Business Leader Faculty™ Spotlight: Peter Logothetis

Lake Effects Blog

Friday, December 18, 2015

A career in the Information Technology (IT) field requires leadership, management and other soft skills to propel talented professionals forward in a challenging sector that rapidly innovates and changes pace constantly. And while IT professionals spend plenty of time “behind the screen,” critical thinking and relationship management skills are key, according to Lake Forest Graduate School of Management Business Leader Faculty™ Peter Logothetis.

Peter Logothetis is a C-Level IT executive at Allstate Insurance. As the Senior VP and Group Chief Information Officer (CIO), Peter oversees three divisions in IT and over 1,200 staff. Since 1980, Peter has specialized in IT within the insurance industry. Prior to his current role, Peter was Vice President and Divisional CIO.  He has taught at Lake Forest Graduate School since 2012.

What leadership and management skills do you think corporations are looking for when recruiting IT professionals?

“All organizations that I have worked with value interpersonal and soft skills. The ability to interact with others in a positive manner is essential. You can have all the technical skills in the world, but an inability to communicate and relate to others is limiting. Establishing rapport, respect and trust with your internal team as well as [external stakeholders] is a foundational skillset. It is how IT professionals are able to drive results. Emotional IQ in business is essential.”

What was your most memorable moment or leadership experience as a faculty member at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management?

“The most rewarding thing is hearing the feedback from our students. After graduation, having students tell me that the things they learned in my class were immediately applicable to their business activities the next day.

“Two of the three years I have received recognition in the student survey that acknowledged my contribution and the value it had for students. It is inspiring and gratifying to hear those stories. It’s more than the award or recognition from Lake Forest or my peers, it’s really about knowing that you are making a difference in the professional success of your students. It wasn’t one particular incident; it’s knowing you made a lasting difference in their lives.”

What is your advice to help IT professionals remain agile when technology continues to change so rapidly?

“When I engage in speaking engagements or address our 1,200 employees, I talk about the fast pace of change and innovation in the IT sector. I often tell my staff that ‘If you think the pace is fast right now, know that this is probably the slowest pace you will experience in your career as an IT professional.’ They smile because they know it is true; it is constantly changing and they get it.

“I think it is important for IT professionals – regardless of their specialty – to explore all aspects and channels of the corporation. Providing IT leadership in any business is really about using technology to solve problems. Learning the technology is easy, but cultivating the critical thinking skills that support problem solving is very important.

“While an IT professional may be specialized, to continue to grow with a company and remain relevant they must be informed about all aspects of operations to provide the solutions and results they are accountable for. A career in IT is not a silo that is exclusive to technology, it is about identifying problems and finding technology tools to solve them.”

How do you feel an MBA opens doors and career opportunities for people in IT management?

“What I am proud of most about being a part of the [academic community] of Lake Forest Graduate School of Management is the culture and our curriculum. We are teaching professionals practical skills that can be used the very next day in their place of practice. It is not only theoretical, textbook-based learning. We’re giving students tools that create solutions in their workplace, and that has great value to both employers and to students who are committed to success in their careers.”

What advice would you give an IT professional considering an MBA degree?

“I am asked this question a lot at Allstate, where our staff are sometimes on the cusp and debating about the best time to start their MBA. It does involve a substantial investment of time and effort, but what I share is that an MBA will definitely advance your career. It will make you a more mature, strategic professional and it is an assurance for corporations who are looking for an experienced, but also cultivated business leader for senior roles and promotions.

“It is not only about having the designation of an MBA, it is what that MBA stands for in terms of personal development, critical thinking and soft skills that contribute to a successful senior executive. It is worth the investment.”

Peter Logothetis is passionate about his role in mentoring the leadership and critical thinking skills that create impact for management professionals in the information technology sector. To learn more about Peter, connect with him on LinkedIn.

Allstate employees can also learn about our on-site MBA classes at the Allstate headquarters in Northbrook and online classes for regional offices at LakeForestMBA.edu/Allstate.

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