Katherine Pitts explains how the transferable knowledge and skills she learned on the Executive Diploma in Strategy and Innovation make this course valuable for anyone working or interested in strategy and innovation.
Nicola Smith, Executive Diploma in Organisational Change participant, shares her experience on the programme and why she would recommend the diploma to other professionals.
“How are you going to fit that in?” was the most common response I had when I told people I had signed up for the Executive Diploma. With a busy job, two teenage children and just the general chaos of life and logistics, if I was honest, I wasn’t quite sure. But encouraged by my family and the Warwick Business School (WBS) team, I did sign up and seven months later, with all the live classroom sessions done and just two more essays and my ‘big project’ to go, I write this to urge you, if you are sitting on the fence and not quite sure, to just say yes.
After 25 years away from studying, returning to WBS as a post-graduate was pretty daunting, and the thought of trying to write essays again even more so, but after initial nerves were navigated, I was soon back into the swing of things.
The in-person classroom sessions have been one of the highlights. The variety and experience of the professors is inspirational and for me, there have been some real ‘light bulb’ moments. Whilst some of the approaches you have been taking for years in delivering change are validated, you also realise some of your thinking has been missing key ingredients. This was particularly highlighted in the sessions which focused on the role of emotions in change. People don’t resist change, they resist loss and looking through a lens of loss alters your perspective on how you craft your change approach. There are so many concepts explained on the course and you come out the other side with a real practical toolkit to take back and use in your work environment covering many topics; change models, behavioural science, nudge theory, communications messaging, competitive advantage, design thinking, culture and identity, to name a few.
The thread of content that runs between the modules eases you in gently but by the end of module 4, as theories are referred to and built on, it all hangs together and makes sense. Throughout the assignments you are also encouraged to be reflective and draw on examples from your own experiences and it is a real opportunity to have that time to stop and think about which ideas / theories really connect (or don’t!) to the world you operate in.
Which leads me onto the best part of the course for me – the cohort of participants. To spend quality time with other leaders and hear about their experiences is both inspiring and reassuring. You realise, regardless of industry or role, there is commonality between the challenges you face. The course provides a safe space to discuss issues, learn from others and in some of the sessions, the time to try and shape solutions. Camaraderie and friendships are built, and the end of the in-person sessions certainly came round too quickly for our group!
So, to conclude:
Is the course a big commitment? Without a doubt. Will there be moments when you are writing an essay on a sunny Sunday and think ‘why am I doing this’? Most probably. Will you ever master the referencing software when back in your day essays were written on pen and paper? Possibly. But, and it is a very big but… Will you meet amazing and inspirational people who you enjoy hanging out with? Undoubtedly. Will you be able to bring your career experiences to life and test your ideas against new concepts, theories and frameworks? Absolutely. Will your thinking be challenged, and will you emerge equipped to approach change differently? Most definitely.
Don’t deliberate any longer, just sign up!
The Executive Diploma in Organisational Change has been relaunched as the Executive Diploma in Strategic Leadership & Change. Find out more here.