Leadership graduate programs: Six things to know about leadership graduate programs

Leadership graduate programs are a great way to prepare to move into the higher echelons of general management. They help you gain leadership skills and confidence to complement your existing management know-how. Because leadership, just like any other skill, can be learned and can be improved. Here are five things you should know about leadership graduate programs.

1) Where you study matters for leadership graduate programs. It's not just anyone who can hang up their shingle and offer quality leadership training. The top business schools in the world regularly work with top international organizations and their leaders. Plus, world-renowned faculty at these schools are directly involved in business research on, among other things, how to develop leadership. So your best bet is to look into top schools, starting with the annual rankings of business management schools by independent sources like the Financial Times and Forbes. A top-ranked business school will offer more innovative, impactful leadership graduate programs.

2) The best leadership graduate programs fit training to your life- without compromising quality. Good business schools recognize that leadership programs must be flexible to fit your life. (Be careful though: that does not necessarily mean that online-only programs are the way to go.) Top schools use new technologies and the strongest pedagogical methods for real-life learning. On campus at a top-ranked business school, you will enjoy an energizing learning environment; interact with world-class faculty; participate in highly effective hands-on learning like leadership exercises and leadership coaching; and get to network with top-level peers. Online/off-campus assignments help you prepare for campus modules; bridge between themes; and integrate your leadership training back at the office.

3) Quality leadership graduate programs understand leadership as an element of human behavioural dynamics. To be a good leader, you need a thorough understanding of the dynamics of human behavior - especially your own. That's why learning based on the latest knowledge from human sciences is integrated into leadership graduate programs at good business schools. Awareness starts with self-awareness. Approaching business situations as a smart, self-aware leader will put you ahead of those who stick to textbook tactics. You'll know to read a situation and leverage your best skills to lead in the right direction.

4) Practice is critical in leadership graduate programs. On its own, passive learning, like watching a lecturer or doing online exercises, is relatively ineffective when it comes to developing leadership skills. Getting into the action through hands-on education will firmly drive your learning home. Look for leadership graduate programs that integrate action learning techniques like leadership coaching, leadership exercises, company-based projects, consultancy projects and onsite learning in regions that are changing the face of global business.

5) You can gain a valuable international network of tomorrow's top leaders at leadership graduate programs. As an astute business manager, you know that networking takes you further. Leadership graduate programs at top international business schools attract managers who are smart, driven and talented, and who bring a wide range of perspectives, experiences and connections. Good leadership programs include extensive interaction, since classmates learn from one another and push each other to do even better. So, for extended value beyond strengthened leadership skills, be sure to take advantage of this ready-made network during and after leadership graduate programs.

6) Good Master Business Administration (MBA) programs have a strong focus on leadership Various different kinds of leadership graduate programs are available at different business schools and universities. But instead of a pure leadership program, you may want to consider an Executive MBA program with a strong focus on leadership. That way you'll not only develop your leadership skills, but also your business acumen.

EMBA programs are generally for managers with around 10 years' experience, while MBA programs are generally for those with 0-5 years' experience. EMBA programs are often part-time and supported by your employer as part of a leadership development plan. If you don't have such support, a full-time 1-year MBA is a great option. Either way, you're sure to experience a career leap with these business leadership graduate programs.


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