“EMTM was a wonderful learning laboratory: What I learned on Saturday I applied on Monday.”
Paul Lima, EMTM’03
Lima Consulting Group
Paul Lima, EMTM’03
A Passion for the Strategic Management of Innovation
Paul discovered early on that he was passionate about managing innovation. After earning an undergraduate degree in systems engineering and economics at West Point, he embarked on a double career. After completing his Active Duty commitment with the Army, Paul entered the Army Reserves and took command of a logistics unit in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, and he also worked for SEI Investments, where he was responsible for technology innovations within the trust accounting outsourcing division. Yet even as he felt himself progressing on both fronts, he sensed he needed to hone his business and management skills. "I was confident I could rise to a certain level within the military and the investment industry, but I sensed that to effectively lead at the executive level, I needed to better understand business strategy and how it related to my industry."
After completing EMTM in 2003, Paul continued as a Reservist working for the Pentagon's cyber-warfare unit and at a hedge fund in New York City before starting his own business, Lima Consulting. His consultancy serves organizations that seek lasting improvements through the strategic management of information technology, focusing on business process consulting, web-based application development, and online marketing.
Paul was actually enrolled in an MIS degree program elsewhere when he heard about EMTM from a colleague and decided to shift gears. "I recognized that, while I would end up with improved technical ability, I would be unprepared to assume a role as a senior executive." When he visited the campus, he saw EMTM was a great fit. "The people on all sides of me were really sharp and I thought, 'This would be a wonderful peer group in which to learn and who shared similar ambitions.'"
For Paul, who maintained his role as a Company Commander in the Army Reserves throughout the program, the flexibility of the part-time option and the timing of the weekend classes every other week were ideal, as it allowed him to maintain his commitment to serving his country. "The four years of constant learning was like savoring a meal cooked very slowly; I captured more, networked more, and had the time to let it all sink in without getting overwhelmed, and at the same time I was able to leave an impact on the future of information warfare."
Building on Early Success and Branching Out
Early on, Paul was promoted largely a result of his EMTM education from operations manager to senior product manager. "EMTM was a wonderful learning laboratory: What I learned on Saturday I applied on Monday. While I was there I launched six products at SEI, some of which were new to the industry."
In the core curriculum Paul learned skills and strategies to bolster his role of introducing new and innovative products and services. "EMTM was very influential in teaching me about strategies like value-based pricing, which I applied in pricing a new software product for SEI weeks after I learned it, and still use frequently in consulting." Marketing was also invaluable: Paul learned to integrate online and offline marketing techniques that differentiate him from the competition. He keeps his marketing textbook and research at the ready, and often finds ways to apply these frameworks to help his clients.
While at EMTM, he helped organize the first global immersion trip to Germany, where he and fellow students met with leaders of such companies as BMW, Procter & Gamble and Siemens. Wharton's Global Business Forum and Friday night lectures were other great opportunities for meeting world leaders and developing contacts that have remained important.
Paul stays in close communication with EMTM classmates and professors, who he says have been more than willing to share their research and perspectives over the years. "Some of my best clients have come from my EMTM relationships. Since leaving the program, I've plugged into the EMTM Alumni community. I always go home feeling energized by the people I meet and having learned something new I look forward to applying."