Usit award sends Thames water twins for top Harvard training

High-flying Thames Water twins Duncan and Stuart Smith won places on a prestigious Harvard leadership course – after each applied without the other’s knowledge.

The brothers, aged 35 and each married with two children, have both worked for Thames Water for 15 years, Stuart as head of revenue and Duncan as head of networks.

The pair – unbeknownst to each other – applied for the Harvard Award, a bursary offered annually by Utilities and Service Industries Training Limited (USIT) to high-flyers in the utilities industry. Those selected attend the six-day High Potentials Leadership Program at Harvard Business School in Boston, America.

Stuart said: “We couldn’t believe it when we found out that we had not only both applied for the award but had both been successful. The program was intense but really enjoyable – to be in a room with 100 delegates from 40 different countries, all with different perspectives, was an enriching experience and the quality of teaching really made it work.”

Duncan added: “It was a bit bizarre to see Stuart on the course but, then again, we’re alike in so many other ways it wasn’t that surprising. The Harvard Award course taught us to think and react to issues in a different, more efficient way. It served as an external benchmark for where I was on my leadership journey and the potential that could be achieved.”

Along with the twins, the third successful UK applicant was Alan Warren of Severn Trent Water.

Martin Kane, chairman of USIT, explained: “This is a no-strings-attached prize worth up to £15,000 where successful candidates receive an intensive program at arguably the best business school in the world. It is an opportunity to not only enrich their career but also the companies they work for and the industry as a whole.”

The six-day intensive course aims to prepare participants to optimise and sustain their leadership potential by teaching strategies on how to handle complex challenges and encourage new, creative ways of thinking. 

Candidates are currently being invited to apply for a USIT award to enter the 2011 program in May/June. Travel, accommodation and course fees are included. Any individual employed within the utilities sector can submit an application form by visiting by 30th September 2010.

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