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Management Development Center


The Management Development Center (MDC) is a process, not a place.

Many companies, including our own, are facing a very similar issue these days; in order to continue to be successful, we need to ensure that we have the business leaders in place to continue our trajectory of growth. In order to do this, we need to identify those with the potential to reach senior levels within the organization and identify the management development activities that each of them needs in order to realize that potential. Every person’s needs in this respect are different; we all bring a different set of experiences, skills, and knowledge to the table. The MDC is designed to help identify these in an objective and fair way.

The best companies use processes such as this because they are seen to be much more fair, objective, and effective as a means of identifying talent and creating development plans for managers than the more subjective approach of being nominated by a few managers that know you.  


Typically, an MDC involves a range of activities that are designed for you to interact with. They are designed to determine how you fare against a set of competencies needed to be a successful leader in your organization. These activities will include:

  • A simulation involving a business situation similar to our own industry for you to solve
  • A structured interview
  • A presentation
  • A 360-degree leadership assessment survey

Each of these activities will be observed by some of your organization’s senior managers trained to conduct this role. Each activity will involve two observers; the observers will rotate from activity to activity, so you will be observed by the entire observer team. The 360 will be administered prior to the MDC and you will be asked to invite some of your peers and subordinates as well as your boss to complete it on your behalf, as will you.  


Following the MDC, the observers will get together to share their opinions on your strengths, areas of development need, and your state of readiness to be involved in crucial projects for the company. The result of this analysis will be a Personal Development Plan (PDP) drawn up for you. This is then discussed with you shortly after the MDC, and you will have the chance to add your own observations to the PDP. The Final PDP that you - and the manager discussing the MDC feedback with you - will include which types of development activity will help you get to the next level in your career and prepare you for readiness to engage in senior projects and responsibilities. 


The Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina will design the MDC based on their knowledge of your organization's culture, strategy, and industry. The team at school has extensive knowledge of what makes for an effective MDC, and how to run them. They will facilitate the entire event and are there to see that the MDC runs smoothly and fairly and keep us on track. They will also be training the observers and working with them to help them be objective and fair. They will also advise on development approaches, and have already designed a series of Executive Development programs to follow up from the MDC. 


In reality, the best way to prepare is to do nothing, but be prepared to be you and to embrace the experience. There are no losers.  Everyone comes out a winner, and you have already been identified as Top Talent, which is why you have been invited to attend the MDC.

We are sure you will find the process challenging, interesting, and enjoyable.  See you there!

General Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Daniel-Mickel Center for Executive Development 
Darla Moore School of Business 
University of South Carolina 
1014 Greene Street 
Columbia, SC 29208

Phone: 1-800-EXEC-DMC (1-800-393-2362) or 803-777-2231

Daniel-Mickel Center Faculty/Staff

Angie Brown, Director of Programs  
Phone: 803-777-5952