Examining the many benefits of executive education

Executive education is focused.

Executive education offers numerous benefits to both individuals and companies, including career-long advantages and overall success. This type of education is specifically designed with context-based adult learning, case-based or project-based learning models that have been proven effective for executives.

The learning experiences may be enhanced with simulated and digital learning environments. By providing cumulative experiences that are immediately relevant, executive education strengthens measures of career control.

Executives and companies are not interested in wasting their time on irrelevant or tangential topics, which is why executive education is highly focused. With this kind of education, executives acquire the skills and knowledge they need to excel in their careers and drive success for their organizations.

Executive education is an investment.

The executive education environment, especially when hosted outside of companies, allows individuals to expand their professional network. It also ensures that executives learn about other executives' challenges and successes. When executive education is offered within companies, it strengthens the bond among team members and across teams. Companies that support executive education understand that investing in current executives is less costly than hiring new ones.

As employers strive to maintain a competitive edge, they seek talent that demonstrates agility and a promise for securing continued value. To support the attainment of intended impact, employers may partner with educational institutions to design development programs that align with business priorities.

In some cases, business priorities revolve around solutions to problems or executing strategy, while in others, priorities relate to mission, vision, or culture.

Executive education is essential.

A successful executive is committed to addressing challenges such as increasing effectiveness, efficiencies, and achieving optimal results. Given that the nature of work is evolving more rapidly than ever before, the need for engaged lifelong learning is essential.

Examples include avid reading, personal performance challenges and honing skills through hobbies. In a professional sense, executives realize that upskilling and reskilling require emerging profession-related experiences, and higher-level technical and emotional skills. Due to advancements in technologies and societal thoughts and commitments, there must be mechanisms for understanding and mastering new skills.

Ongoing mastery of skills provides executives with a regenerating competitive advantage and enables them to lead their teams or businesses to leverage forward-looking results. The right time is more frequent than one might think. According to the World Economic Forum's Future of Skills Report 2020, half of current employees will need significant development within the next five years, so start now.

Executive education is available at DePaul University.

Companies need to continue to invest in talent and development while focusing on core business priorities, rather than investing in permanent internal learning and development teams. Therefore, it is ideal to partner with experts in adult learning design who excel at delivering quality customized training and quantifiable outcomes.

For specific business challenges, custom executive education programs are more likely to address challenges in a shorter amount of time than open programs that are designed for a general audience. At DePaul, custom and open executive education courses have led to greatly improved job satisfaction, increases in business acumen and strategic thinking, and hundreds of thousands in cost savings.

Examples of programs include Project Management, Human Resource Management, Financial Planning, Labor Leadership, and Grant Writing. With the ability to offer programs onsite at companies, on campus, fully online or in a hybrid format, the learning experiences are immersive.

• Tatum Thomas, PhD, is dean at DePaul's School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Thomas provides strategic leadership for the school, offering undergraduate, graduate, and non-credit programs. Its centers and special initiatives, such as the Center to Advance Education for Adults, the Labor Education Center, and the Adult Men of Color Initiative emphasize access and activism for working adults.

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