BBVA Compass Prepares Their Leaders for the Future

Earlier this month, Texas Executive Education continued its academic partnership with financial services powerhouse BBVA Compass to conduct the 2017 edition of the BBVA Compass School of Management at The University of Texas at Austin. This year's theme — Operational Excellence in Today's Environment — served as a rally point for 35 of BBVA Compass' best and brightest senior leaders who were brought together for a week long program designed to sharpen their business acumen and prepare them for even more responsibilities within the company. Much more than just a series of classes, the BBVA Compass School of Management is designed to prepare attendees to work in small teams to select real-world projects that support BBVA's strategic plan, and to develop ideas and concepts that will impact the company's future.

BBVA Compass
BBVA Compass

Jeff Olin, who serves as BBVA's Director of Leadership & Employee Development notes: "It's amazing to see how the participants apply their learnings each day to the projects. Once the teams are assigned, individuals start pitching ideas, advocating their points of view, forming alliances, and using what they have learned in real time to attack corporate challenges." Jeff adds, "You'll hear them in conversations at lunch or in the team rooms, and it's almost like hearing the professors themselves." That kind of immediate application is no accident — the curriculum for this program is specifically designed to serve as a catalyst for idea generation and problem solving, and includes classes on Advocacy, Power and Networks, Change Management, Ambidextrous Communications, Creative Solutions to Complex Problems, and much more. All of these subjects build on each other, and serve as a strong foundation for their action learning projects.

It is important to note, however, that this program (and more importantly, the relationship between Texas Executive Education and BBVA Compass) is not static. The curriculum is adjusted each year to fit not only changing market and business conditions, but also to take advantage of the cutting edge research conducted by Texas Executive Education's professors. Nancy Nagle, Texas Executive Education's Director of Custom Programs adds, "There is tremendous synergy between our two organizations. Texas Executive Education faculty and staff work in harmony with BBVA executives to design a program each year that challenges the participants to get out of their comfort zones and really stretch themselves."

When asked to describe the relationship between Texas Executive Education and BBVA Compass, Jeff puts it this way: "The relationship we've formed with Texas Executive Education over the last ten years of this program is truly special. You know us. You know our culture. Your professors understand our issues, and connect on a powerful level with our management team. Anyone can hire outside experts, but our partnership with Texas Executive Education goes much further than that — you anticipate our needs and bring ideas that really generate forward thinking."

Another very important component of this program is something organic that grows from the experiences of the participants themselves — the power of the learning cohort. Friendships and business relationships that are formed in the crucible of the action learning projects and across the teams last far beyond the classroom, and continue to benefit the participants years down the road. Classmates from a wide variety of functional areas, geographic locations, backgrounds, and experiences stay connected, and serve as a mutual support society within BBVA Compass even after their action learning projects have been completed. This bonding is due in no small part to the mentorship provided by BBVA's Marcie Sebastinas — Marcie serves as Program Director, but is really the conduit that connects the participants, professors, staff, and projects together. To quote Jeff, "Without Marcie, this program just wouldn't be the same."

Texas Executive Education is proud of our academic partnership with BBVA Compass, and would love to create a program for your organization as well. If you would be interested in learning more about what we can do for you, please contact Nancy Nagle, our Director of Custom Programs. Nancy can be reached at (512) 475 – 9086 or via email at