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Executive education: Climb the career ladder

Executive education: Climb the career ladder

Published: 01 Nov 2012 17:51 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Nov 2012 17:51 GMT+01:00

Managers today often find themselves in a high pressure and fast-paced environment, with little time to reflect and grow.

“By stepping out of your daily management role, you have a great chance to gain a broader, more multi-faceted perspective into your business and the business world in general,” explains Hannelore Forssbohm, program director at the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA Program.

“EMBA students return to their offices and are immediately able to apply what they’ve learnt in the classroom. This eye-opening and, in some cases, life changing, experience can only happen when you allow yourself to close the office door and immerse yourself in a new challenge,” she adds.

WHU is a private university, established in 1984 and located in Vallendar near Koblenz. Over the past twenty years, the school has established a worldwide network of over 160 universities emphasizing a truly international presence and is consistently ranked by leading publications as one of the top management schools in Germany.

The Kellogg EMBA global network includes the business school of Northwestern University, Illinois with partner schools in Asia, Europe. Professors are active in the business world as expert advisors or on organizational boards.

This guarantees excellent credentials, established experience in executive education and diverse business knowledge.

Indeed, as companies face the growing challenge of demographic change and globalization, life-long learning becomes a critical success factor for sustainable competitive advantage.

Managers switch employers more often and are sought after globally rather than nationally. As a result, employer branding and executive development are ranked as hot topics within company leadership circles.

“As the workforce becomes more diverse, the needs for executive development have also become more heterogeneous,” says Rebecca Winkelmann, managing director of Executive Education at WHU.

“Even with small to medium-sized companies, the implementation of life-long learning concepts has gained in complexity. Of course, it’s not only students that benefit. Companies profit through the expanded perspective with which their managers return.”

Students can take advantage of the vast theoretical and practical professor knowhow, but also the versatile experience from their very diverse counterparts who are also pursuing their EMBA degree.

The program puts strong emphasis on teamwork and study groups are an essential part of the experience to prepare students for future leadership roles.

A mix of techniques, heavily focused on case study methodology, allows students to work in interdisciplinary groups and, in turn, discuss, debate and solve real-life business problems.

By drawing on the participants’ own professional experience an interactive learning environment is created which promotes an exchange of ideas between students and faculty.

“At Kellogg-WHU, we take great care in assembling the study groups”, adds Hannelore Forssbohm. ”It is extremely important to us that managers benefit in every way possible and absorb experiences and information from every source that is available to them – professors, fellow students and renowned guest speakers.”

The program is aimed at those working in medium and upper management with at least five years of management-related experience. The time structure allows students to continue with their work obligations while at the same time actively participating in the program.

Attention is paid to ensure varying academic backgrounds from all walks of life including banking and finance, IT, consulting, trade, engineering, sciences and law.

The result is a greater understanding of management issues across the board, increased credibility and a broadened professional network – all of which leads towards a higher degree of confidence for men and women alike.

Successfully completing a top-tier Executive MBA Program aids managers in many ways. For women, it can even provide the tools to tackle the male status-quo.

An imbalance exists in the business world of gender diversity in the most senior positions and when they do make it, they earn significantly less than their male counterparts.

“Had I not undertaken the program I would have been pigeon holed as an HR professional for the rest of my career,” says Emma Nicholls, head of organisational development, UK Power Networks, and 2009 Kellogg-WHU graduate.

“It enabled me to gain a much greater confidence in interpreting and understanding complex business matters and provided a bridge for me to undertake a General Management Programme role,” she adds.

The last five years have seen a quite a change in the corporate landscape, with the financial crisis, corporate scandals and the increasing influence of emerging markets. However, a top-tier EMBA Program always evolves to reflect the business environment.

According to Axel Hamann, CEO, Bayer Turkey and 2010 Kellogg-WHU graduate the program provided a toolbox on every aspect of leadership and strategic topics.

"I particularly appreciated the great emphasis on ethical management behaviour and am convinced that sufficient background has been provided to act responsibly in every sort of business environment,” he says

Before Corporate Social Responsibility became a buzz phrase, Kellogg-WHU integrated ethics and social responsibility in all aspects of management knowledge, communicated to students.

“The current frenzy hasn’t had an influence on the philosophy and approach of the school”, says Hannelore Forssbohm. “Kellogg-WHU has always attempted to create and strengthen managers who are ethically and socially responsible. And we always will.”

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