The Warwick Executive Diploma Award is a new offering for 2020, and one which we are extremely excited about. We spoke to Tim Wray, Professor of Practice – Director of Executive Education at Warwick Business School, to find out more about the fantastic opportunities that the Warwick Executive Diplomas can offer to our community.
How are the Warwick Executive Diplomas structured?
Each of the Diplomas is structured in the same way, with four, four-day modules spread over one year, plus a final Executive Case project based on a challenge you’re facing in your business. We believe this format means that busy executives and entrepreneurs trying to grapple for time with their day-job, but really wanting to expose themselves to new thinking and cutting-edge ideas, can balance both challenges in parallel.
For Oliver and Karen from our first Strategy & Innovation cohort, flexibility to fit their learning around their career and family commitments was key in them choosing the Executive Diploma. They share their experience in this short film.
How do the Executive Diplomas differ from an MBA?
The Diplomas represent a different value proposition to the Executive MBA. The latter is a general management degree over 1-2 years, and for many will be an important foundation of their management and leadership career. The Executive Diplomas are, in comparison, designed to provide a deep dive into particular subject areas that we know are priorities for top executives right now. They provide a shorter and more focused alternative in which you can apply your learnings immediately to the challenges you are facing. So for example, Strategic Leadership examines the dynamics of leadership in today’s economy, and with the attendant challenges that that brings. It is expansive, both broad and deep, in terms of its interrogation of that whole leadership space. Many participants have already completed an Executive MBA earlier in their career and use the Diploma to fill a particular gap in their knowledge or skill set. Others will use the Diploma as an entry point to their leadership development experience, and there is a pathway for people to go on to study the Warwick Executive MBA following a diploma if they wish. So the Diploma can work in different ways for different people depending on what you want to achieve.
Strategic Leadership participant Deirdre was considering enrolling onto an MBA programme, but as Director of her own company she had concerns over the time commitment involved. She spoke to us about her experience of studying the Executive Diploma.
Who should consider applying for an Executive Diploma?
The Warwick Executive Diplomas are aimed at executives who are perhaps doing one of two things which are closely related. One is to address a specific challenge facing their business – a classic example would be digital disruption, something which is washing across most sectors and industries, but people are struggling to make sense of that and catch up.
The second trigger is to plug that capability and knowledge gap as an individual. As executives we all bring experience, but the pace of change is such that that experience can be rapidly made redundant. It is vitally important that we are constantly updating ourselves, and constantly reinventing our knowledge base.
What areas of specialism can you cover when studying for an Executive Diploma?
The Executive Diplomas are not general management degrees, but are for people seeking to address very specific challenges, gaps in their capabilities and leadership experience that they want to plug, or to address very clearly understood challenges that their business is facing, and that they need help to think through and respond to.
Our four Diplomas are:
When designing the Executive Diplomas we conducted an extensive survey among our alumni who are scattered globally and are typically operating in senior executive roles. We asked them a number of questions relating to the challenges that they were facing individually in their leadership roles, and that their organisations and businesses are facing as well, and they spoke to us about a number of challenges – strategy execution, digital transformation, agility, and entrepreneurial thinking. So we sought to craft four programmes which speak directly to those challenges, and leadership is the theme which runs through all of these issues, and the Diplomas specifically address those issues.
How much of a time commitment is required?
Each of the four modules are taught in person at The Shard, London, and take place over four days every quarter. So each module consists of 30 hours of face-to-face teaching in class, plus as a guide we estimate that you will spend one hour per-day for independent self-study. The modules also include reflective written assignments, and your Diploma will conclude with an Executive Case Project once your teaching is complete. Both what you learn in class, and the assignments are designed so what you learn from day one can be immediately applied back to your business, as previous participant Nazia discovered.
Where do the Executive Diploma courses take place? Is it possible to study for an Executive Diploma remotely?
All of the Diplomas are delivered at WBS’ London base at The Shard. A typical day involves sessions in the classroom, but those sessions are very interactive involving a lot of break-out work in small groups, working on case-study material, so it is a very dynamic learning setting. Our faculty are highly skilled not just in communicating the ideas that they have, but also in engaging and surfacing the experience of people in the room. That co-creation of learning is a critical aspect.
The Diplomas will be delivered in the classroom in the first instance, however our online platform my.wbs will also play a very significant role. Coming on the programme should be thought of as entering an eco-system, and that eco-system includes materials online, and the ability to tap into that, not just on the days that you’re present with us in London, but over the full duration of the year.
My.wbs provides a way for participants to remain connected over the full duration of the programme, not only to each other but also their faculty, and to constantly access their learning materials, wherever they are.
What would you say are the main benefits to studying for an Executive Diploma?
Participants will have been fully immersed in critical challenges that are facing businesses today, all the way through from digital disruption to the need to be more agile, more innovative, more responsive to customers, and indeed in having the leadership capability to address all of those different challenges. These are very real issues that businesses are grappling with today, and are intensified by the ongoing situation of the global pandemic and the negotiations around Brexit. If businesses are to survive and thrive in today’s economy they need to be able to address these challenges, and I am confident that people coming on these diplomas will go back well-equipped to do this.
The flexibility the programmes offer, with just 16-days of face-to-face teaching over one year, means that you don’t have to step away from your business for an extended period, which is particularly important if you are running your own venture.
Finally one of the added benefits, which comes up when we speak to all of our participants, is the value gained from the other learners and the teachers in the small sized classroom. The network you will take away from the programme is extensive, from your fellow participants, our research active academics and Professors of Practice (faculty with non-academic backgrounds, but experts in their field following years of industry experience), and a range of external expert speakers who are invited to contribute to modules. Hearing about the experience of classmates from different industries, sectors and continents adds to the richness of your experience, and the relationships you build with your cohort is something you can take with you and benefit from long after you finish your Executive Diploma.
2019/20 participant Colin spoke to us about his experience on the Executive Diploma in Digital Leadership, and what he would say to anyone considering making an application.
How is Warwick Business School working to mitigate against the challenges that Covid-19 guidelines present to studying?
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the ability of our students to learn in an engaging but safe environment has been our main focus. Did you know our Distance Learning MBA has been ranked number 1 in the world for the past three years (Financial Times Online MBA Ranking)? We are able to draw on that expertise for all of our programmes so that if you are studying with us online for any period you will receive the same standard of teaching and course content as you would face to face. Our Distance Learning MBA students have been using this tried and tested blended approach for several years, hear what they have to say about it and see my.wbs in action in this video.
We have also worked hard to ensure our physical teaching spaces are as Covid-secure as possible, by introducing extra safety measures and limiting class sizes, so when it is safe to do so we can run face-to-face classes. We will always follow UK Government guidelines as the situation continues, and whether your modules will take place online (like Module 1 of our Autumn 2020 Executive Diplomas), or in person, we are dedicated to ensuring you will receive a world-class teaching and learning experience.
Get started with your application for the Heropreneurs’ Warwick Business School Awards, for your chance to win a 100% bursary for a Warwick Executive Diploma of your choice by clicking here.