Are You a Candidate for Executive Education?

In flourishing organizations, learning never stops. If on-the-job challenges and the company’s in-house trainings are not letting you reach your goals, however, it may be time to look beyond for educational opportunities. Executive education programs offered by universities and standalone institutes are everywhere — even online — and the diversity of courses expands every year.

candidate for executive education

Typically designed for executives and functional managers with at least 10 to 15 years of experience, these intense programs can be as short as three days or as long as two years, as in the case of a part-time executive MBA, known as an EMBA.

Different courses deliver different benefits. Some build practical skills, like mastering social media analytics. Others aim to develop broad-based leadership aptitude, focusing on topics like entrepreneurship, corporate strategy, innovation, and organizational management.

Before you decide that you are a candidate for executive education, consider whether you fall into one of these categories:

1. Your MBA Is Showing Its Age

You earned your MBA or other professional degree more than 10 years ago. It might be time to brush up in some subject areas. Think of it as sharpening the ax. Update your knowledge on marketing strategy, for instance, an area that has changed dramatically since the advent of social media.

Catch up on the latest academic research around talent management, or learn about emerging trends like measuring the social impact of a business.

2. You Have Your Eyes on the C-Suite

You are a business unit leader ready to move up, and you need to shift focus from managing to leading. The c-suite level is not about functional expertise any more — it’s about guiding an organization through challenges and on to greater success.

Executive education leadership programs, including EMBAs, are designed to propel you to the next level. They immerse participants in a sweeping course of study that covers personal development, negotiating, marketing, financial management, corporate strategy, and risk assessment, giving you the needed skills to both lead an organization and plot its future course.

3. You Want To Improve in Your Current Role

Your current position suits you fine, but you see there’s still room to grow. Taking courses in specific functional areas can offer fresh insights and spark useful ideas that you can apply right away.

Some executive education modules are designed to give you a toolkit to do your job better. Consider a class in effective negotiating, CRM strategy, or how to manage global teams.

4. You Need To Prepare for Upcoming Changes

Your organization is expanding or strategically realigning, and you want to be first in line to take advantage of new opportunities that arise. Prepare yourself for the near future with focused coursework.

Specialize in a new industry, like banking, aviation or health care, with a sector-specific program. Or study areas that may impact your business soon, like financial regulation or import-export policies. Do you have your sights set on an overseas assignment?

You might benefit from a course in managing multicultural teams or negotiating in an international setting.

5. You Yearn for Personal Advancement

You’re a high achieving professional who is never ready to stop growing. You strive to learn more and do things better today than you did yesterday. Often this has nothing to do directly with improving your effectiveness at work, or even getting to the next level.

It’s simply that your curiosity is a powerful motivator. What type of executive education is right for you depends on your personal goals. If you’re a sales executive, you may find it stimulating to immerse yourself in an entirely new subject, like design thinking. Seasoned leaders might even like the positive challenge of “soft skills” training in, for example, public speaking or cross-cultural communications.

Executive education students often find that training unleashes new ways of thinking about the work they do, partly due to the interaction with other course participants, and partly due to the challenging problem solving exercises that usually make up part of the curricula.

The fact that programs take place outside the walls of your organization gives you the opportunity to master the subject, be it leadership, management, personal growth or an important business topic, with a different perspective. That in itself can make the investment worthwhile.

About the Author:

Kate RodriguezKate Rodriguez is a freelance marketing copywriter based in Munich. She has over 20 years of professional experience in public and private organizations. A former international trade analyst for the U.S. government, she also worked as a university career coach, specializing in international career search. Most recently, she was employed at Experteer as a customer service agent and online marketing manager.

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