Bernard “Bernie” Banks, MA, MBA, PhD

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Bernard “Bernie” Banks, Ph.D. possesses over three decades of leadership experience.  Currently, he is the Associate Dean for Leadership Development and a Clinical Professor of Management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.  Bernie possesses responsibility for integrating leader development across Kellogg’s global portfolio of programs.

Prior to arriving at Kellogg, Doctor Banks proudly served for 30-years in the United States Army.  He retired from the military in 2016 with the rank of Brigadier General after having led West Point’s Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership (2012-2016) in his final assignment.  Bernie held a variety of leadership roles throughout his Army career in aviation, airborne, and special operations organizations.  Furthermore, he was stationed in the U.S. and abroad (i.e., Asia and the Middle East).

Born into an Army family, Bernie’s dream was always to become a military aviator like his father.  However, he elected to take a “laissez faire” approach to his academic pursuits as an undergrad (which resulted in Bernie missing the cut for a flight school slot by one person).  The resulting emotional devastation served as the single greatest catalyst in Bernie’s professional life.  Because, in that moment he finally understood that excellence is not a single act but a habit.  Bernie subsequently vowed to never embrace mediocrity again (and to forge that same commitment into the lives of those he is privileged to influence)! 

Dr. Banks has learned a lot in the years since his “epic fail.”  He finally made to flight school four years after graduating from college and finished as the Distinguished Honor Graduate for his class.  Bernie also achieved honors in multiple military courses and programs (to include graduating as the number one student in his Ranger School class).  In 1995, Dr. Banks was selected from over 40,000 officers to receive the Army's top award for entry-level managers (General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award). In 2006, the Apache Helicopter squadron he was leading in South Korea was designated as the top Apache Helicopter unit globally in the U.S. Army's annual best aviation unit competition.  All of the aforementioned accomplishments are reflective of the outstanding people Bernie has worked alongside throughout his career and investing in their journeys is what brings Bernie joy.

A West Point graduate, Bernie is broadly educated. He holds graduates degrees from Northwestern, Columbia, and Harvard Universities. Additionally, he earned his Ph.D. in social-organizational psychology from Columbia University. Bernie's work has been published in a variety of outlets (e.g., Harvard Business Review, Military Psychology, New York Times). Furthermore, he has worked extensively with organizations across all sectors concerning their leader development efforts (e.g., Procter and Gamble, Mercedes Benz, General Electric, IBM, 7-Eleven, The US Forest Service, International Chiefs of Police).

Dr. Banks is excited to assist MSC in its mission of helping veterans and organizations to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.  Today’s complex business environment requires talent that is smart, resilient, and principled.   The military forges such individuals daily.  Helping our heroes/heroines to “take off their blinders as to what is possible in the private sector” is important to them and the vitality of America’s companies. 

When not working, Bernie relishes the human experience (i.e., sports, traveling, and learning).  He is thankful for the opportunity to spend time with family and friends (usually telling tall tales about his previous prowess in virtually all things).