Executive education

Posted on May 13, 2019 | Atlantic Business Magazine | 0 Comments

Professional development programs and organization memberships can really fast track your career. But how to decide which one is right for you? In this feature, we examine six popular Top 50 CEO career advancement tools. You can’t go wrong if you follow the leaders

Institute for Corporate Directors
The Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) is a national not-for-profit association representing Canadian directors and boards. It advocates for—and provides education, leadership and governance resources to—14,000+ member directors across the country. By strengthening director performance, the ICD improves trust and confidence in Canadian organizations.

With regards to its education mandate, the ICD (in partnership with the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management) has developed the Directors Education Program (DEP), a 12-day course delivered in four three-day modules. The DEP incorporates roundtable discussions, real-time case studies and on-point insights from world-renowned faculty, experts in the field of board behaviours and executives-in-residence. The goal of the program is to build competencies deemed necessary to be an effective director. The DEP is available in a number of cities across Canada including St. John’s, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Calgary.

More than 5,400 directors have completed the program. The ICD.D designation, granted by the ICD, represents a commitment to good governance and boardroom excellence. It is the only program of its kind in Canada to bear the seal of the director community.

The application fee is $500, and the program fee for all four modules is $18,750 (includes tuition, reading materials, exam fees, and meals during the program).

In addition to the Directors Education Program, an offering of short courses are also provided on subject-specific learning, focused on how to navigate pressing issues that directors can expect to encounter. These one-day-only courses are ideal for any director looking to expand their skill set.

Harvard Business School Executive Education
Harvard Business School’s Executive Education programs are a perennial favorite among Atlantic Canada’s biggest corporate leaders. There are literally dozens of programs available, both for individuals and for organizations.

Popular examples include the Advanced Management Program (which prepares senior executives for leadership at the highest level of business via a seven-week program that accelerates personal and professional growth) and the General Management Program. The GMP puts participants on the path for future success by giving them tools to move past functional expertise and become strategic leaders. It is for executives in any role who want a broader and deeper perspective on company operations, from strategy and finance to marketing and leadership.

In fiscal year 2017, more than 60 Executive Education programs were held at the university’s Boston, Massachusetts headquarters, as well as in research centres and classrooms in Mumbai, Shanghai and elsewhere around the world.
Over 10,000 executives have completed HBS Executive Education programs, which offer participants an educational experience anchored by accomplished faculty, collaborative living groups, networking opportunities, a global approach to business management and actionable learning.

The school uses case study methodology and discussions of real-life situations executives have faced to reinforce the practicality of lessons learned.

Program costs are as divergent as the programs themselves. The Advanced Management Program, for example, costs $82,000, and the General Management Program rings in at $72,000.

Wallace McCain Institute
The Wallace McCain Institute (WMI) isn’t in the business of helping people who hope to become CEOs. They actively work with people already in a CEO role or who are second-in-command, says executive director Nancy Mathis. WMI also supports next generation sons and daughters in multi-generational family businesses who are likely to be the successors.

The aim of WMI is to give entrepreneurs what they need to succeed. This includes growing their capacity as owners, building experience in their second-in-command, and creating an ecosystem that supports multi-generational companies that stay in Atlantic Canada, They focus on building business judgement over text-book learning, and do scenario work within monthly peer group retreats.

Members chosen to be in a WMI peer group have to both give-and-get so everyone can benefit from the mutual experience building.

The Wallace McCain Institute is built in Atlantic Canada for Atlantic Canadians. Some other peer group programs operate globally, but WMI is focused here. The vision of WMI is to be the catalyst that impacts entrepreneurial leaders in the transformation of the Atlantic region.

There are multiple costs for multiple programs, ranging from $3,500 to $20,000, depending on duration. Most have a residential component.

Their flagship program for business owners, the Entrepreneurial Leaders Program (ELP), has a two-day session each month, for a year. For this, the cost is $20,000. Sponsors cover half the cost, and members pay half. The second-in-command program (2iC) is for leaders working one level below a CEO, and is done monthly for a year in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It is $5,000. The ECHO program is for family businesses and is $3,500 a year for six retreats at two month intervals. After the first year, all WMI groups continue to meet quarterly.

Women Presidents’ Organization
The WPO mission is to help successful female entrepreneurs (presidents, CEOs, managing directors) of privately-held, multimillion-dollar companies accelerate their business growth, enhance competitiveness and promote economic security. Many programs help startups, but WPO is the only one for second-stage businesses owned by women. WPO was formed as a way to help established businesses advance to the next level of profitability through confidential and collaborative peer learning groups.

