MBArk FIELD Executive Education Program

Coming July 15-19, 2018



Introducing FIELD  – the Food (& CPG) Industry Executive Leadership Development program.  It’s the first MBA-level executive education program designed by and for the natural foods industry.


Our unique pedagogical format is unlike any other executive education program in the country.  It combines theory and practice side by side in a team-taught setting, offering participants both MBA-level coursework and a deep dive into the tactical, practical world of running a natural products business.  It marries the best of graduate business education with the pragmatic lessons of practitioners – all filtered through the lens of the natural products industry’s one-of-a-kind culture of entrepreneurship, disruption, purpose-beyond-profits, and explosive triple-bottom-line growth.

The program also provides an unprecedented chance to network with others in the industry, to experience the best of Boulder’s “living laboratory” of natural products companies, and to build ongoing specialized learning through webinars and online courses available only to those who have earned the certificate for completion of the in-person immersion.

– Dynamic 4-day immersion into the MBA concepts, cutting edge research, and tactical, practical operating skills of the natural foods industry.

– Unparalleled training for promising executives (VPs, Directors, Managers) in vital skill areas.  It will help you extend and accelerate your learning, increase your on-the-job effectiveness with new tools and skills, and build your career by interacting directly with esteemed business school faculty, researchers, and many of the legendary leaders of the natural foods movement.

– Team-taught by the world class faculty of the CU Leeds School of Business/Center for Education on Social Responsibility AND many leading natural foods entrepreneurs and practitioners, such as Mark Retzloff (founder of Horizon Organic, Alfalfa’s, Aurora Organic Dairy), Terry Tierney (CEO of Daiya Foods), Jane Miller (founder of Jane Knows and former CEO of Rudi’s Bakery and ProYo), Joan Boykin (CEO of Boykin Consulting and member of the Natural Products Hall of Legends), and Joe Dobrow (former head of marketing of Whole Foods Market and Sprouts), and many others.




The FIELD curriculum is built upon some of the key pillars of traditional MBA education, tailored specifically to the unique demands of the natural products business.  Participants will learn numerous business school concepts, both classical and cutting edge, and in each instance will have initial exposure to the theory from a distinguished professor, right alongside a focus session with an industry practitioner to explore how those concepts are applied or modified in today’s competitive, fast-paced natural products marketplace.

The four major areas of study include:

personal leadership development

  • 360° leadership style assessment
  • Effective communications and presentation skills
  • Exploration of Emotional Quotient and “soft skills” – receiving feedback, avoiding “no” and “sorry,” leading with character before reputation
  • Decision-making/game theory – how to look ahead and reason back
  • Negotiation strategies and tactics
  • Transformative Authentic Leadership – including mindful leadership, dealing with stress, and aligning work with purpose

people management

  • Best practices in hiring and finding mission-driven/food-passionate candidates
  • Modern compensation strategies
  • Evaluating talent and conducting reviews
  • Building internal and external team dynamics – promoting inclusion, integrating remote co-workers
  • Management in uncertainty and crises
  • The layoff game
  • Managing boards

21st century marketing

  • The Millennial Mindset – and how it views food systems
  • Tools for discovering and interpreting consumer insights
  • Digital marketing landscape, tools and metrics, including DTC
  • Utilizing big data/CRM
  • Marketing partnerships – from manufacturer to distributor to retailer
  • The case for purpose: marketing at vs. mattering to

business economics

  • Food industry financial literacy
  • Need-to-know basics of corporate financial management – reading financial statements, understanding profitability and cash flow
  • Essentials of food industry accounting
  • Valuation principles
  • Sources and costs of capital/tools for financing



We are still putting together the final details for our pilot program in the summer of 2018, including costs, instructors, and exact curriculum.

If you are interested in receiving more information and/or would like to consider enrolling in our inaugural program, please fill out the form below and we will get back in touch with more details shortly!


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