Nissan

Preparing high-potential employees for leadership

Nissan’s North American headquarters relocated from Los Angeles to Franklin, Tennessee, in 2006. Nissan executives were pleased to discover a top-notch university and business school in their new backyard and immediately began exploring ways in which they could work with Vanderbilt. During the course of these discussions, Nissan invited us to partner with them in developing a world-class leadership development program that would support their strategic plans for staffing and development of high-potential employees in North America and around the globe.

Vanderbilt’s Custom Solution for Nissan


Vanderbilt's custom design approach integrated faculty subject experts with Nissan's business leadership team to create a collaborative, give-and-take dynamic. By collaborating with Nissan up front, subject matter experts were able to help design a program focused on the company's strategy. Nissan leaders were embedded as part of learning teams to provide perspective and feedback. To ensure business relevancy, the Vanderbilt team included action learning in all areas of the program to help participants understand how their efforts contribute to the company's bottom line. 

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Participant Feedback

I have a better understanding of the role of manager vs. leader and how that applies to future positions.

The program was very well developed and aligned with my needs. The speakers did a great job in delivering the program.

Leadership & innovation…not something we get to work on & discuss in our normal work environment.

Congratulations for excellent organization—always paying attention that we were comfortable.

Sponsor Feedback

At Nissan we’ve targeted Quality of Management, specifically leadership development, as one of our key strategic priorities. Through our three-year collaboration with Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, the faculty has assisted Nissan’s team to create a number of customized leadership development programs that combine The Owen School's expertise in cutting-edge management theories, with the real world application of these best practices and principles within Nissan.

Over the course of our relationship with The Owen School, they have cultivated a thorough understanding of our business philosophy through the collaboration of Vanderbilt professors with Nissan executives, which has benefited both organizations in the long term. This partnership has led to programs that help us achieve our goals and objectives, while complementing our corporate culture. Their faculty’s attention to detail and flexibility is appreciated and helps ensure a seamless program delivery for our participants. Additionally, the high quality of Vanderbilt’s professors always elicits positive feedback from our program attendees.

Overall, our return on investment (ROI) has been impressive. We’ve been able to measure the success of our leadership development programs through increased retention, as well as the promotion of many of our program participants into senior leadership roles. In the automotive industry delivering quality to our customers is a top priority – it’s that essential ingredient that keeps Nissan partnering with Vanderbilt and The Owen School.

Anish Baijal, Divisional General Manager, Nissan Motor Corporation