Corporate executives and leaders need to invest in professional development now. Regardless of the size or stage of a business, leaders are challenged to grow revenue and decrease expenses to deliver value to shareholders. They need to make sure that they and their employees have the skills to make a positive impact this quarter and every quarter.
Meeting revenue and profit goals becomes more crucial and more challenging every year. As top leaders engage others to impact these goals, they can be met with resistance. Employees might not understand the business impact of decisions or lack of experience working with the critical information. They may need help with encouraging their staff to be more successful or they may have other skill gaps. Knowledge is power: training and education can beat resistance and help businesses accomplish their goals.
“Executive education departments of business schools fill those gaps by offering short, targeted learning that requires no application or acceptance by most institutions of higher learning,” says Linda Beck Halliburton, Director of Graduate Business & Executive Education Programs at the Beacom School of Business, University of South Dakota.
“It might be a one-day class, evenings spread out over a couple of weeks, webinars, or a variety of other formats that are designed with the busy professional in mind. Executive education departments can also customize training for a specific company or industry, bringing razor-sharp focus to helping solve your business needs,” she says.
Busy entrepreneurs and professionals can continue their education and professional development in a variety of ways. Those who want a generalist advanced degree, such as a master of business administration, have a number of delivery formats from which to choose. Some people prefer an on-campus program with a traditional schedule; others prefer a hybrid format with less face-to-face time supplemented by online work. Still others prefer a completely online schedule that lets them control when and where they learn.
Higher education has responded to the demand for customization by offering specializations and stand-alone graduate certificates in areas such as business analytics, health service administration, marketing, finance, operations, and a number of other areas.
With fewer people to draw from at all job levels and in all industries, investing in developing yourself or your employees is often the wisest choice. A participant at a recent focus group commented that everyone has a different idea of how to keep learning and growing. Another noted that the concept of college has really changed. Fortunately, options for learning and staying up to speed have also changed.
“Business schools play a vital role in helping businesses recruit and retain high-quality professionals. Executive education initiatives provide training opportunities to working professionals and senior executives to help businesses achieve higher productivity and enhance their competitiveness,” says Halliburton.
AUTHOR BIO: Venky Venkatachalam, Ph.D., is the dean of the Beacom School of Business at the University of South Dakota. His academic career has spanned two decades and he has received numerous awards for his teaching, research, and service accomplishments. He was a mechanical engineer prior to his academic career.