Various questions arise, when we think of executive development. “Why should I take a continuing education course from a university than a consulting firm or training company?” 
Various questions arise, when we think of executive development. “Why should I take a continuing education course from a university than a consulting firm or training company?” 

This is a question we hear often from Learning & Development leaders at organizations looking for a custom program for their employees. But it applies equally to individual professionals looking to get the best return on their investment of money and time in executive education. Certainly there are good programs run by consulting firms and training companies. Here, we’ll highlight the areas where a university stands out – the reasons why a Learning & Development leader or individual professional would choose a university over the alternatives for executive education. 
Reason #1: You want practical advice, based on experience and research 
“I don’t want academic theory; I want practical advice.” That’s a concern often heard from people inquiring about our executive education programs. At a University, executive education participants actually get the best of both worlds: the practical advice they can apply at work the next day and the grounding in research. 
Programs are founded on the continued pursuit of thought leadership and focused on taking academic research and refining and reframing it to be relevant to industry. Most faculty members have both practical industry experience and academic research bona fides. They work together and with other colleagues inside and outside of academia to explore nuances, best practices, and trends from an unbiased perspective (a privilege, perhaps, of the independent non-profit). 
Reason #2: You’re looking for a depth of knowledge 
In many arenas, specialization is the key to competitive advantage. It certainly is for many consulting firms and training companies. But universities by their nature are at once broad and deep, exploring a wide range of topics as an institution made up of individuals with great depths of knowledge in specific areas. 
At a university, faculty gain and apply cross-disciplinary learnings and best practices. experience. 
Reason #3: You’re looking for quality assurance 
Whether it’s a company or an individual paying for the executive education program, the quality of the program is essential, as it is a key determinant of ROI. And what better source of assured quality than a top-ranked graduate school? 
For example, the Learning & Development team at one of the world’s top healthcare organizations was looking to shortlist a select few institutions where its employees could go for executive education. In essence, the organization was trying to put some quality control into its education expenditures, thinking about the quality that participants would get from each program. 
It is easy to apply the “quality-approved” stamp to Universities, because as a university, they have to go through continuous evaluation and rigorous vetting to earn and maintain accreditation. That is a level of rigor non-university education providers aren’t beholden to. 
Reason #4: You’re looking for help solving a tough organizational challenge 
At a University they thrive on digging into the toughest organizational challenges, working with our custom executive education program clients to break apart their issues and architect solutions. Whereas consulting firms typically have pre-defined sets of best practices and processes, Universities on the other hand combine best practices and processes with hands-on, in-the-trenches work to identify and resolve the issues at the heart of the challenge. 
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