Keep on learning: What executives stand to gain through continuing business education

By Bill Glick, Dean of the Jones Graduate School of Business

A biotech entrepreneur has been running her company for years. A gifted cardiologist now leads the city’s top hospital. A pipeline company’s CFO heads to Malaysia to lead the Asia Pacific division. Each of these business executives is already successful.

With high-level knowledge in their fields, they have been making myriad decisions every day that have been profitable to their organizations and have earned them their company’s confidence and respect.

So what can continued business education provide?

Plenty. Unless you are that rare leader who already has it all figured out, there are many benefits to you and the company you serve that can be had when you strive to keep on learning.

Broadening your knowledge


Business schools offer many educational opportunities beyond the traditional master’s degree in business administration that executives find valuable.

Executives reach their positions or launch their businesses with exceptional skills and expertise in particular areas that provide value for their organizations, clients and customers.

Most, however, do not have the broad knowledge base in other areas that they need to lead.

The cardiologist, for example, may be a gifted physician but know little about finance or organizational behavior.

The CFO may, in fact, be a supply chain guru but also has to learn to lead marketing, production and other parts of the organization if he or she wants the CEO role.

Executive master’s degree in business administration programs are specifically designed to round out and deepen an executive’s knowledge base, helping him or her become an even more effective leader across an organization.

But executive programs, leading to a degree, and open-enrollment executive education programs offered at top business schools also do much more than expand the technical knowledge base for leaders.

Programs geared toward executives function differently than those geared toward students with less business leadership experience.

Understanding that executives are well-versed in the specialized skills that led to their success, faculty help leaders make connections across disciplines, learn to think strategically and develop innovative approaches to complex business challenges, like leading change.

They facilitate discussion and deep thinking about subjects, topics and ideas they’ve studied that all business leaders face.

Preparing to excel


Consider the benefits of pursuing continued education in a dynamic city like Houston — the energy capital of the world, with the largest medical center and Fortune 500 company headquarters second only to New York City.

Executive education programs in such a dynamic city attract leaders from diverse industries and international backgrounds. Classes headed by preeminent business thinkers, researchers and populated by a cohort of leaders in a variety of industries provide a unique forum in which leaders can learn and further develop.

And because executives are in positions of leadership within their organizations, they can affect change and provide substantial impact for their company — immediately.

From executive master’s degree in business administration programs and executive education classes to topical discussions and events, business schools provide meaningful opportunities for executives to further their education, transforming their thinking, themselves and industry.

This piece originally appeared in Smart Business, http://www.smartbusinessemag.com/oct2014/Houston#&pageSet=4&contentItem=0