Membership criteria: $2 million in gross revenue for a product-based business, or $1 million for a service-based business, ownership interest in the business at some level, and senior management responsibilities for attorneys and accountants. Members must not be competitive with the core business of the other members in their chapter.

There are five categories of membership:


  • Chapter Member: ($2,000 per year)
    Women with a $2 million annual revenue (or $1 million for a service-based business) can become a member in a chapter of their geographic area.
  • Member-at-large: ($2,000 per year)
    These are for women who meet the WPO criteria, but live in a region where there is no chapter, or they cannot attend chapter meetings.
  • Platinum Group: ($4,500 per year)
    This membership level is for WPO chapter members, or members at large, with annual revenue of $10 million and above.
  • Zenith Group: ($5,000 per year)
    This membership level is for WPO chapter members, or members at large, with annual revenues of $50 million and above.
  • Alumna Membership: ($900 a year)
    This membership level is for people who have had chapter membership status for at least three consecutive years and have retired or sold their business.


The WPO currently has 15 Chapters across Canada with four in this region: Atlantic Canada I & II, and St. John’s, N.L. I & II.

YPO is a leadership organization for more than 27,000 chief executives in 130 countries around the world. The organization provides a global platform for business leaders to engage, learn and grow. In Canada, there are 17 chapters representing more than 1,700 members.

Some of the offerings/benefits at YPO include: Forum, a small group of YPO peers who meet regularly to exchange ideas and experiences in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality; networks, interest-based, virtual communities that connect members and spouse/partners with shared passions; and programs for the family, including events and opportunities for spouses/partners, children and young adults.

YPO membership is intended to be available to individuals who hold the top position of a qualifying company or division and are directly responsible for all operations of the business or division. Titles representing this position may include president, chairman of the board, CEO, managing director or managing partner. Members must apply before his or her 45th birthday.

YPO membership dues are determined each year by the YPO Board of Directors. For the current fiscal year, running July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019, dues are USD $3,525 and pro-rated monthly.

Chapters typically have their own additional dues and fee structures as determined by each chapter’s executive committee.

MBAs are widely seen as an entrée to larger earnings and higher corporate status, but they’re also much more. A June 15, 2018 article by John Byrne for Forbes.com listed the “desire to acquire new skills”, the opportunity to “transition into a new career” and the chance to “make a positive difference in the world” as equally compelling reasons to get an MBA.

Whatever your motivation, you have a lot of MBA options to choose from in Atlantic Canada (tuition ranges from approximately $6,000 at Memorial to just over $50,000 for SMU’s Sobey MBA with its international trade mission component).

UNB: With program options that include a Concentration on Entrepreneurship, Sport and Recreation Management and a four-year MBA/Juris Doctor (combined business and legal degree), University of New Brunswick offers both online and in-class MBAs at their Fredericton and Saint John campuses.

UdeM: The MBA program of l’Université de Moncton, offered by the Faculty of Administration in collaboration with the Continuing Education Office, includes a combination of theory, case studies and teamwork. Students develop management, leadership and communications skills as well as decision-making and teamwork skills.

UPEI: There are two MBA options at the University of Prince Edward Island. The Executive MBA is for students who want to advance their education while continuing to work. It offers specialized streams of study in Biotechnology Management and Entrepreneurship, and Innovative Management. The MBA in Global Leadership is a 12-month cohort-model program that prepares students for the complex and dynamic international business environment.

MUN: Required courses for Memorial University of Newfoundland’s MBA program include business ethics (a first in Canada), leadership skills and international business as well as business fundamentals such as economics, finance, accounting, organizational behaviour, operations management, statistics, marketing, information systems, human resources and strategic management. Studies can be full-time or part-time; students in the traditional MBA program have the opportunity to spend a semester studying at a partner institution in Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, North America or Latin America.

CBU: Cape Breton University offers North America’s only MBA program in Community Economic Development. It includes subjects found in traditional MBA programs, with an emphasis on economic development, leadership, governance, and change management. Specializing options include electives in Strategic Leadership, Peace Building, Public Administration, First Nations, Sustainability or International Business.

DAL: Dalhousie University has three MBA programs. Their 22-month Corporate Residency MBA (the only one in Canada) features a paid work term with one of their employer-partners. Their MBA Financial Services and MBA Leadership programs are flexibly designed for mid-career professionals. These online/blended programs are 90 per cent online learning combined with face-to-face sessions.

SMU: Saint Mary’s University’s Sobey School of Business MBA program is a 16-month cohort-style program that includes a mandatory international study component. With an emphasis on responsible leadership, the program immerses participants in intercultural, unique local and international business experiences that are designed to cultivate innovation skills and an entrepreneurial mindset. In 2018, the Sobey MBA placed #8 on the global Corporate Knights Better World ranking.

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