Top 10 Executive Courses in Governance

Top 10 Executive Courses in Governance

Today’s executive boards face unprecedented challenges, from the global pandemic and its economic fallout to civil unrest, cybersecurity threats and growing calls for greater diversity and inclusion. 

A number of business schools have responded by launching a wide array of executive education courses in governance over the years. They cover a variety of topics such as role defining, succession planning, board appointments and how to raise organizational performance.  Participants emerge better equipped to tackle the issues raised by the COVID-19 crisis. 

The best executive courses in governance take an in-depth look at all aspects of corporate governance including the legal and regulatory frameworks as well as the behavioral and psychological issues. A key element is peer learning from an experienced group of participants who are current, emerging or veteran board members and executives. 

The programs are highly interactive with participants developing the skills and insights to serve effectively — and how to apply them in practice. The aim for many governance courses is to strengthen financial return, enterprise risk management and governance diversity. 

Some of the courses focus on digital transformation, and how participants can evaluate opportunities and threats for their companies. Others focus on emerging issues such as CEO succession plans, shareholder activism, cyber risk, diversity and inclusion. Many executive courses in governance will also explore ethics, while sustainability and regulation are also key themes. 

Boston, Massachusetts

Harvard Business School in Boston puts on the four-day online program called Making Corporate Boards More Effective. The course is for board members, chairs and directors of public companies, who will gain a deeper understanding of financial resilience, strategic direction, leadership succession, executive compensation, organizational culture, risk management and sustainability. 

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Salt Lake City, Utah

Using Governance to Create an Ethical Business Culture, is a 12-week executive program put on by University of Utah, David Eccles School of Business. Participants learn how to mitigate the risk of an ethical breach through stronger corporate governance. They also learn how to create a living code of ethics and how to reward ethical behavior and deliver training across different generations. 

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Blackrock, Ireland

University College Dublin, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, puts on a 24-month Diploma in Corporate Governance program, which is delivered in person. The course offers an in-depth look at all aspects of corporate governance including the legal and regulatory framework and the behavioral and psychological issues. A key element of the program is peer-to-peer learning from an experienced group of participants. 

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Montreal, Canada

Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business offers a program called Issues and Challenges of a Value-Creating Governance. The six-day online program seeks to help participants grasp the evolution of governance and the vital role it plays in driving organizational performance. Participants will learn about strategy, finance, legal and ethical issues. 

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New York City, New York

Columbia Business School has its five-day, live online Corporate Governance Program: Developing Exceptional Board Leaders. It aims to give participants the skills to promote long-term and sustainable value creation, integrating academic research with practice. The program devotes an entire day to emerging issues such as CEO succession plans, shareholder activism, cyber risk, diversity and inclusion. 

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Wharton School runs the Corporate Governance: Essentials for a New Business Era program. Delivered in the live virtual format over nine days, the course is for aspiring, newly appointed and veteran board members along with executives. They gain insight into the duties of board service and learn to forge partnerships to strengthen their financial return, enterprise risk management and governance diversity. 

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Oxford, United Kingdom

The Oxford Bank Governance Program at University of Oxford, Saïd Business School in the UK, runs for five weeks in the summer. Delivered online, the program is for bank directors and it draws on areas such as leadership, ethics, reputation, digital transformation and sustainable finance. The program considers how all elements of banks’ operating models are being changed by technology, sustainability and regulation. 

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Lausanne, Switzerland

Switzerland’s IMD Business School offers the two-day Digital Transformation for Boards program, delivered in person in Lausanne. It brings participants up to speed on the new digital landscape so they can evaluate opportunities and threats for their company. They develop competencies and behaviours required to successfully lead in a business environment characterized by digital disruption. 

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Vienna, Austria

The WU-Executive Academy at Vienna University of Economics and Business has a program called Governance Excellence Program: Expertise and Communication for Board Members, which is delivered in person in Austria over seven days. It is for current and future board members who develop the business and legal knowledge required for supervisory positions. Participants receive specific recommendations from faculty to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their oversight. 

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Evanston, Illinois

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Illinois has its Corporate Governance program, which is run over four days on campus in Evanston. A highly interactive course, participants will deepen their understanding of the responsibilities of a board member and develop the skills and insights to serve effectively — and how to apply them in practice. 

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