Higher ED Thought Leadership Series: Emad Rahim Interviews Dr. Harper, Provost at Cambridge Corporate University

Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr., Strategic hustler™, recognized as the founder of the Agile Leadership concept worldwide, has executed business strategies to—“RUN, “GROW”, or “TRANSFORM”  businesses [large, small to midsized (SMBs), B2C, B2B, startups], higher education, and governments (foreign, federal, state, city) having combined revenues ($1-plus Trillion) budgets ($4-plus Billion) generating savings/revenues of ($10-plus Billion) achieving a 90+% project success rate.

Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr.
Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr.

Dr. Frank Lee Harper Jr Biography

An award-winning author, his 35-plus year career has seen a professional progression as: technology education pioneer [Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, US], leader [senior IT Executive and Global Competency Expert], professor [Associate Professor of Business Administration/Leadership], college administrator [University Provost, Area Vice President of Academic Affairs], and entrepreneur [UBTS-International, Corp. [President], Intelligent Systems Services LLC [Founder, CEO], to name a few with 20-plus years in international operations spanning five continents.  A benefiter of numerous successes, and significant failures, he has been featured in various media as a trailblazer and his inclusive leadership philosophy which brands the effort needed to be an exceptional leader in the 21st century a “Strategic hustler™” is taught globally through lectures, speeches, webinars, and blogs which a reach of over 500,000.

A survivor of a high crime-ridden area, Dr. Harper, is a lifetime member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. was a two-sport varsity letterman in high school (football/track) and college (football/basketball)—also serving 22 years as an assistant football coach.  Currently a Presidential Scholar completing a Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) (Cambridge Corporate University-Switzerland), he earned a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D. with Distinction), in Administration and Management (Columbia Commonwealth University-US), along with an MBA in marketing, MSc in industrial engineering, and BS (cum laude) in computer technology all from the University of New Haven. Dr. Harper is an alumni of the Institute for Strategy Execution at the Strategy Execution University in Belgium.  The holder of many globally recognized professional certifications, the most current being in: Project Management, Lean Six-Sigma, IT Governance, Organizational Change Management, SCRUM, and Artificial Intelligence. Inducted into the International Biographe Centre of Cambridge England “World Who’s Who Hall of Fame”, his biography appears in numerous Who’s Who publications (high school, college, professional, and executive).  A former Sunday School teacher, he is a proud uncle-grandpa, uncle-daddy, legal guardian, godfather, and role model; who is devoted to the “Christ-like” mindset and enjoys spiritual truth seeking. Dr. Harper’s favorite motto is “Leaders Are Born to Be Made!”

Interview Dr. Harper

Emad Rahim (ER): Please tell us how you got started in your career as the University Provost at Cambridge Corporate University?

Dr. Harper (DH): I have been blessed by very special mentors in my career, leaders who were passionate about making a difference who pushed me to strive to do the same.  After 30 years as a football coach, serial entrepreneur, corporate leader, corporate trainer, global competency expert, and authoring a groundbreaking book in agile leadership, I seized an opportunity applied and was eventually hired as a member of the international faculty (Associate Professor) of Cambridge Corporate University (CCU) which is based in Lucerne, Switzerland with campuses in 19 countries on 4 continents.  My professional progression within the University included: senior academic board member, secondary dissertation supervisor in leadership and management, vice president of academic affairs, and then University Provost.

In reflecting, my previous experiences helped me understand the power  inherent in integrating and balancing a wide range of talents and perspectives.  In athletics and business,  people listen, adjust, and work together to bring a dream to reality.  This translates when collaborating with a range of academic and administrative partners to bring initiatives to life.

CCU is recognized as a top-ranked European University and has cornered the world market in Swiss education being recognized as the world leader in corporate education with top-ranked programs in various academic disciplines. Our leadership is comprised of distinguished scholars and outstanding business professionals.   I attended Yale University for 8 years and have visited the Yale School of Management.  So I have a benchmark for quality and excellence.  I am especially impressed with CCU’s online model, the quality and excellence of the curriculum, faculty, and students.  Creating an on-campus and on-line environment focused on inclusivity and excellence for the faculty, staff, and students at CCU is at the heart of my work as the University Provost.  In addition to being the 2nd highest academic ranking authority, I am one of the five leading authorities leading and directing the University under the supervision of the President’s Office and Board of Trustees.

One of my mentors once told me, “great leaders are great teachers.”  Thus I still maintain my professorial duties which include periodically lecturing to distinguished groups  at the University in the undergraduate, postgraduate and research courses in business administration specializing in agile leadership and project management.

