Learning and development through executive education


The concept of executive education in Pakistan has evolved during the last decade or so. This change came forth with the progress in academic activities at business management schools. Executive education, in the simplest of definition, refers to the academic programs being offered at graduate-level business schools. The focus is to disseminate education for business leaders and functional managers. In this case, business schools across Pakistan have been offering customized, industry-focused programs. The idea is to bring on to one platform business and corporate leaders who are willing to add knowledge and those who are keen about sharing it as well.
Executive education is also essential for senior managers, middle managers, and workers. Where the top leaders of a company gain and share insights about their experience, the executive education adds industry insights to the information that senior managers have acquired over the years. Furthermore, the middle managers and workers who are also an essential part of the management must be given a chance to gain learning from such events.
Working professionals must be a part of these executive education programs for two reasons. First, these professionals need to learn and re-learn the industry concepts and practices. Because of a steady evolution in how businesses are operating, executive education distributes among participants the insights prevailing in various industries. It explains to them the difference between what concepts were in use in the past and what best practices are being used today.
Ideally, a well-established professional from the industry becomes the speaker at a training session or a workshop being organized under the banner of executive education. These training sessions are result-oriented, information-dispersing programs.
During the last decade, businesses have evolved drastically. Their operations, strategies, and procedures have continuously progressed. Trainers during these executive education workshops bridge the gap between what the participants know about their industry to what are the actual modalities. These seminars and workshops also present predictions, based on historical analysis and industry trends, to how the industry will function five years or ten years down the road. Therefore, the qualifications and experience of the trainer becomes of profound significance. They must present a history of how an industry has been working. They must also impart how globalization, digitization, and consumer insights have affected the very dynamics of how a company operates.
An executive education model has three parts. It includes knowledge, learning outcome, and networking. The first part, knowledge, is a two-way stream. The resource person conducting the training imparts specific knowledge to the participants. The participants, through their learning and experience, share the information they have among the participants and with the resource person. It is akin to how a classroom setting works. While a faculty member is the authorized person to impart knowledge, the students are also absorbing information from society and can share their input during the discussion.
The learning outcome, the second part, is developed by the participant’s point of view. They will ask about the benefits of attending a training session. The learning outcomes must be spelled out ahead of the event. Most ideally, these outcomes must be mentioned in the promotional material shared via e-mail or preferably on the social media profiles of the company organizing the session. Networking, the third part, is another important feature of such programs.
When professionals from various companies of the same industry or from varying industries converge on a common platform, they tend to exchange their names and business cards. It is always advisable to create and expand one’s industry contacts for personal and professional growth.
Recently, the lockdown and social distancing protocols because of the COVID-19 have changed the structure of these programs. Universities are organizing webinars and hosting panel discussions on Zoom and Facebook LIVE. This has reduced the cost of organizing such events. While the learned professionals may as well charge for their services from the business school organizing this program, the cost of boarding, lodging of guests and expenses incurred because of physical arrangements of the event have come down to zero. Moreover, viewers from across the world can be added to the live stream. This makes it an impactful event transcending borders and having a global influence.