Growing relevance of executive education in enabling skill development and boosting career growth
The rationale behind these programmes is to enrich the existing skillsets of the working professionals and prepare them for the evolving market scenarios.
A recent survey conducted by industry body NASSCOM has found that more than 50% of Indian professionals will have to upskill themselves to match the changing dynamics of the industry. The major areas of progress include technical skills such as big data analytics and artificial intelligence, along with qualitative skills such as problem assessment, negotiations and business communications.
Those professionals, who demonstrate proven expertise in emerging technologies, while keeping up with the rapid evolutions in the field, are in growing demand. In such an environment, organisations are motivating their employees to reskill themselves constantly so that their existing knowledge base does not become redundant. While freshers with management education enter the job market possessing updated managerial skills, it is becoming essential for the existing employees to bridge their knowledge gap to compete with them and advance their careers.
What is an executive education programme?
Top management schools in India and abroad have recognised the gap in the demands of the industry and the existing workforce. Therefore, they are curating short but intensive courses that are aimed at helping working professionals to upskill themselves. These courses cover a diverse range of topics, ranging from leadership programmes, negotiations, emerging technologies and strategising practices, among others. The rationale behind these programmes is to enrich the existing skillsets of the working professionals and prepare them for the evolving market scenarios.
It is to be noted here that these executive programmes are distinct from regular management degree courses. These are professional development courses that usually conclude with a certification or a diploma on completion. The focus of an executive education programme is around case-solving and building on the core skills with practical industry scenarios.
Why professionals should pursue an executive education programme?
The changing business scenario the world over demands a range of advanced skillsets for business professionals to stay ahead on the curve of competition. The impact of executive education is not only on upgrading one’s resume, but also on ensuring upgrading of core business skills that a professional must acquire.
A certification in a niche functional area with advanced knowledge garners the attention of top recruiters from reputed organisations. Furthermore, it strengthens the position of the individual in her/his existing organisation and also entitles her/him to promising opportunities for securing a more advanced role within the organisation. Additionally, executive education broadens the perspectives of an individual and enhances her/his business vision. While pursuing these courses, professionals with diverse corporate experiences get to interact with other. This helps in gaining deeper insights about myriad domains in the market and exploring possibilities of growth in them. Collaborative projects and assignments constitute a significant part of such courses that serve as great team-building and communication exercises.
Compared to full-time management programmes, an executive MBA programme does not require a professional to take a break in her/his career. These courses are designed as per the convenience of working professionals so that they can establish a convenient balance between their work and education. This also helps a working professional to apply the concepts she/he learns in the classrooms to practical real-life scenarios, enabling her/him to receive prompt feedbacks about the usage of their upgraded skills, which facilitates deep learning.
The bottom line
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused severe disruptions in the business ecosystem. The rates of layoffs and company shutdowns have spiked. While business experts and analysts continue to assess the consequences of these transitions, working professionals must upgrade themselves to stay relevant in a potentially difficult job market.
Pursuing an executive MBA programme is meant to equip working managers with the knowledge and advanced skillsets that will prepare them to survive through the toughest challenges they are likely to encounter in the post-pandemic era.
The author is professor in OBHR area and dean (Academics) at FORE School of Management, New Delhi