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ER: Can you please further explain the history and mission of Cambridge Corporate University and its roots in higher education? 

DH: This is a great question.  Our mission excites me because my life has been dedicated to doing my part in making this world a better place.  Our Mission at Cambridge Corporate University (CCU) is:We work hard to create a better world.’  How cool is that?

At CCU, we believe that our ultimate mission is to participate in creating a better world.  Our students, faculty, and graduates are part of this new world engine, where every day makes a difference.  Our corporate learning model ensures that our daily activities are linked to the world of business, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, artificial intelligence, and digital transformation.

We are not only participating in adding to the new world of knowledge, but we are actively involved in creating a brighter reality.

Cambridge Corporate University is an accredited international scholarly professional organization with a long history (almost 40 years) of quality education.  The University, with its institutes and centers, represents a symbol of excellence in Swiss corporate education. While historic academic values are deeply rooted in the CCU structure, the University is the land of futurists.  It is at CCU where we bridge our long history of quality education to the age of artificial intelligence and digital transformation.

Some key historic dates include:

1983 The first CCU unit’s establishment under the umbrella of Parthenon Innovation Institute in Nashville, TN, by a talented group of scholars and industry leaders where the CPI Certification Program CPI® was offered as one of the first innovation certifications in the world.
1999 The establishment of the CCU Swiss Campus, the Albert Schweitzer School of Management (ASSM), the CPI Institute (CIGS), and the CCU Corporate Center (CCC) in the beautiful city of Chur, where undergraduate, postgraduate, and corporate programs were offered to students from around the world.
2010 The HealthCare institute was established in the city of Wangen, where postgraduate healthcare and pharmaceutical industry management programs were offered.
2013 The establishment of the new CCU Campus and Headquarters in the city of Lucerne, where the School of Government (SOG) and the School of Hospitality (SOH) were added to the CCU academic structure and offered undergraduate and postgraduate programs in political sciences, international relations and hospitality management.
2020 The Institute of Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (IAR) and the School of Language, Culture, and Media (LCM) were established where advanced programs in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Digital Transformation, Humanities, and media are offered.


ER: What is your leadership style and how has it evolved during your time at Cambridge Corporate University?

DH: My leadership style is what I lecture and write about in my book and articles.  These have earned me recognition from distinguished scholars globally as the Founder of the Agile Leadership concept worldwide.  Basically, my leadership style is flexible, upfront, and in-control.  CCU is the education arm of a giant Swiss multinational CPI International Group which has branches in 19 countries worldwide.  This diversity requires an engaging model to create an innovation-driven enterprise that produces innovative corporate curriculums.  We use an ALSKLS (Action Learning, Structured Knowledge, Lead Strategy) innovative strategic model to achieve are innovation and excellence goals.

The key to effectively leading in this global dynamic environment academically and administratively is having a leadership style that is adaptable (flexible), visionary (upfront), and focused (in-control). Again I practice what I preach and teach with integrity which is beyond reproach.  My global experiences have opened my eyes to see that integrity is more than simple honesty. It is more than being ethical.  A person with integrity has the rare ability to pull everything together to make things happen no matter how challenging the circumstances.  From the street room to the school room, to the board room and all points in between, I have crossed paths with thousands of leaders from all levels of society in various parts of the world who were men and women of integrity.  They were honest, ethical people of integrity.  However, some were not making it in some way.  Sound confusing? Let us swim deeper and discuss those who were not.  While we would say they were people of  good character, the reality is their personhood was still preventing their talents and brains from achieving all that was in their potential.  Said another way, “they could not get past the p-o in potential.”  Some aspects of who they were as people, they never seen as important to develop were keeping them from reaching the heights that all the other investments, they had made, should have afforded them.  While they met the criteria  for having integrity, they also left behind a trail of falling short in some key areas of performance that left them, their stakeholders and the people who depended on them, wanting more.

So being adaptable, visionary, and focused is essential to getting shiitake done in the constantly evolving world of CCU. OBTW this is lesson my students, who are leaders for industry blockbusters, receive and apply during my online, interactive, engaging leadership lectures.

Cambridge Corporate University

ER: Business is constantly changing, what types of things is Cambridge Corporate University doing to make sure students are learning the most updated business information?

DH: Super question!

