Challenging times require outstanding executives who can lead with vision, courage, and inspiration. To do so, executives need to step back and have the opportunity to question their assumptions, gain perspective, and ultimately become the leader they aspire to be.
Welcome to The Columbia Senior Executive Program: an incomparable 26-day journey of intellectual, personal, and professional discovery, transformation and growth for senior executives. The Columbia Senior Executive Program is also offered in a 2x2 option consisting of two, two-week modules with program work between modules.
- Special Features
Senior executives operate in a world that is so unpredictable that reliance on traditional models is no longer the only answer. The Columbia Senior Executive Program (CSEP) is designed to provide them the knowledge and tools that will help them to lead from a higher level and make sense of complex environments.
Over the course of four weeks, CSEP weaves together in-depth sessions on leadership, strategy, and execution to provide this knowledge. At the end of the program, participants emerge stronger and more focused leaders, better able to develop and communicate their strategy and execute change.
Participants explore these three areas through faculty interaction, individual coaching, and collaboration with diverse peers, creating a new foundation for better leadership.
After graduating from CSEP, participants receive select alumni benefits from Columbia Business School and access to a vital, global community of leaders. The powerful lifelong learning process, alumni activities, and continued participation maximize the individual and organizational impact of the learning experience."The Columbia Senior Executive Program is an incomparable journey that allows executives from around the world to take a step back from their daily work and deeply focus on a strategic, leadership, or management problem. Columbia Business School's faculty members create a true collaborative learning environment and help executives bridge the latest in business theory and research with practical applications for their organizations."
–Glenn Hubbard, Dean and Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and EconomicsFor an inside look at CSEP, view "The CSEP Experience" and download the program agenda.
Please Contact Us
Please contact our Learning Solutions Specialists at 212-854-3395 for a personal conversation to learn more.
The Columbia Senior Executive Program is designed for senior executives with a minimum of 15 years of managerial experience, responsibility, and professional success who seek an even greater level of achievement through the exploration of new ideas, perspectives, theories, and realities. The high-caliber global participants attending the program reinforce and strengthen the learning environment. Each session of the program consists of global senior-level executives representing diverse industries and experiences.
Typical Participant Mix
Shipping and Transportation: 6%
North America: 33%
Africa and Middle East: 5%
50 or older: 19%
Representative Companies and Organizations
"The Columbia Senior Executive Program is about leadership, and that is more important now than ever. If anything is proven in recent months, it's that our received models of macro-economics and finance don't offer us enough understanding of the economy.
"Instead of misplaced trust in complex models, in CSEP we develop leaders who can create a vision, communicate it, and motivate others, and design organizations so that information and responsibility are allocated to those who can make a difference."
–Paul Ingram, faculty director
As Paul Ingram notes, CSEP is particularly relevant for executives facing the rapidly changing environment of today's economy. In each session, CSEP faculty address issues pertinent to current conditions while providing a long-term perspective essential to effective leadership.
Over the four weeks, CSEP offers a variety of sessions that address critical issues and develop necessary skills invaluable for the challenges that you will face upon your return to your organization.
- Create and sustain competitive advantage
- Communicate authenticity
- Be aware of your strengths as a leader
- Create cohesion on a team
- Execute your vision
- Inspire the people you lead
- Learn which decisions to make and how to make them better
- Understand how to keep strategy aligned with current challenges
- Lead cross-functional areas of the organization to work together
- Champion and drive change initiatives
- Lead in a way that brings out the best new ideas
- Maximize individual and team performance
- Use data effectively to resolve problems
In addition, participants receive these select Columbia Business School alumni benefits upon completing the program:
- A 25 percent tuition benefit for yourself and up to four colleagues each year for programs lasting up to seven days.
- Invitations to alumni events and programs around the world
- Global networking opportunities
- Lifetime Columbia Business School e-mail address
- Access to Columbia Business School Alumni Career Services resources
- Subscriptions to all Columbia Business School alumni publications
- Eligibility to join a Columbia Business School alumni club
"From the morning our programs begin, there's a feeling that incredible things can happen. And they do, not just in the classroom, but also while collaborating on a project late into the night, bonding during a pickup basketball game or chatting with a world leader over cocktails. Is it the energy of New York City or the electricity of having a group of highly intelligent and immensely curious people together in one place? It's probably a little bit of both. The people who take part in this program are optimistic, positive—and that's infectious. It's fun to be around people who are so good at getting things done."
–Paul Ingram, faculty director
Additional Program Faculty
More than 50 Columbia Business School faculty and industry experts contribute to the program, including:
Dean, Columbia Business School
Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics
|Rita Gunther McGrath|
Associate Professor of Management
Faculty Director, Leading Strategic Growth and Change
Senior Lecturer in Discipline in Business of Management
Senior Lecturer in Business of Management
Faculty Director, Strategic Intuition
Professor of Professional Practice of Marketing
Faculty Director, Personal Leadership and Success
The Columbia Senior Executive Program expands the possibilities executives see through an integrated curriculum that combines personal leadership, strategic thinking, and execution. This integrated three-level curriculum along with a rich learning environment creates an opportunity for a transformative experience that starts changing the way they think for immediate benefit as well as lasting impact for themselves and their organizations.
Great leadership starts with true self-awareness. In order to lead well outwardly, executives must be good personal leaders. Personal leadership starts with understanding and controlling ones internal thoughts, motivations, goals, and mindsets. Executives will come to better understand their current level of awareness and learn ways to develop their personal leadership more completely in order for them to lead others. Knowing one’s core values helps better align day-to-day behaviors with one’s overall goals and priorities and leads to more effective leadership.
