9 Executive Education Programs That’ll Help Your Career

Going back to school for additional training or certification can give you a competitive edge

An executive training program could be the boost you career needs (Image: Thinkstock)

Looking to take your career to the next level? An executive education program could be the answer. These university-based programs are designed to help professionals supplement their current skills, improve their management or leadership abilities, and increase their value to current or future employers.

Here are nine programs to consider from top schools around the country and what each offers:

Columbia University: Tailored to professional expertise and needs

Columbia offers separate programs for each executive level. The Columbia Senior Executive Program includes sessions on leadership and strategy, functional excellence, and global business issues in a four-week curriculum for executives with at least 15 years of managerial experience. The two-week General Management Leadership Program for upper- to senior-level executives with 10 to 15 years of experience will prepare those who are entering or already in the role of general manager by teaching them to maximize resources and enhance their organization’s effectiveness and profitability. Columbia Essentials of Management is for midlevel executives who want to enhance their leadership skills within a two-week program. For executives with limited financial background, there is also a five-day program that includes sessions in accounting and finance. You can receive the Certificate in Business Excellence after finishing 18 program days, from any combination of programs, within four years.

Stanford University: Online and accommodating to your schedule

Consider Stanford’s professional certification program, where you can earn a professional certificate in five areas, such as advanced computer security or sustainable energy conversion and storage. All required courses for a certificate are online and can be completed at your own pace, though some are also held on campus or can be delivered to your work site. Stanford will issue a digital record of completion when you finish the program. If you are employed by a Stanford Center for Professional Development member company (including Ford, Xerox, Verizon, or General Electric), or enroll a group of five or more into the same course, you are eligible to receive a discount.

New York University: Design your own program

Develop your executive skills at the Stern School of Business, choosing courses from three primary open enrollment program areas: finance, management, and marketing and media for general or upper management professionals. Programs range from two to four days. Participants can earn a statement of professional achievement by completing a minimum of four NYU Stern Executive Education open enrollment programs over a two-year period. Your organization can also build a custom program with the business school.

Duke University: Global training and personal assessments

The Fuqua School of Business offers three programs: The Advanced Management Program focuses on the trends of the global business landscape and how to develop the tools to effectively lead in this space. It is designed for senior managers with 15-plus years of experience and is conducted in two sessions of two weeks with a six-week virtual intersession that uses the latest Web technology to allow participants to continue learning as they apply their new skills in the workplace. The one-week Duke Leadership Program assesses your personal leadership style and offers a strategy for developing a supportive work environment by tapping into a variety of fields, including sociology, psychology, and political science. For managers at all levels, Duke offers Dynamic Management, which lasts three days and is designed to help participants respond to unanticipated challenges, build trust and teamwork, and improve communication.

Dartmouth University: Managing change in your organization

Dartmouth’s Tuck Executive Program is three weeks of advanced management development with an emphasis on individual leadership transformation. Eligible to participate are high-caliber managers, usually with 10 to 15 years of management experience who are about to assume significant leadership responsibilities. Tuck also provides other open enrollment options, such as the Strategic Financial Leadership Program, Leading Innovation, and Leadership & Strategic Impact.

Harvard University: On-campus training

Harvard Business School Executive Education offers dozens of open enrollment programs covering topics such as social enterprise, healthcare and science, financial management, business strategy, marketing, leadership and change, and negotiation and managerial decision making. Programs range from a few days to several weeks for midlevel, senior, executive, or board leaders. Participants are expected to live on campus. Certificates are awarded for successful completion. Those who attend the extended-length programs, such as advanced management, general management, and owner/president management, will receive Harvard alumni status and benefits.

Northwestern University: Tailored around your professional needs

The Kellogg School of Management has short, non-degree executive education programs that take place from one to five days and focus on a single topic. General management programs vary in length and cover multiple topics. Each participant receives a certificate upon completion and can opt to participate in the Executive Scholars Program, which requires taking four approved executive programs. Track options include financial management, marketing and sales management, leadership and management, or technology and operations. Participants have five years to earn certification.

University of Virginia: Work-life balance

The Executive Program at the Darden School of Business caters to managers and executives who have 12 or more years of managerial experience. Open enrollment programs include advanced management, leadership and change, marketing and sales, strategic growth, and financial excellence. The certificate programs, which include the certificate in management and the certificate in leadership, allow for multiple areas of study. There is a wellness aspect of the program that focuses on lifestyle changes to improve physical, mental, and emotional health. Enrollees have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a trained health professional to discuss their progress. Executives can participate in early morning physical activities, such as walking and jogging, other cardiovascular workouts, strength training, and flexibility instruction.

University of Michigan: Leadership development and training

For senior executives with 15-plus years of management experience, vice presidents, directors, or division-level executives, the monthlong Ross Executive Program provides an opportunity to sharpen leadership and decision-making skills. The executive program focuses on five key areas: corporate strategy; financial analysis and economics; strategic marketing planning and management; leadership, change, and innovation; and talent management. There are open programs in business acumen, leadership, and human resources. If you choose, you can complete a certificate program in management development, leadership development, human resources, or create your own. And you have up to eight years to earn certification.

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