The types of things Cambridge Corporate University (CCU) does to ensure our students are the best among the best is a learning model driven my our ALSKLS strategy.   ALSKLS (Action Learning, Structured Knowledge, Lead Strategy) is the innovative strategic model developed by Prof. Dr. Hossam El-Shazly, the current CCU President and represents the core-concept in CCU strategy.  Professor El-Shazly first created this model during his time as the President & CEO of the giant Swiss multinational CPI International Group, which became an integrated part of the group’s strategic culture in 19 countries worldwide.

Using the ALSKLS innovative strategic model business cases and collective experience are gathered, screened, and reviewed by CCU researchers, expert teams, and corporate managers from different countries.  At CCU knowledge labs, the action learning process is converted into structured knowledge in an innovative corporate curriculum.

This process acts as the foundation of creating strategic value leads that draw the University’s future map in different scenarios. ALSKLS focuses on presenting a new mindset to manage change, and crisis control differs from the dominant approach that occupies most of the available models.

ER: Faculty play a critical role in the development of your student’s learning and in helping build their business competencies. What type of things are your faculty involved in and doing that make their classroom unique to the student’s learning experience?

DH: During my athletic career I was fortunate and blessed to win championships as a player and a coach.  There were many lessons learned that have carried me during my academic and professional career but they all were birthed from these two: 1.) to win a championship you have to be in a championship game and 2.) you only win the championship with a great team that plays with integrity.

CCU’s greatness begins with our world-class scholar-practitioners which best describes our faculty. All academic programs at CCU are taught by faculty who have outstanding academic credentials, authors of groundbreaking books and articles, and leading authorities in their respective fields. As scholars, board members, industry experts, and field researchers, they have an immeasurable wealth of real-world expertise. They are also recognized experts on global business and management issues and maintain relationships with top corporations worldwide. Currently, many CCU faculty members occupy leading positions with industry blockbusters, including top-ranked multinationals in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, renewable, and digital transformation industries.

Currently we host more than 102 faculty members worldwide in different academic disciplines including the newly established centers.

ER: What type of qualifications and experiences does your faculty bring to the class? How do you make sure they stay updated in their area of expertise and field of study?

DH: This is a great question!

The best way to answer this question is to share the histories of our faculty.  Many past and present faculty members act as expert advisers to government bodies, international blockbusters, and leading research institutes making CCU the symbol of excellence in Swiss Education; the University, its institutes and centers are fully accredited by the international ACC accreditation commission. Each is also a standing member of the Swiss Quality Education Institute.

The CPI was invited to become an auditing member of the ACC Accreditation Commission. CCU’s world ranked Professors and Scholars participated in updating the ACC guidelines for accrediting higher education institutes in Switzerland and Europe.

Here are some more specific examples to answer this question.  For instance, Professor Dr. Hossam El-Shazly, the current elected CCU President, is the former Presidential Candidate of  Egypt 2012 & 2018, and the former President & CEO of the CPI International Group, myself, the CCU Provost, am the founder of the concept of Agile leadership worldwide, Emeritus Professor Dr. Rita Burgett is among the top 5 world authors in business transformation & change management, Emeritus Professor Dr. Yvon-Pierre Pfeifer is the former VP of the Cambridge Philosophy Institute, Professor Dr. A. Hassabou is a winner of the renewable energy international award and the director of the International Energy Unit (IEU), Professor Dr. Nader Nada, the MacAlindon Professor of Business Innovation & Digital Transformation is a former NASA researcher, and many others.

The ALSKLS innovative strategic business model challenges our faculty to stay updated in their area of expertise and field of study.

The qualifications and experiences of our faculty are major enablers to our reputation as a top-rated European University and the World Leading Corporate University with top-ranked programs in different academic disciplines.

ER: MBA degrees are still in high demand, but the competition is larger than ever. How does your MBA program differ from other universities?

DH: At Cambridge Corporate University, we offer 22 Master-Programs in various academic disciplines via the CCU reputable schools and institutes, including Joint Degrees. The Program’s intensive structure and curriculum of 18 months involve 12 months course-track plus a 6-month master thesis /project.

At CCU, many of our Master-Programs highlight scientific and teaching collaboration among various academic bodies, schools, and institutes at the University where best world minds gathered to change the world. When you enrolled in the MBA-PIM program with a major in Pharmaceutical Industry Management, you work with faculty, research, and corporate teams from the HealthCare Institute (HCI) and the Albert Schweitzer School of Management (ASSM).  However, when you are admitted to the MAI-HCM program_ Master of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare Management, you will be involved with minds and talents from both the HealthCare Institute (HCI) and the Institute of Artificial Intelligence & Robotics at the University.

