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Executive Training With a Twist

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Tue Nov 06 2012

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(From The Globe and Mail) -- The class of Halifax Port Authority employees is concentrating intensely on the issues that affect responsible leadership. Before they wilt, they take a break. But instead of checking e-mail or grabbing a coffee, they start dancing.

The dance break is a component of the program Dalhousie University's faculty of management offers executives and is intended to enhance the students’ performance, according to JoAnne Akerboom, executive director for the faculty. This kind of creativity in what business schools offer in corporate training is increasingly what companies are looking for.

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Flexibility, brevity and customized training are the new watchwords.

Last year, Dalhousie’s advanced management centre introduced a new executive leadership education certificate program, with up to 20 modules on managerial issues such as service quality and enterprise risk management. “Employers, whether in the public sector or business, are being much more strategic in their selection of the kind of continuing education options they choose,” centre director Martine Durier-Copp says. “They want more options.”

This fall, the Halifax Port Authority sent 11 employees on the program that runs over two years, with online discussions between class sessions. Joan Macleod, director of human resources for the port, says the training is designed to help high-potential employees to move into senior leadership positions.

Training is a retention tool, too. “We feel we hire the right people so when we get them here, we want to keep them,” Ms. Macleod says.

Over the course of a decade, Bank of Montreal (BMO) paid for promising employees to earn a master of business administration (MBA) in financial services from Dalhousie University’s faculty of management – an executive education relationship that paid dividends all-round.

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Since 1996, the first year the specialty MBA was offered through the faculty’s Centre for Advanced Management Education in Halifax, 350 bank employees have taken the program and 75 per cent of them have stayed with BMO.

But in 2010, though pleased with the program, BMO switched its strategy for MBA and executive MBA training.

Read more.

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