How to Select an Executive Education Program
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1. Identify the development needs. Boil it down to the top three development
needs, or in other words, "what are you trying to get from a program?" Typical
answers are "learn how to be more strategic", "leading change", or some
combination of functional knowledge (finance, sales, and marketing). There may
be is a timeframe that's better or worse than others (i.e., next 6 months, avoid
the summer, etc...)
2. Search your favorite executive education providers. Mine are listed on the
left on my blog. These are programs I've used and have gotten positive feedback;
they are also rated favorably by Business Week and the Financial Times. I start
with The Center for Creative Leadership and Darden for leadership, Chicago's GSB
for sales and marketing, Wharton and Chicago for finance, Harvard and Stanford
for strategy, UCLA and CCL for non-majority programs, etc....
3. Once you find a couple potential programs, look for a good fit. Look at
the recommended participant level, participant mix, industry mix, and company
4. Check out the instructors, read the bios. Review the day by day agenda,
topics, and activities. Again, you're looking for a good fit for the participant
and his/her development needs. Talk to the provider's Exec Ed Director, or
someone who can help you learn more about the programs. Ask other's if they have
experience with the program.
5. Talk to past participants if possible, or someone in charge of
leadership/executive development development.
6. Geography can sometimes be a factor. Looking for a global experience? Than
look for a good mix of global participants, or better yet, attend a program
outside the U.S. Insead, IMD, and the London School of business are all
excellent European choices. I've not found much in South America or Asia, but
many of the top US programs now take place in Asia. If you want to network for
some high tech leaders, then go to Silicon Valley (Berkeley, Stanford).
7. Length of program: Programs range anywhere from 2-3 days to 6 weeks. I
honestly don't know how someone could afford to go to a 6 week program these
days, unless they are on a sabbatical or their company is just trying to get rid
of them for a while. I've found you need at least a week to have a true
immersion experience. Some of those deep "ahas" don't happen until the 4th or
5th day. Two weeks seems to be perfect, with an opportunity to explore and
recharge on weekends.
8. Check out the amenities'. All right, I know, this is a learning experience
and not a vacation, but top notch food, accommodations, and surroundings all are
part of the total experience. All of the schools on my list cater to executives
- this actually ends up being a driver of participant satisfaction and the
school's program rankings. Also see if the room and meals are included in the
program. 9. Factors that should not be a part of a decision: alumni
relationships, timing coinciding with the NCAA playoffs, and catchy program
10. After all of this, narrow it down to 2-3 program, and then select based
on best fit, timing, and costs.
These are often once in a life time experiences for most leaders. University
executive education programs are a big investment, usually in the $7,000 -
$40,000 price range. Clear your work and personal calendars, and immerse
yourself in the week. This is a time to be 100% selfish, and focus on nothing
but your own development as a leader. Your company, employees, co-workers, boss,
and family will all benefit from the new and improved you!
About the Author
I've been a practitioner in the field of leadership development for over 20
years. I'm currently the Manager of Leadership and Management Development at a
Fortune 500 company and a "Great Place to Work" award winner. I have a Masters
degree in Human Resource and Organizational Development. I'm married, have two
daughters, and an old lab named Annie.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-02-03 22:01:37 in Personal Articles