Leveling up in your career: Executive education to the fore

Upskilling is essential for professionals, and executive education can serve as a cost-effective solution for those who may be cash-strapped.

By U2B Staff 

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Our rapidly evolving world has accentuated the need for professionals to stay agile and adapt to the tectonic shifts occurring within the business realm.

By and large, “disrupting” the self by developing targeted skills to narrow the skills gap has never been more essential for individuals to survive and thrive in these unprecedented times. While postgraduate programmes such as master degrees remain equally important and relevant, a potentially overlooked area for those who want something more targeted for their professional development is executive education. 

Executive education may not culminate with a degree, but they help develop leadership talent and equip individuals with new skills in specific areas to stand out from the competition. They are shorter than a masters degree and depending on the institution, prospective applicants can choose from open enrolment programmes to custom programmes for organisations.

Executive education for lifelong learning 

The UK is home to many options for professionals who are looking to upskill themselves. Many university’s course offerings increasingly reflect global changes, while formats may include on and off-campus delivery. 

Entry requirements vary, but some typical requirements may include fluency in English, as well as an undergraduate degree and/or relevant work experience. There are a range of courses to choose from, including finance, economics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, leadership, to name a few.

Prices will invariably vary according to institution, as well as the type and length of course. 


For instance, the London School of Economics’s (LSE) executive education courses covers a wide spectrum of topics, including in business and management and economics fields. One of their programmes, Managing Risk in Organisations, is an intensive five-day course that aims to demonstrate and instil optimal practices from real-world perspectives that are critical to the effective functioning of an organisation.

LSE’s virtual and on-campus programme fees cost over £6,000 and £4,000 respectively.

Meanwhile, Imperial College Business School offers executive education in areas such as AI & Machine Learning in Financial Services, Cybersecurity, Fintech, among others. Prices can range from £2,950 to £6,700, while courses may last between two to five days.

IEDP reported that Imperial College Business School conducted Impact Studies to monitor the effectiveness of their executive development programmes and to see how learning is being applied by participants when they return to their workplaces.

Some of their main findings include participants coming out of the programme “more rounded and able to develop throughout [the] entire company, not just within [a] single business unit. They report having more understanding and awareness of [the] whole company and their role in it”, it said.

Many of the ROI of the findings, which include changes in participants’ cognitions and behaviours, concrete examples of application of learning and skills, tangible business outcomes, to name a few, have reportedly helped the HR and Learning & Development teams to justify investments in such developments.

Meanwhile, Dr Andrew White, Associate Dean for Executive Education and Corporate Relations, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford said in The Chartered Association of Business Schools’ 2017 report, The Impact of Executive Education, that individuals and organisations typically spend money not merely to achieve academic awards, but to see their careers and organisations transformed in some way.

Benefits of an executive education

ManpowerGroup notes that “upskilling isn’t just an option for employees – it’s a necessity”. The staffing firm said that by 2022, over half (54%) of all employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling. 

“Of these, about 35% are expected to require training of up to six months, 9% will take six to 12 months to reskill and 10% will require additional skills training of more than a year. In other words, the sooner you start upskilling, the farther ahead you will be down the road when everyone tries to catch up,” it said.


It’s increasingly apparent that the success of an individual’s career will depend on lifelong learning, which makes executive education an area worth exploring.

Postgraduate fees at UK universities vary, but typical fees can fall into the £12,000-£20,000 bracket, notes The Complete University Guide. Eye-watering fees aside, other factors that affect the cost of postgraduate studies include the institution chosen as well as location.

In a similar vein, executive education can offer a cost effective solution for professionals who are currently looking for more affordable options to upskill, and within a short period, before deciding later on if they would like to continue with a masters degree.