Great Expectations

How today's corporate training programs are grooming tomorrow's CFOs.

Once on board, new hires have their choice of 12 types of assignments (6 in corporate finance, 6 on business-unit finance staffs), with the possibility of “tweaking” an assignment to better fit the skills they need to learn. They also undergo post-assignment debriefings to assess their progress. “Because we’re small, we can be a lot more flexible than a large program that has a lot of bureaucracy,” says Jadin.

Is the training a success? So far all of the graduates have found jobs within Grainger after their two to three years of short-term assignments, Jadin says, although with only 11 FDP graduates and eight people still in the six-year-old program, the data is slim. He has high hopes, though, that the program will continue and perhaps even grow, as other departments within Grainger, such as marketing, start to hire graduates of the program. “As our business becomes more fact-based, there’s more demand for finance skills across the company,” says Jadin, “and the rotational program makes it easier to go cross-functional, since the graduates have already built relationships in other departments.” —A.N.

Seven Finishing Schools
Company Rotation structure Who they recruit Age of program
AT&T Four 6-mos. (undergrads) Undergrads, recently added MBA track 10 years
EMC Three 1-yr. Mostly undergrads, some MBAs 3 years
Ford Two or three 18-24 mos. Mostly undergrads, some MBAs 1 year*
General Electric Four 6-mos. Undergrads 85 years
Johnson & Johnson Three 8-mos. Undergrads 6 years
Lucent Three 1-yr. Undergrads 8 years
W.W. Grainger Two or three 1-yr. Undergrads 6 years
*Ford revised its training program in 2003.
Source: The companies

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