What is Executive Education?

What is Executive Education?

A brief overview of executive education and what it's for

What is executive education? Executive education usually refers to programs and courses targeted at professionals working in managerial and executive roles, or those who aspire to those positions. Most executive education courses offered by business schools last between two and six days, but some can take over a year to complete part-time.

Content-wise, executive education tends to focus on improving the business knowledge and skills needed to become an effective leader. Most executive programs - unlike management degrees such as an MBA, MSc, or Master in Management - focus on sharpening specific aspects of an executive's toolkit, such as accounting, finance, strategy, or negotiation. That's why executive courses tend to be much shorter than full-on degree programs, which tend to be broader and cover many aspects of business.

Often, executive education offerings may be designed for those managers who must deal with topics that the lack formal training in. For example, executive education courses in 'Finance for Non-Financial Managers' are increasingly popular.

Even though most executive courses are on the short side, some executive education offerings - like modular general management programs (GMPs) or Executive MBA programs - do provide broader training for current and future managers and executives.

Sometimes, specialized executive education courses are designed for professionals working in certain industries (like healthcare or IT), or those working in or transitioning to specific managerial or executive roles.

How do I pursue executive education?

Executive education is usually offered on the campuses of business schools, though they can sometimes take place at other venues like resorts, conference centers, or even in corporate offices. Some providers - particularly those offering global-oriented programs - take advantage of the short format and international partnerships to offer their programs in one or more different locations. Increasingly, though, especially with the covid-19 pandemic, many executive courses are now delivered online, meaning you can pursue executive education from the comfort of your home or office.

The executive education courses listed on this site are "open-enrollment" programs, meaning that anyone is eligible to apply. This is in contrast to "custom" programs typically offered to companies and organizations.

In most cases, executive education does not lead to a formal degree (except for an Executive MBA or a General Management Program (GMP). Some institutions, however, will offer professional certifications or "certificates of completion."

For a directory of MBA programs available worldwide, please visit our sister site, FIND MBA.