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How to choose the right executive education plan?

You’ve made the decision to go back to school, either to up-skill or because your company has encouraged you to do so. Among the several custom-designed executive education programmes available in India today, how do you choose the one that best meets your requirements?

To pick the right programme for your needs, you should:

1. Sort schools by skill
Executive education programmes generally offer courses that focus on specific aspects of business, like accounting, leadership, negotiation, strategy and so on. So ask yourself – are you looking for a basic course on finance or a more specialized one related to your industry function? Do you need to bone up on any aspect of your industry/profession to fulfil your future career aspirations?

To choose a programme that is right for you, first reflect on the skills you need to develop. Then find a programme that will help you acquire those skills.

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2. Consult your boss
Your boss or mentor is the best person to give you feedback about your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t forget to ask him what skills you need to develop. Also inquire about specific executive education programmes that he/she thinks may suit you.

You could also ask your friends and peers to suggest good programmes that you could benefit from. Also, speak to people who have done the programme. How has it benefitted them?

3. Choose a school with a global outlook
Today’s managers must be able to operate in a global business environment. So the best mid-career programme is one that helps cultivate a wide-ranging perspective. So choose an institution that has campuses across a range of countries and a faculty with international exposure.

4. Inquire about teaching methods
Will your nose be buried in a book the whole time? Or will you be working in groups on real-life case studies dealing with changing market dynamics, demanding customers and new competitors? Different programmes have different teaching methods. Look up the prospectus to see if the style of instruction suits your preferences.

5. Check the faculty credentials
Teaching working professionals in an executive education programme is quite distinct from teaching a regular management programme to young students. Does the faculty have prior experience in teaching an executive education programme or are they well-respected in the business community? What kind of real-life experience do the lecturers have? Are there any reputed names among the guest lecturers?

6. Check for accreditation
When applying for an advanced degree, opt for a reputed institution. You are doing this course to update or acquire a new set of skills to add to those that you have already acquired on the job, so a reputed school will take your resume up a notch. If it’s a new or unsung school, verify that the programme is accredited. You don’t want to spend time and money on a course that lacks official recognition.

An executive education is a credential that will help your future career and also provide a great networking opportunity. So when it comes to picking a school, it’s imperative that you make the right choice.


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