Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General and Associate Dean for Leadership Ken Keen

Throughout National Veterans and Military Families Month, Emory Business will introduce readers to the stories of veterans who excel at Goizueta and are thriving in their careers. Here, we meet Lieutenant General USA (Ret.) Ken Keen. Ken is Goizueta Business School’s associate professor in the practice of organization and management and associate dean for leadership. In addition, he serves as program lead for the school’s new Master in Business for Veterans degree.

Lieutenant General USA (Ret.) Ken Keen began his journey at Goizueta Business School in 2013. That’s when he first accepted the new position of associate dean of leadership. Since then, he’s become an an integral member of the faculty. His most recent initiative is spearheading the new Master in Business for Veterans program. It comes after a decade of developing programming and coursework designed to instill MBA students with the leadership acumen they need to succeed in business and in life.

“You need to learn how to inspire, influence, persuade, show empathy, listen to others, communicate effectively, and be present,” says Keen. “These programs allow students to put leadership into action.”

Forging Future Leaders

Leading by example is a core tenet of Keen’s curriculum, as evidenced in the many hands-on learning opportunities he oversees.

Through the one-day Leader’s Reaction Course, every Goizueta MBA student tackles several challenging obstacles at the U.S. Army post at Fort Moore, learning leadership along the way. The Goizueta Advanced Leadership Academy offers students the opportunity to put their skills to the test in a high-pressure, weeklong sailing adventure. In the Delta Air Lines Leadership Coaching Fellows program, students work one-on-one with an executive coach. They train to become peer coaches for other MBA students, learning to effectively interact with teams and individuals to improve performance.

People often ask Keen about the importance of leadership programming in higher education. “It’s important that students have a balance between learning hard and soft skills,” says Keen. “If you want to make a huge difference in society and business, you must know how to lead others effectively.”

Leading Beyond the Classroom

Today, Keen puts his own leadership skills to work in and out of the classroom. He currently serves on the advisory boards of HOPE Atlanta, the Witness to War Foundation, and the Foundation for Atlanta Veterans Education and Research. He also acts as Chairman of the Board of the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame.

Keen often speaks to students about “showing up” as leaders. He tells them that good leaders know when to roll up their sleeves and do the work they’re asking others to accomplish.

I often remind my students that leadership is easy, but leading is hard.

Ken Keen

Spoken like a true leader.

The Master in Business for Veterans is specifically for military veterans, active duty, National Guard, and Reserve personnel looking to transition to a civilian career in business. The program leverages veterans’ management and leadership experience from the military. It pairs this experience with the business knowledge needed to transition into a wide range of industries. Learn more here.