These are few examples of the CCU-Matrix structure that prepare our students to lead the world.  Today, we are proud that CCU-Master students represent the best of the best leaders and managers from global blockbusters in different industry disciplines worldwide.

Here is a sample of MBAs that students can earn from CCU’s ASSM

Department of Business Innovation and Digital Transformation

MBA Program_ Master of Business Administration (MBA)

MBA Program  with Major in Creative Thinking (MBA-CT)

MBA Program _ With Major in Innovation Management (MBA-IM)

MBA Program _ With Major in Digital Transformation (MBA-DT)

MBA Program _ With Major in Crowd Innovation (MBA-CI)

Department of Banking and Finance

MBA Program_ With Major in Private Banking (MBA-PB)

MBA Program _ With Major in Wealth Management (MBA-WM)

MBA Program _ With Major in Insurance (MBA-IS)

ER: Almost every university is going online or trying to offer online degree programs. What innovative things are you doing in your online graduate programs and how do you set yourself apart?

DH: This question can best be answered sharing some online experiences.  I was hired by world-renowned data management experts to create online courses for an online university in France.  The courses developed were computer-based training without human interaction.  I was instructed to write a script that an actor would read.  There was no real-time interaction between the student and instructor.  I have a friend and colleague who is a Professor  at a world-renown technology school in the US who because of the pandemic was charged to learn a new Learning Management System (LMS) to create online courses having no real-time interaction.  In both cases, students are denied the learning benefits a live classroom provides.

Our online learning process is set apart through the innovative online live lecturing model which brings real-world experience by leading practitioners from all over the globe to lecture students on their international campus.  So much of what our alumni remember about their years at CCU is the quality of the learning process shared with their classmates. This transformational process enhances their ability to listen, think and develop a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

My years leading live online lectures at CCU has been a wonderful experience.  My WORLD CLASS can have as many as 75 students, who are mid to senior level leaders, from different industries and parts of the world. Students have the option to communicate via chat or voice.  I, like all faculty, make the class engaging and interacting.

The leadership of our technical team does an excellent job with managing all aspects of connectivity and security.  CCU’s technology platform enables students  and professors, both in different parts of the world, to connect to a proprietary lecture hall where student see and hear the professor and any slide presentation.

ER: What do you think are some of the biggest challenges that graduate schools are facing now and what is your college doing to confront them?

DH: I think the biggest challenges that graduate schools in the US and globally are facing is to accept this V.U.C.A. [Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous] world and begin to modernizing their educational enterprise to leverage innovation, creativity, and digital transformation.  My corporate and CCU experience has proven this effort requires the combination of business transformation, organization transformation, operations transformation, along with digital transformation.  Pundits publish that 75% of digital transformation initiatives fail.  As a practitioner who has advised, lead, and contributed to major  transformations globally I can attest the reason for the failure is the siloed focus on digital (technology) transformation.  Enterprises and their ecosystem are too dynamic thus systems thinking and managing the art of change is required.

As for the second part of your question, “What is your college doing to confront them?” Prof. Dr. Hossam El-Shazly, one of the world thought-leaders in change management and business transformation, and the current President of Cambridge Corporate University and myself have been leading a global team devising and executing the CCU transformation strategy where the University, its Institute and institutes, and Centers have developed an advanced corporate learning model where innovation and creativity are the two core concepts of education and digital transformation is the vehicle to a better future.

Our team collaboratively assessed the University’s maturity understanding the level of adaptability and responsiveness for: L1: Learning Organization; L2: Performance-Driven Organization; L3: Agile Enterprise; L4: Service-Oriented Enterprise; L5: Process-Driven Enterprise; L6: Innovation-Driven Enterprise.  Innovation was recognized as a process that to be effective needed to be well-modeled, communicated, clearly understood, operationalized, and institutionalized as a core competency into the DNA of CCU.   We focused a mastering the following disciplines to achieve an Innovation-Driven Enterprise: Total Service Orientation, Innate Entrepreneurship, Business Ecology, On-Demand Enterprise Architecture, Center of Excellence, Continuous Improvement, Sustainability, and Tenacious Leadership.

CCU is a global trailblazer in Swiss corporate education.  We have overcome the challenges others now or will face. We have created a new dimension into the future and are working hard to secure a different type of human power that will further reinvent the formula of human capital. Our programs and degrees are the hubs where leaders from industry blockbusters meet to learn, study, discuss and examine transformational models under the CCU’s distinguished faculty’s supervision.

