Executive Education – Is it really all about the name?

I was talking with a couple of fellow L&D folk the other day about programs such as those offered by the Harvard Business School and  the University of Queensland Executive Business School  and what it was that made executive education such a lucrative and high end business and what it was that people actually got from attending one of the prestigious schools of excellence.

After the conversation I was left wondering whether in essence Executive Education is far less about learning things and far more about creating networks and being able to put a prestigious program on your resume.  Now I know that this sounds may sound cynical, but it is not actually meant to be.  We are generally talking here about people with wide experience, already with high level qualifications, for whom learning has, at least in my experience become incrimental, a good idea, piece of knowledge, or a new framework, which extends their mindset and model fo the world, rather than the rapid expansion of knowledge and skills we tend to find with earlier career education.

Given that this is the case it does seem to be the case, it does seem that the networking aspect of these programs is at least as important as the education one.  But what makes certain programs better therefore, is the quality of the participants just as important as the quality of the facilitators?  If this is the case then are what we really paying for the ability to network and ‘work’ with individuals with whom we may not have been able to in any other setting.

I would be interested in other peoples opinions.


About pauldrasmussen
Paul Rasmussen is one of Australia’s most widely read Vocational Education and Training Commentators. He provides deep, unbiased analysis and insights not only on topical issues, but also on the underlying structure and policy which supports the industry. His writing and analysis has been praised for its uncompromising and thought provoking style and its ability to focus on the issues of real importance to the sector. He has advised various government departments and ministers, training providers, public and private organisations, not for profits and small to medium enterprises on the VET sector and the issues and opportunities facing it. He is one of Australia’s most awarded learning professionals and a regular speaker at a range of conventions and forums. His extensive experience in vocational education, and learning and development coupled with formal qualifications in philosophy, ethics, business and education management allow Paul to provide a unique view of the road ahead and how to navigate it.

One Response to Executive Education – Is it really all about the name?

  1. DianeDarling says:

    You are absolutely correct. Part of what is compelling is the peer group you get to learn with. I once asked a VERY successful CEO if I should get a MBA. He said yes for 2 reasons – the education and who you get to meet.

    I teach networking at many of the top schools – business, law, engineering. Over and over again, these brilliant minds overlook the importance of relationship building (and staying in touch).

    Executive Education programs give people an opportunity reconnect if/when they’ve dropped the ball.

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