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Executive Diploma Options for Executives

Published on Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014

An executive diploma programme can give executives the tools and techniques to analyse and interpret financial information to make better business decisions. Many managers today come from a variety of disciplines and may need to fill gaps in their financial knowledge. An executive diploma programme can improve your financial literacy and help you communicate better with your financial team to help build a more profitable and strong company. Executives will better understand risk and how to better assess and manage it. You can build your strategic thinking and planning skills, and strengthen your leadership and general management skills.

You may think that you don’t have time to go back to school, but many of these programmes are developed with busy mid- to senior-level managers in mind. Classes are usually scheduled in the evenings and on weekends, and some programmes can be completed within a few weeks or months. This short term investment in time can pay off in the long term when you are better equipped to use financial information in making management decisions. If you are a mid-level manager, a certificate from an executive diploma programme can help your advancement prospects as well, possibly helping to fast track you to the C-suite level.

You will also benefit from stimulating work environment in these programmes, with classmates who are serious about their studies. It’s a treasure trove of potential business contacts. Many assignments are also group projects, offering you an opportunity to connect with your classmates more deeply than in a usual classroom setting. The programme can expose you to professionals from a range of industries and roles, offering a fresh perspective. Finally, you can also tap into the extensive network of alumni that the programme provides.

There are many options to choose from, depending on what area you would like to focus on. For example, Hong Kong University’s School of Professional and Continuing Education offers several options in their executive diploma programme: finance and business management, finance and corporate accounting, as well as finance and strategic marketing. Each track offers updated training in knowledge and skills specific to the area of focus. There is also a growing trend of online distance learning in this area, though it’s still developing and for some, there is no substitute for the classroom. This could be a way to get started learning about the concepts and theories you would study in a regular course of study.

With regard to paying for an executive diploma programme, some might find it a challenge to pay out of pocket or take on additional debt. Many companies do fund continuing education opportunities for their employees and it would be worthwhile to look into whether or not your employer offers tuition reimbursement. If your particular situation allows for it, you may even be able to make the case to your supervisor that it’s a good investment for the company, if you can show what you can bring back after graduation. Many students pay for their programmes on their own, recognising the value of continuing education and viewing it as an investment in themselves.

Adding classes to a packed schedule is not easy for a busy manager having to juggle a full-time job and family commitments, but if he or she dedicates time and effort to an executive diploma programme, the payoff can be well worth it.

Pim Savetmalanond

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