One of the greatest challenges leaders face is creating strategic initiatives especially during times of change. Pulling from faculty members’ research and experience, executives will better analyze the competitive market and identify opportunities, knowing more about how competitive advantage is derived. Participants will apply learning to their own organizations, balancing risk and innovation and be better prepared to address external and internal change.
Executives in CSEP are already proven leaders when they enter the program but through questioning their assumptions and reflecting on the learning, they can uncover concrete steps for themselves to lead more effectively. Much of the focus on execution revolves around how to help identify steps you need to take to create a vision and implement change.
These three key elements are incorporated through pre-program preparation, the four-week program, presented in consecutive weeks or in a 2x2 Option, and program follow-up. Learn more about CSEP 2 x 2 Option.
Program Director Bruce Craven consults with participants as part of the pre-program preparation to set the foundation as they start their learning.
- Initial contact with participants before CSEP to discuss goals and objectives.
- Participants prepare their personal cases and their 360-degree feedback assessments.
- A CSEP program consultant provides personal attention for each participant.
Throughout the program’s four weeks, faculty members and practitioners purposefully weave the three key concepts of personal leadership, strategic thinking and execution through the program.
- Faculty Director Paul Ingram leads a team of faculty members who guide participants through sessions on personal leadership, strategic thinking, and execution.
- Dynamic and engaging sessions challenge executives’ existing ideas and frameworks.
- Concepts are absorbed and internalized to create immediate and lasting change for executives and their organizations.
After the program concludes, Program Director Bruce Craven consults with participants to maintain the trajectory of their work and help them progress as leaders. Participants also have access to various learning opportunities such as webinars. Upon completion of the program participants earn select Columbia Business School alumni benefits including the opportunity to attend alumni events.
To view a detailed outline of the program and review sample session titles, please download the program agenda.
To succeed, leaders need to stay a step ahead of their competitors. That means looking for ideas in unexpected places, and absorbing them in original ways. CSEP has a number of experiential class sessions to help participants create more organizational and professional value. Many of these sessions take advantage of our unique location, using New York City as a laboratory to study innovation, improvisation, and robust organizations. From Columbia University, we bring the finest relevant, cutting-edge research, so participants can engage promising ideas on improving performance before they become widely diffused. Below is just a sampling of what we do.
Executive Performance as a Function of Well Being
To lead requires focus and energy, so one’s health and wellbeing is essential. Executive Well-Being is a comprehensive model that teaches you how to manage your energy at the program and to develop long-term positive health practices through daily sessions. The connection between the physical self and successful leadership is made in other parts of the program as well.
Delivering the Right Message with Impact
Great leaders have presence. Working with Columbia’s voice coach, Andrea Haring, who has taught great actors like Al Pacino, participants have the chance develop their own presence by diagnosing and practicing effective communication.
Communication also goes beyond the literal message. The program includes a session on how to leverage symbolic communication, a great tool for leading an organization’s culture. For this, we engage with curators from some of New York’s world-renowned art museums, who use their collections as examples of how a message can be shaped with symbols. The class then applies the lessons to their own organizations.
Alignment: Getting Everyone to Pull Together
Even the best strategy will fail if an organization isn’t capable of executing it. We bring the latest ideas, from both expected and unexpected sources, on building an effective organization. For example, we bring research evidence from Columbia’s Global Leadership Matrix project (www.gleam.org) on how networks can be used to create flexible and responsive organizations. Participants then use that information to analyze their own relational capabilities, and those of their organizations.
We also look to sports and music for ideas on how to organize in the field. Olympic rowers take participants on the water to illustrate how to create cohesion. There, the class can truly feel the impact of alignment. In the same spirit, we sit in with a symphony orchestra, as the conductor demonstrates different leadership styles and the players explain where they look for direction and what they do when they can’t find it.
Organizing to Innovate
While it’s important for an organization to execute a strategy, there also must be space to be inventive. In the CSEP classroom, we meet with thought leaders, such as Rita McGrath and Bill Duggan, to discuss strategic innovation. We also examine innovation up close, allowing participants to practice the leadership and interaction patterns that encourage new ideas.
Innovation requires risk-taking, and sometimes failures occur. Jazz musicians know this as well as anyone, since they innovate constantly. We bring in world-renowned musicians so participants can see (and hear) what success in this realm really means.
We then take these lessons to a session that employs improvisational actors as coaches. The actors show participants how to listen to and encourage others to express ideas, and how to combine these ideas into a successful product.
Leadership: From One into Many
At Columbia, we see leadership as helping others to do better. To do that, though, one also has to lead oneself. So to help participants impact their organizations, we also help them impact themselves. Sheena Iyengar, author of The Art of Choosing, and Hitendra Wadhwa, director of the Institute for Personal Leadership, help us weave this theme into classroom sessions.
This work also extends outside the class, with one-on-one coaching, both on leadership practices and on the values that guide one’s choices (Almeida in the Financial Times). We introduce a process of daily reflection, which helps participants absorb and prioritize what they’ve learned and allows them to better manage their time, priorities, and focus back at work. And participants work with some of the city’s best young actors on drawing from one’s own life story to connect with others.
The Leader Isn’t Alone: Spouse/Partner Program
Successful people rely on support and advice from those they trust. For this reason, CSEP provides an option for you to invite your spouse/partner or a guest to join specific parts of the program. Guests attend some sessions with you, and they also engage in separate programming to help them understand what you’ve learned and what you will be tackling after the program.
Proficiency in English is essential. View the language requirements
- September 29 - October 25, 2013
- October 19 - November 14, 2014
Dolce Norwalk, Connecticut and New York City.
April 28–May 24 2013,
September 29–October 25, 2013.
Each of these sessions is four consecutive weeks. Tuition includes meals, materials and accommodations.
for April 28–July 19, 2013
This session consists of two modules (April 28 – May 10 and July 7– 19) with program work between modules. Learn More