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Nine reasons to upgrade your executive education Add to ...

The result was the Online Executive MBA in Social Enterprise Leadership, a program that builds on the school’s general MBA, with courses taught by an international slate of professors on how to balance customer benefit, shareholder returns and social good, and on the new legal frameworks that governments are creating to promote social enterprises.

It’s not just agile start-ups that are getting into non-profit education: No less than the Harvard Business School offers week-long courses in non-profit management and governance at its Boston campus. Hamilton prefers Fredericton’s online approach, since students aren’t forced to leave their communities to participate, and the school can attract teaching experts from around the globe. Currently enrolled in Fredericton’s EMBA program, Hamilton has helped shape the curriculum for her own education. Social change, as ever, starts small.

Reason Nº. 7
Because you might end up sitting beside—or learning from—a legend

Networking has always been a hallmark of executive education, and you never know who you’ll meet. Porter Airlines CEO Bob Deluce and astronaut Roberta Bondar (now a director at Com Dev International) took executive programs at Rotman. Craig MacTavish, GM of the Edmonton Oilers, has a Queen's EMBA. Stephen Jarislowsky and Paul Desmarais Jr. are executives-in-residence at McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management. You get the idea.


Reason Nº. 8
Because it doesn’t have to cost $150,000 and take two years
Or even two weeks, for that matter. The recession has put the crunch on exorbitantly priced executive programs (as you’ll see on page 42, they can cost as much as $110,000) that take students away for weeks at a time.

“Five years ago, you’d see programs that would be residency-intensive, and seek to take the leader away for a period of reflection,” says Michele Milan, CEO of executive programs at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. No more. The buzzword now is “blended learning”: Business schools are offering courses that blend short intensives with online follow-ups and on-the-job coaching. Rotman’s course in executive leadership, for instance, is a trim eight-month program that kicks off with a five-day intensive residency, followed up with webinars, consultations with an advisory committee, and coaching sessions with a personal adviser that take place in the workplace, not the classroom. At $10,900, it’s not exactly cheap, but it’s a far cry from the kind of advanced management programs that take a much bigger bite out of budgets—and calendars.

Reason Nº. 9
Because it could help you save the planet

A 2012 survey by Corporate Knights magazine found that more than two-thirds of Canadian business schools make at least some mention of environmental sustainability in their curriculum. York University’s Schulich School of Business has taken top place in the CK survey for the past decade, thanks to endowed positions in ethics, and business and sustainability. Second place went to the University of Waterloo’s School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, which offers an online Master’s in Environment and Business. Teaching future leaders to embrace sustainability seems to be good for the planet and the bottom line: A 2013 study by the MIT Sloan Management Review found that 37% of companies reported a hike in profits thanks to sustainability initiatives, and 48% have changed their business models to take advantage of sustainability opportunities.

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