Jeremy Hunter ’94
Creates Unique Self-Management Approach
Ten years ago Jeremy Hunter ’94 piloted an innovative class called “The Management of Experience” at the Peter F. Drucker School of Management in California. There was no course like it at the school (or at any business school), and Hunter was sure only a handful of students would sign up. Instead, the class filled to capacity and became one of the highest-rated classes, which spurred him to create two “sequel” classes.
“That experience changed my life,” he says. “I found I had a passion for teaching and for watching people transform in a relatively short period of time.”
To this day, Hunter’s courses in the practice of self-management are still unique; they are among the first to introduce mindfulness practice, a rigorous form of mental discipline, attention training and emotional management, in a management context. The classes teach a systematic set of practices to develop the skills and tools to make professionals more productive, less stressed and more fulfilled.
“I developed the first class because I looked around and saw that most management education is focused on managing things outside of you. There was no practice to help people manage themselves,” he recalls. Hunter’s work in mindfulness was born both out of his work interviewing high-achieving professionals who were mindfulness practitioners and out of his own experience with the power of meditation. When he was diagnosed as a sophomore at Wittenberg with a supposedly terminal disease, he turned to meditation. He thrived for 17 years before requiring life-saving surgery to replace his kidneys. It is a testament to Hunter’s impact as a teacher that 13 of his former students came forward for organ donation. He received a new kidney from one of them in 2008, a gesture he calls “overwhelming.”
He says he never would have discovered mindfulness if it hadn’t been for the East Asian Studies (EAS) program and Eugene Swanger who handed him The Three Pillars of Zen, the book he used to begin his meditation practice.
“In East Asia, you start with cultivating focused attention to build character and internal stability. Meditation trains attention.” he says. Clearly, he has succeeded in translating this esoteric idea to aspiring and current management professionals. What’s more, Hunter was named Professor of the Year in both the Executive Management and MBA programs, proving once again that he really loves what he does.
“Around week four, one-third of the class becomes 10 years younger,” he says. “The students become aware of the stress they are holding and let it go. It is thrilling to see!”