Many business schools today open a centre for executive education to provide top level executives and top managers with a graduate level education programme. In most cases an actual degree will not be gained although some schools will provide participants with an executive MBA. Predominantly a centre is attended by senior level workers to improve their management skills. Today they are popular in a large number of industries with workers who are seeking to improve their skills set and business know-how. Current estimates reckon that the executive education industry is worth around eight hundred million dollars purely in the US, of the money spent the fastest growing programmes are those that are customisable to specific businesses' needs.
Sending younger employees on the fast track to executive level to a centre is also proving to be popular with many managers and human resources execs. These short term learning programmes are an ideal way for companies to hold onto young professionals who if not given the chance to learn and develop may instead leave the company for another that will offer them development opportunities. In terms of the skills that can be gained, participants can learn about management, finance and marketing. As a centre can earn far larger sums from opening an education centre for executives, it is understandable that so many have decided to follow this lucrative path.
Sending executives to an education centre also has other benefits for companies. For instance if a young manager excels in one area, say sales, sending them on a management course will give them skills in another sector. The result is a worker that is more rounded and better equipped to cope with a number of different situations. In another way, by sending a young executive on a training course it is possible to groom them for leadership. A number of programmes focus on people management and strategies concerned with business development and planning.
The period of time that these programmes are conducted for varies greatly. In some cases participants will be sent on an intensive programme that lasts up to two weeks. However there a number of centres that conduct programmes over an elongated period of time utilising weekly or twice weekly evening sessions and a weekend day. Most of time while there is homework or coursework attached to these programmes, it is not enough to cause major upheaval in participants' lives. Many attendees will leave the course with a greater appreciation of the world of management and in general a better understanding of international business issues and global markets. This can be especially important in large multinational corporations who have bases across the world, and a truly international workforce.
One of the benefits of visiting a centre for executive education is that all of the participants actually want to be there. To elaborate further, at lower levels of education from school even up until university there will always be someone in the class who does not exactly wish to be learning and hence will disrupt the class. This is an extremely rare occurrence at business schools as attendees typically have a strong desire to be there and learn as much as they can during their time. Additionally as companies usually foot the bill for programmes, there is a serious side to learning that is hard to find elsewhere; knowing that your boss and in some cases your employment depend on this educational experience is a powerful incentive to absorb as much information as possible.
As previously stated this form of education is growing rapidly in popularity worldwide. From early beginnings in Europe and America there are business schools sprouting up all around the globe in nations such as China and India. The financial incentive for these institutions is large, with companies happy to pay for the development of their employees. In a world where the business mind has to more astute that ever, managers need to ask themselves whether they will be able to survive without the edge that executive education provides.
Business expert Thomas Pretty looks at the growth in popularity of the centre for executive education in many teaching facilities worldwide.