Article: Why executive education is gaining ground in Indian business

Leadership

Why executive education is gaining ground in Indian business

Why Executive Education is gaining momentum in Indian business and how does it propose to contribute to business excellence, also does it make economic sense for organizations to go into this
 

The participant will soak in the learning's over a period of time and then will apply them to business decisions

 

Beyond building the own work force capability, Executive Education in India has seen traction in another form – Customer Recruitment / Retention Programs

 

Why Executive Education is gaining momentum in Indian business and how does it propose to contribute to business excellence, also does it make economic sense for organizations to go into this

When considering Executive Education for its employees, a question that every organization needs to ask itself is ‘What is my people culture?’. Organizations whose talent management is all about bringing and retaining people on a ‘combat’ culture (lack of an organizational environment that is people friendly) may not need Executive Education for their talent management. All they may need is to hire the right people at an above-the-market compensation, to give them a high speed induction, to motivate / reward them towards high performance and bounce them if otherwise.

However, organizations which achieve sustained business success consistently look within and evaluate their people goals to align to their business goals. They consciously decide to develop their people to compete better and achieve more. These include Indian organizations - large and small, established and recent start-ups, which have realized that their organizational existence and growth is driven only because of the leadership talent. These growing number of Indian organizations have clear goals, established leadership support, and highly refined organization structures. High potential people who will define organizational leadership need to be nurtured for future roles, and high quality Executive Education accomplishes this.

During my interactions with a large number of Indian organizations, I found that the most popular reason for a company to opt for Executive Education is to develop its leadership pipeline. Through their internal assessments, organizations hand-pick high performers to take on the mantle of second line leadership. These high potentials are made to undergo rigorous learning schedules combined with on-job action projects, thus enhancing their existing leadership skills. A successful line manager will now learn beyond their functional skills to compete in the role of a General Manager or, in another instance, a General Manager is carefully inducted to independently manage a business unit. Improved people performance has proved that the time and money invested in developing high potentials clearly results in rich organizational dividends.

While Executive Education engagements may vary in length from two days to a couple of years, the business results are usually never immediate. The participant will soak in the learning’s over a period of time and then will apply them to business decisions. A seasoned buyer of Executive Education or ‘Executive Development’ could be wary of providers who promise an immediate Return on Investment. While measuring ROI is possible, it’s a tedious and expensive process and need to be executed with great precision. The HR head of a large PSU who has engaged Executive Education providers over the last 10 years, openly reveals that their Executive Education initiatives in partnership with global business schools have always guaranteed a large positive Net Present Value.

An Executive Development faculty is not your everyday trainer or motivational therapist. He comes in to the discussion armed with research, years of teaching experience and an unwavering commitment to the success of the engagement. During the program, the faculty often implants progressive thinking methods and tested frameworks into each participant’s skill set. The participant who then returns to the workplace may need to execute their learning. It is here that the Professors backed by an institution will take the onus to close the loop on ensuring that classroom learning gets translated to workplace results. Any executive development engagement should be looked at not merely as a singular event but a long term sustainable and beneficial relationship.

Beyond building the own work force capability, Executive Education in India has seen traction in another form – Customer Recruitment / Retention Programs. Under this model, companies gain huge branding benefits by sponsoring promising existing customers or potential future clients for Executive Education Programs at an Indian or an International business school. This innovative model is fast growing in popularity across leading business service firms, financial institutions, and consulting companies that are well established in the Indian market and seek to increase their mindshare among India’s relevant individuals and client companies.

The design of most of Executive Development programs whether it is for their senior leaders or their client customers are very well developed; the challenge is the execution. What is critical is the faculty’s ability to engage an extremely bright participant group and seamlessly push his/her research, wisdom and message across. He could resort to case teaching, experiential learning, and encouraging group break-out sessions to transfer the designed learning and reach the desired conclusion. Needless to say, only faculty with tremendous industry experience and global exposure are able to exploit the collective wisdom of the participants.

The Indian corporate is now demanding tangible outcomes from Executive Education programs and mere affiliation value (i.e. the value of associating with a prestigious local business school) does not suffice. Some of these tangible outcomes are:

a) Skills / knowledge imparted by the institution to participants which now translates into organizational competence
b) Network of peers beyond the work environment. The participants in a Custom Designed Program can be from the same organization, but the learning derived by fellow participants across the organizational hierarchies could be a pleasant surprise!
c) The branding value of affiliation with a prestigious Executive Education provider cannot be ignored, and it is also important to be a part of the global alumni network.
d) Ability to execute Action Learning Projects would significantly engage the participants in implementing classroom learning’s within their organizations
e) Increased loyalty that the employee now builds with the organization knowing that the organizational HR machinery is investing efforts to develop him/her as a valued employee

While many international schools are offering to provide Executive Education in India, there are only a few who have built a knowledge generating eco system over the years around emerging market economies. And it’s these few truly global schools, which can deliver on the promise of a transformational learning experience within the Executive Education classroom in India. These schools are armed with a globally diverse faculty base, enormous research accomplishments, highly developed pedagogical methods and the experience of hundreds of global Executive Education engagements. I am well aware of the rising abilities amongst Indian corporates to evaluate and understand the value of top tier Executive Education providers. And I am hoping that this will push current providers to offer ever higher quality of program offerings – thereby taking the entire Executive Education industry up a few notches in India.
 

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Topics: Leadership

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