GE’s illustrious Experienced Commercial Leadership Program (ECLP) is designed to develop ambitious professionals into the company’s next generation of business leaders.
Over two years, ECLP candidates participate in three rotational assignments across a variety of sales and marketing roles in their chosen field. Those who perform well, can expect to gain a full-time job at GE on the program’s completion.
Torben Müller, who now works as global relationship development manager at GE Capital, is one of the program’s many success stories.
Previously, Torben worked at Deutsche Bank in Germany before moving to the UK to study for an MBA at Manchester Business School. During his MBA experience he interned at financial services corporation Citigroup in London and spent a year as an exchange student at CEIBS in Shanghai.
After his MBA, keen to apply his knowledge and work on an international scale, Torben applied for the ECLP. Since then, he’s never looked back.
Why did you apply for the ECLP at GE?
I saw the ECLP as a great opportunity, which would not only help me gain an insight into a variety of industries but would also give me exposure to different leaders and leadership styles.
GE is such an international corporation with a presence all over the world. It’s really open-minded and always looking to move forward.
Which countries and which sectors did you work in during the program?
I was based in London but I worked with and travelled throughout the US, Australia and Europe, visiting France, Italy, Germany, the Benelux and the Nordic countries.
I worked mainly in GE Capital, but I was also asked to work with five of my ECLP colleagues on a project for GE Power and GE Water. I was working with people from a variety of industries and regions, and I got great exposure to their different kinds of skill-sets and ways of thinking.
How have you profited from your experience on the program?
There are so many great insights and business perspectives, which you wouldn’t get otherwise.
At the training courses we had interesting external speakers, which gave us insight regarding management, leadership, and also on up-to-date topics like how to utilize social media. There, you are again able to touch base with colleagues from different GE industries like healthcare or oil and gas. You can hear their stories about their own region and industry-specific experiences and build a large, cross-industry network.
What’s really important is that the program pushes you again and again in an environment outside of your comfort zone. Working on different projects with different industries was something totally new which definitely stretched me. But in the end, you really appreciate it. The program makes you comfortable being uncomfortable.
Would you recommend the ECLP and why?
Yes, definitely! For me, it was a great, challenging experience. After the MBA, it’s another opportunity to grow personally and professionally.
What advice do you have for MBAs thinking of applying to the program?
You should definitely know your business area, how you would to add value to the business and the reason why GE should hire you.
In the interview I was asked the standard questions – on my skill-set and on a case study – but they also checked if I would fit into the company itself, by asking me questions specifically about GE's values. So it’s helpful to know and understand the values which drive GE.
How does your past experience working for Deutsche Bank compare to that at GE Capital in London?
GE is an international company with a far more international working culture.
In Germany, the business structure is quite hierarchical. At GE, senior figures are always open to listening to you, and are genuinely interested in your opinion.
How did your MBA experience prepare you for your role at GE?
Without the MBA, it would be far more difficult to succeed in the ECLP program.
What’s really important about GE is that it’s an international environment, and the MBA definitely helps you prepare for that. You have a lot of interaction with different cultures and you learn to handle people from different regions in different ways.