The requirement of lifelong learning is not new
I remember well how it was recommended to me more than three decades ago that I should keep up my education and training on a rolling basis and this regardless of the fact that I had already spent quite a few years on my training as a lawyer. What this meant precisely was not explained to me. And so I wondered what further education and training would still make sense to me in the future, or rather, would be time well invested. After all, it would have to pay off reasonably well during the rest of my working life.
Working out vigorously once and then going without any exercise for 40 years?
No one would even begin to think that a one-off physical training session would be enough to keep them fit for forty years. It is equally clear today that an initial, sound training package may be good and valuable but will hardly be sufficient for the following working life of some forty years. This analogy has not been chosen at random. Imagine every working year as a kilometre of a marathon. And unfortunately, this marathon has to be run by everyone unless they can number themselves among the lucky winners of a lottery jackpot. To reassure you: in a marathon, you need not be among the winners but you have to become a succeeful finisher. It is enough to reach the finishing line within a reasonable timeframe and, above all, in good health and without any lasting damage.
Change management as the new core competence
It is unlikely to be regarded as an exaggeration to call the last years a permanent or multiple crisis: within a very short time, many crises have occurred in rapid succession and with great global impact. And an end is not yet in sight. We are living in fast-moving times with many changes, for which we have to gird ourselves both in our private lives and at work. This requires each of us to adapt continuously. For highly motivated people who consider changes to be part of life and who prefer to take their bearings from facts rather than opinions, this is not a problem. For them, permanent personal development on a sound basis is simply part of the overall package. The related question for executive education institutions is therefore more likely to be: how can we provide such persons with optimal support for their plans?
Demands on today’s executive education formats
Today, lifelong learning calls for executive education formats that can be individualised, are modular in design and are flexible in a variety of ways. Participants want to acquire knowledge for their current requirements (“just for me”), for what is needed at this very moment (“just now”) and to the necessary extent (“just right”). We are pleased that the University of St.Gallen has an excellent track record in executive education going back many years, and it is a reliable partner: it established its executive education level as early as 1968, the very first of its kind in Switzerland, and now the issue of executive education is intended to be firmly enshrined in the University Act, as the third pillar alongside teaching and research.
Result: understanding development as a good workout
Back to the analogy with sports. Who hasn’t had this experience themselves: working out is strenuous, and we regularly have to make an effort to do so. Once the workout is over, however, we may feel tired, but we’re always satisfied and in a good mood. This is precisely the feeling that a personal fitness training concerning lifelong learning should create. Then, you will also belong to those runners who successfully stay the course of business life and who will often and fondly remember their very personal working marathon.
Further impulses about this can be found in Bruno Mascello’s videos:
The Law & Management division of the Executive School of the University of St.Gallen (HSG) has been providing executive education at all levels (week-long seminars, CAS, DAS, Executive Master) as open programmes and tailor-made in-house courses since 2007 and is currently doing so in eight subject areas. To date, more than 1,600 participants have attended the open executive education pro-grammes, which are continually being updated and extended. The comprehensive executive education format that was introduced in 2021 is expressive of a clear commitment to lifelong learning in that all the courses are modular in design and can be arranged flexibly in terms of time and according to individual requirements. Above and beyond this, the following executive education objectives are being pursued: get-ting to know many-faceted career perspectives and options, establishing and expanding networks, benefitting from new methods and tools, and generally extending participants’ personal horizons.
Relevant executive education
About the author
Prof. Dr. Bruno Mascello Director, Academic Director Law & Management
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