Because less than 25% of customer experience projects succeed, collaborating with industry was key in the development of the master’s program. DeWitt said more than 40 companies have signed up to be collaborators.
The degree program equips students with knowledge in leading change within their organization to make it customer centric. That also means understanding how employees fit within their organization.
“Employee engagement and experience is really key,” he said. “Brand alignment and delivering on your company’s value proposition is not just a function of delivering on promises through the experience; it’s also employees delivering every day. It’s about your culture.”
To learn more, visit the M.S. in Customer Experience Management program page.