Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
23 Oct 2012

Customised executive education focus

23 Oct 2012 • by Changeboard Team

The benefits of customised executive education

Q. What are the benefits of customised executive education?

Samantha Bown, London Business School (SB): “Our customised executive education programmes team directly address your critical business challenges. We see this as a way to directly impact one’s role in an organization.”

Koen Dewettinck,
Vlerick Leuven Management School (KD): "Customized executive education gives the advantage that you can tailor a programme so that it maximally fits with you and your company’s training needs. At the same time, it enables the participants to create a common language, perspective or approach, which can be very important to make change happen. Another advantage of customized executive education is that you can support the training with counselling, coaching or project work to make sure that what people learn is really transferred to organizational reality."

Dr Kerry Sullivan, Surrey Business School (KS): "The content of many Executive MBA programmes will not differ significantly. The core management topics of finance, human resource management, operations, strategy etc. will be covered in every accredited programme. Candidates need to establish what added value programmes offer. How does the programme integrate personal development into the curriculum? Will their personal competency in areas such as decision making, managing others, negotiation be enhanced by this programme? All programmes will offer management theories but how many will include a real consultancy opportunity on the course? How is theory and practice combined?"

Professor Vivien Hodgson, Lancaster University Management School (VH): "For our graduates the benefits of customized executive education include learning that is tailored to business need and the use of live projects. The value of contextualizing knowledge is that it then becomes a practical tool."

Professor Dr Désirée van Gorp, Nyenrode Business Universiteit (DVG):
"The benefit of customised executive education is that tailor made programs can be designed according to corporate strategy, core values, culture and specific development needs. During the program the projects are intertwined with academic theories and business insights. The results of the business projects can be of great value to the everyday business. Having a group of participants of one organization makes the area of organizational development within reach. The group as a whole can function as so called change agents or ambassadors. The strong connection made between different business units in the organization during the courses are highly appreciated by the individuals and support business results."

Professor Amir Sharif,
Brunel Business School, Brunel University (AS): "Customized executive education is beneficial when there is a very specific need to understand and develop competency as well as exploring a specific area with colleagues in your company. For example, learning about how to grow an existing business using scale and customer reach in the telecoms sector; or understanding how to budget and make financial decisions within the textile industry.

Iain Henderson, Edinburgh Business School (IH): "The main benefits of customized executive education centre around being able to contextualize the input to your organization and sector while at the same time creating greater opportunities for networking within your organization. On the other side of the coin however going for a standard programme allows your people to see successes from different organizations and enables the opportunity for wider networking outside your place of work."

The pitfalls of customised executive education

Q. What are the pitfalls?

SB: “We don’t view further executive education and studying as pitfalls, as the time investment is outweighed by invaluable benefits which have a direct impact on your organization’s success.”

KS:
"The MBA is an intense experience for the participants. The trade-off is the monetary and non-monetary sacrifice. Fees and loss of social time, you have to commit whether full or part time."

VH: "Potential pitfalls of customized executive education according to our graduates can include lack of outside influence or applicability to current business practice. It’s important to choose a programme that relates to current business practice and that doesn’t focus solely on the academic."

AS:
"Customised executive education can be expensive and can be narrowly focused. Most such interventions typically involve a single company or division looking to find new ways to address particular business challenges. What you won't find is diversity of thought and experience on a customized programme (as compared to open programmes, which are open to all types of participant and company around a general topic). Due to their very nature, unless the company does not provide specific needs and expectations to the training provider there is the risk that development needs won't be met by this type of training. Hence once again, working in partnership to define and outline the benefits of the training intervention is crucial to success."

DVG:
"The downside to participating in a customised program is not to be a able to learn from other participants in other sectors and industries. We tend to eliminate this downside by offering a broad perspective of professors, guest speakers and business cases."

IH:
"The impact on work–life balance. The possibility of failure."

November/December issue

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