Priya Mistry has a demanding but rewarding job at London Business School (LBS). As portfolio director for finance, it’s her role to ensure that LBS’s Executive Education programmes are as relevant and engaging as possible, to meet the career needs of finance professionals across the world.
“With the economic and political landscape constantly changing, businesses are facing new challenges to ensure growth,” says Mistry. “I make sure LBS delivers a portfolio of intensive-learning programmes that help professionals – from middle managers to boardroom execs – deal with this change and master a wide range of financial tools that fill crucial gaps in their knowledge and help them make the best strategic decisions for their business.”
LBS offers a variety of Executive Education programmes in finance, all led by world-renowned faculty and lasting for about five days each on average. These include four courses in corporate finance, as well as topics such as strategic investment management, project and infrastructure finance, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, finance for non-finance executives and financing the entrepreneurial business.
Mistry says LBS Executive Education programmes attract future business leaders from around the world who want to become better decision makers, develop areas of technical expertise, or deepen their current knowledge in a particular field of finance.
“There’s a great mix in our classrooms – you’ll be learning and networking with people from several different countries and industries. They’ll all be in roles which require an understanding of finance to make critical strategic decisions, but they might be lawyers, engineers, senior advisers, members of a family business, or chief executives” says Mistry.
But why do an Executive Education programme at LBS if your own company also runs training and development schemes?
“People who’ve completed our programmes tell me one of the main benefits of LBS over in-house training is that you get a greater variety of global perspectives, which encourages you to think about things in a different way,” explains Mistry.
“Having run Executive Education courses for 50 years and being based in the vibrant city of London –which naturally draws talent – we’re able to attract a high calibre group of participants to our campus. You learn a lot from the experiences of others in the classroom” she adds.
You also receive fresh insights on business and finance from the LBS lecturers. “Not only are our finance faculty some of the world’s best academics in their fields, they also have extensive industry experience,” says Mistry. “They’ve advised governments, been consultants for leading companies, and have been awarded prizes for their research.”
“They bring this research into the classroom, and also provide practical examples based on their insights from case studies. And because they’re so well connected, they give you knowledge that you couldn’t get from reading a news headline or textbook,” she adds.
You won’t be spending the week just listening to lectures, however. Mistry describes the Executive Education programmes as “interactive boot camps” in which participants solve problems (based on several real-life case studies) in teams and then present their findings to the wider group. To encourage participation, LBS typically limits each class to 40 people on average.
LBS also taps its long-established connections in London’s financial district to bring in senior-level guest speakers who are industry specialists.
“These are often people who’ve actually been on the deals you’re looking at in class, so they give you hands-on insights,” adds Mistry.
Mistry says the best aspect of her role at LBS is hearing from people who’ve completed an Executive Education programme and have used their new expertise to make positive changes at work.
“Finance professionals tell me that because these courses are intensive – you get a lot of new knowledge within a short timeframe – they were able to add value immediately when they returned to their jobs,” she says.
“One participant said they used the knowledge gained from the accounting and financial analysis programme to immediately negotiate a 10% increase in their company’s credit limit with the most important mortgage bank in Brazil. They also incorporated other new features into their credit analysis, significantly improving future credit-limit scores,” explains Mistry.
Another person “made the return on their investment during the programme as he instructed his team to change a clause on an existing deal, saving the company thousands”.
If you want to succeed during an Executive Education programme at LBS, Mistry has some advice: “Prepare yourself – it’s time for you to invest in your professional development, so delegate as much work as you can. It’s going to be an intense week, which you’ll love if you get involved as much as possible. Your company will then reap the rewards when you return and make an impact.”
Above all, Mistry says you should take advantage of opportunities throughout the week (LBS organises breakfast, lunch and dinner events) to network with faculty, guest speakers, and fellow participants.
Many participants stay in touch with each other long after the programme has finished, she says. And if you complete three Executive Education programmes, you can become an LBS alumni and gain access to the school’s 16,000-strong alumni network, spread across more than 150 countries.
“Your learning doesn’t need to end when you’ve completed the one week course,” says Mistry. “The networks that you make with other senior professional can last a lifetime.”
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