Today the vast majority of CCU programs host students who are members of top-ranked international organizations in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, renewable energy, banking, digital transformation, international business, and many other industries.   Innovation and creativity are the two core concepts of education and digital transformation is the vehicle to a better future.  The core element of the quality of education at Cambridge Corporate University remains in the CCU learning model’s ability to positively influence the economic, social, and business dimensions.

As a result, CCU corporate education offers advanced and cost-effective corporate programs for companies or organizations to enhance their employees essential knowledge on specific aspects of their job processes or responsibilities.  Any education and training the can be done online is the best solution.   The main reason for this is simple: companies and their employees have realized they can do it more effectively, less time, and save costs. Everyone wins!

ER: We learned a great deal about you and your university. If I was a potential student or employer that was stuck between choosing two different business programs, what other things would you want me to know about your degree and university to help with my selection?

DH: Earning a degree from Cambridge Corporate University is a testament that you have engaged in a transforming, developmental experience that stimulates intellectual and personal growth by building deep, practical knowledge and fostering sound judgment.

The word ‘transforming’ is used here deliberately, as transformation is what happens to our students.  When you talk with our alumni, you repeatedly hear how deeply the CCU environment changed them.

Everything about the University, its unique Swiss educational culture, the remarkable faculty who teach with skill and passion, the advanced corporate learning model, and our extraordinary students – everything works in harmony to create an unparalleled environment for learning and development.

Emotional intelligence elements become an integrated part of our students’ and graduates’ personalities and character. At CCU, we believe that education should provide more than knowledge and tools; it should build a foundation for a lifetime of leadership style. We believe that innovation and creativity are the two core concepts of education and digital transformation is the vehicle to a better future.

Our mission statement: ‘We work harder to create a better world’ is embraced in every enabler of our being these include CCU’s principles, policies, frameworks, processes, organizational structures, culture-ethics-behavior.   CCU’s innovative online live lecturing model brings real-world experience by leaders from all over the globe to lecture students on their international campuses.  This exemplifies the dedication to the enterprise  governance of information and technology-i.e.  systems-infrastructure-applications, and people-skills-competencies.  This transformational process enhances your ability to listen, think and develop a deeper understand of yourself and the world around you.

All of these contribute to you having the opportunity to attend the World Leading Corporate University.

Links of Interest

Cambridge Corporate University (CCU) University Officers and Leadership: https://cambridgecu.ch/university-officers/

CCU Faculty & Research: https://cambridgecu.ch/faculty-and-research/

CCU Senior Management Programs Program Director:


UBTS-International Corp. President, Global Chief Governance Officer, International Board Director: https://ubts-international.com

Dr. Harper’s LinkedIn Profile: https://linkedin/in/drfharper

Thought Leadership in Project Management Article: https://pmcenter.bellevue.edu/2021/01/12/thought-leadership-in-project-management-with-dr-frank-lee-harper-jr-pmp-csm-lssbb-cai-gb/

Amazon: A.G.I.L.E. L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H..I.P. with a G.R.I.P.: https://www.amazon.com/Dr.-Frank-Lee-Harper-Jr./e/B00FCBZ64M

Dr. Harper Business Transformation Discussion:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NATYEvz3bF8

Dr. Harper interview on leadership with Dawn News Morning Show in Pakistan: https://youtu.be/WK6MmqexWrU

Dr. Harper Goals To Success:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NI-LLNQj3E

Dr. Harper Keys to Being A Flexible Leader: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NR850Mvd2s

TECH PAKISTAN Global Member: https://techpakistan.org/members/dr-frank-l-harper
TECH PAKISTAN Global Board of Advisors: https://techpakistan.org/advisory-board/

Dr. Frank L. Harper, Jr., PhD, PMP – Interview with Project Management TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtqp3COJegg

Conversation with CEO and Managing Partner of Intelligent Systems Services, LLC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q81EXcRp5c

Blues Eyes Consultancy and Training Pakistan Advisor: https://blueeyes.com.pk

Dr. Harper orchestrates and participates in 1st Annual Hadoop Summit in Pakistan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aVB6qErpnE

2016 Current PM Issues By Dr. Frank L. Harper, Jr.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cGR41WnRyg

CXO Global Forum Pakistan EdTech Summit 2021: https://cxoforum.global/pakistan-edtech-summit-2021/