Executive MBA accelerates career success for McLaren COO

Executive MBA accelerates career success for McLaren COO

Casey Kandow seated with McLaren Greater Lansing backdrop
Casey Kandow, EMBA '13, COO, McLaren Greater Lansing, relates his recent career success directly to Oakland's Executive MBA program.

Casey Kandow, EMBA ’13, believes hard work, mentorship and education inspired his rapid rise to chief operations officer of McLaren Greater Lansing. Kandow launched this upward trajectory, which included three promotions in three years, when he wisely followed advice from his CEO to get an MBA.

“I needed a reputable program that offered flexibility around my career and family. My CEO suggested Oakland University’s EMBA,” he says. His research of Michigan-based Executive MBA programs with weekend schedules confirmed his boss was correct. “Oakland’s Executive MBA program met my criteria: a quality program with AACSB-International accreditation, convenient location and a flexible class schedule,” he says.

It didn’t take long to realize Oakland’s Executive MBA program was an ideal fit. The depth of Oakland’s expertise in healthcare leadership combined with the alternate weekend class schedule meant the program easily met the dual demands of work and family, which includes his wife, Lindsay, and three young children.

Designed for experienced professionals, Oakland’s program features hands-on learning methods with a focus on integrative thinking, analysis of real business cases, working in learning teams and participating in business simulations. “There’s a really good balance,” he says.

Actionable knowledge

Kandow points to the quality mix of academic scholars and business professionals teaching the classes as one of many strengths of the program. “From my accounting class with Donna Free to David Chinsky’s leadership lessons, I found all the classes relevant to my everyday operational tasks,” he says.

His manager and colleagues immediately noticed his enhanced business acumen in corporate finance and managerial economics, knowledge that his master’s in molecular biotechnology from Wayne State University and his bachelor’s degree in medical technology from Michigan State didn’t cover.

His experience in Professor Jonathan Silberman’s, Ph.D., economics course transformed Kandow into a lifelong learner. “Dr. Silberman is an extraordinary lecturer and has a fascinating way of mixing textbook economic concepts with current world events,” Kandow says.

Even after graduating, Kandow and his fellow Executive MBA alums attend public lectures by Dr. Silberman whenever they can. “I respect Dr. Silberman’s intellect. His insight helps me mine nuggets that impact my job in healthcare administration.”

“It’s a pleasure to have students like Casey who are enthusiastic about learning and have the experience to apply what they discover,” says Dr. Silberman.

Lifelong connections

In addition to his career success, Kandow relishes the professional network and friendships he built as a student. Kandow recalls how he and some of his classmates would continue dissecting economics concepts they learned in Dr. Silberman’s economics lectures long after class was dismissed.

“We’d use Dr. Silberman’s discussions as a springboard to conversation,” he says. “We ended up creating lasting friendships that I did not expect to make when I enrolled in an Executive MBA program.”

The diverse professional backgrounds of the students accentuate the learning, providing each student with a broader perspective of business.

About the Program

The Executive MBA at Oakland University is a premier graduate business program designed exclusively for experienced professionals. Offered in a cohort structure, the fully inclusive 21-month program meets Friday afternoons and Saturdays on alternate weekends to support the lifestyle of busy professionals. Students in Oakland’s Executive MBA program are often mid-career executives preparing for senior management or senior executives looking to enhance their skills. Learn more at oakland.edu/emba or attend an upcoming information session.


Kandow and fellow EMBA alum Bryan Proctor, COO of Tyler Technologies, which provides software for local government agencies, including police, fire and EMS, connect regularly for advice and support. Proctor, too, appreciates the benefits of Oakland’s Executive MBA program. “As a student in Oakland’s Executive MBA program you have interactions with others from a variety of industries who have real-world examples of how they tackled issues,” Proctor says. “You learn from them, getting a breadth of knowledge simply because of the various interests of your new expanded network.”

An EMBA advocate


Kandow is a proud alumnus and ambassador of Oakland University. “Oakland’s Executive MBA program really exceeded my expectations for quality, environment and faculty,” he says.

When approached by colleagues considering following in his academic footsteps, he doesn’t hesitate to tell them: “I relate my recent career success directly back to Oakland’s Executive MBA program."