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Who Does Executive Education?

Four reasons why managers turn to executive classes
Dec 5, 2011 — M. Filtz

Mangers today pursue executive education for a variety of reasons. Mainly, these courses can provide an environment – outside of the workplace – that can encourage personal growth and help foster new thinking about particular aspects of business. These courses can also provide context and insight for pursuing advantages in today’s constantly shifting business world. 

More specifically, participants of executive education courses are usually looking for one or more of the following things:
A break from routine
Some executives who enroll in executive education courses are looking for ways to develop skills that aren’t necessarily addressed in day-to-day business operations. For example, innovation can add huge value to many areas of a business, but innovative thinking isn’t necessarily something that can be directly fostered on a daily basis – and in many ways is risky to encourage in terms of normal business processes. Executive education courses can help professionals consider innovation and other skills like it in a setting external to the workplace, minimizing the risk to the bottom line.
The pulse of their industry
Other participants include executives who work in fields that are quickly changing, and are in need of up-to-date training to keep themselves informed of current developments. An example of this kind of participant would be a high-level executive working in health care, where regulations, competitive advantages, and even organizational structures are constantly shifting. Many of these executives choose to enroll in specialized courses where they can be informed about the new changes, and come up with ways of managing the day-to-day challenges these changes present, and start thinking about how they will effect business over the long term. 
Global experience
A growing group of managers pursuing executive education are those working in international environments, such as executives of multinational organizations. Globalization is continually creating new markets and other opportunities for growth, but also comes with challenges, not the least of which are culture and language. Courses in global business and emerging markets can not only help executives spot new trends in a shifting international business landscape, but also manage the suite of challenges that arise from the opportunities.
Concrete skills
Perhaps the biggest group of executive education participants are individual executives and managers who wish to develop new skills, or find other ways to get ahead in their respective businesses. Some executives find that certain abstract skills that are used in day-to-day business, like leadership and strategic thinking, need development beyond daily interaction.
In fact, there are many courses in leadership development to help these kinds of managers more effectively make decisions and better manage relationships, because while these skills can be developed during the workday, they can also be vastly improved with oversight and direction. Many of these executives may feel like they’ve hit a wall in terms of a certain area of management, and need a course to add new insight.
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