A great executive is many things.
A leader. A negotiator. A communicator. A problem solver. A visionary. A team builder. A resource manager.
It’s a diverse skillset, and it can be incredibly intimidating for professionals who are pursuing (but haven’t yet arrived at) the upper management level. Some executives seem born with the ability to command a room, operate within the constraints of a budget or gauge the morale of a team. The best leaders in upper management make it look natural and innate.
There’s good news though. Nobody is born with these capabilities. They’re all learned skills, developed and honed through a combination of experience, study, and in many cases, executive education.
These days, many graduate-level universities and business schools offer specialized programs for executives, business leaders and managers. Every program is designed a little differently, but they all tend to operate with similar structures and goals.
No matter the type of curriculum taught or certificates offered, all the programs have one key element: they’re designed to help participants develop professionally and network with likeminded individuals.
Succeeding in the job market is about creating and projecting value. Those professionals who can demonstrate high value will find greater and more abundant opportunities for work and advancement.
Businesses and corporations realize this. That’s why, according to the American Workforce Survey, “… new jobs will require higher levels of education and skills than many of the jobs of the past.” The barrier to entry is rising. Hiring managers are asking potential candidates to be smarter, sharper and more prepared than ever before. They’re not seeking qualified candidates; they’re seeking valuable candidates.
An executive certificate is an efficient and effective way for professionals to demonstrate that value, whether they’re seeking a career change or gunning for upper management. An executive certificate can act as the platform to the next level of business; it can satisfy the need for post-baccalaureate experience, and showcase the type of laser-focused professional development that many businesses want in an executive.
The Baby Boomers are retiring, and they’re leaving sizeable gaps in upper management. An executive certificate can be the bargaining chip some professionals need to get their foot in the door. In fact, in many cases, those professionals who pursued executive education have totally changed their business trajectory with as few as one or two courses.
Many professionals use the programs to fill gaps in their own arsenal of skills and knowledge.
Courses in communication, for example, can make a technically-minded associate a little more well-rounded. Courses in leadership can inspire an introverted employee to take on managerial responsibilities. A program in finance can be the boost a visionary leader needs to start completing projects on budget.
Remember, those executives with the diverse skillsets didn’t start their careers as versatile leaders and problem solvers. These skills were learned and developed. Their capabilities weren’t discovered, they were built. Self-investment worked for them, because it works for everybody, regardless of circumstance. These exemplary upper management types operate in all variety of business and commerce; they come from different backgrounds and different educations, but they all have one thing in common.
They took action to better themselves. And it paid off.