How to Ask your Employer to Support your ExecEd

How do you convince your employer to pay for some, if not all, of the cost of an Executive Education program?

It starts with a confident presentation of relevant data, and of course you have to move step-wise to the ultimate decision maker (often your direct boss), typically including Human Resources.

Here's a Top 3 List:

  1. State your 100% commitment to returning to the firm, pointing out that the ExecEd program is a way for you to enhance what you can do in your present and future roles with the organization.
  2. Be specific about why you want this training and what you aim to learn in the ExecEd program, and just how you will apply what you learned when you return to the office.  Of course, use specific metrics where you can.
  3. Use success stories from your own or other firms regarding employees have taken an ExecEd course(s) and successfully applied what they learned.  Program representatives can guide you and provide you with interesting talking points to support your ask for training.

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management has a joint program with York University’s Schulich School of Business, and they offer 11 reasons your employer should foot all or part of your ExecEd costs:

  • Sponsorship should be viewed as part of a career development process, not just as paying for you to take a course. Candidates for a program are sponsored because of their outstanding promise and leadership potential. The program is therefore an investment both in you and in the future of your company.
  • The curriculum will provide you with the latest thinking in all areas of business, and will include a critical emphasis in areas that are critical to your growth. As a result, it will update and expand your knowledge base and prepare you to deal with the major management challenges facing you and your employer.
  • The short duration of these program’s permit you to quickly gain new knowledge and apply your new knowledge immediately.  You will be returning to work immediately with actionable tools and information.  Since programs are on average four to five days, there is minimal disruption from your regular work schedule.
  • There will be many opportunities to apply the course work under the direction of ExecEd professors during the program. You can bring in real business scenarios to discuss for your employer, who will benefit both from the project work itself and from the feedback that the professors will provide.
  • Networking with your fellow participants during the program and afterwards as alumni will provide you with additional sources of ideas, benchmarks and advice on issues facing you at work.
  • You will develop a variety of management skills to complement the knowledge gained through course content. These could include time management, quantitative analysis, computer skills, team skills and communication skills.  
  • You will develop broader optics on business interacting with classmates that are from other industries and gain global perspective through ExecEd-- it's not just US-oriented.
  • Employers who develop high potential employees are more likely to be viewed as being among the “best places to work.”  These employers are more likely to attract and retain employees with exceptional promise, particularly in today’s highly competitive business environment.  
  • Most of the tuition fee is tax deductible for your employer, so the real cost is much less than it first appears and the time commitment is just a few days in most cases.
  • Your interaction with ExecEd faculty throughout the program and with course participants will give you a network of contacts, as well as valuable insights how other industries deal with issues in the US and abroad. You will also become part of a global network of peers, many of whom are easy to find on LinkedIn.
  • Unlike MBA programs, ExecEd is quick turn around so you can continue to enhance your skills in bite sized part vs a full MBA program.   You can control the areas that your need to enhance for your professional development.  Successful application and enhancement in your abilities in one area of business will only prove the value gained from ExecEd and set you up for the next future program.

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