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Columbia Essentials of Management


Over two weeks, top Columbia Business School faculty offer key concepts and tools in strategy, leadership, finance, and marketing essential for your future success.

Interactive sessions and small-group work stretch your abilities and test your assumptions. Case discussions, simulations, workshop activities, and exercises provide the opportunity to apply your learning to actual business challenges.

An important focus of Columbia Essentials of Management is developing your self-awareness and your skills as a leader. How do people see you as a leader? How do you see yourself? Sophisticated assessment and feedback tools help you identify opportunities for improving your leadership capabilities as well as successfully manage individual and organizational performance.

For a complete program schedule download the agenda.

Please Contact Us

Please contact our Learning Solutions Specialists at 212-854-3395 for a personal conversation to learn more.


Program Benefits in the Current Context

The curriculum covers comprehensive business areas, including accounting and finance, strategy, innovation, global supply chain, and marketing. Faculty members who teach in the School's MBA program lead you through case discussions, focused leadership sessions, self-development exercises, and workshops in an intensive off-site format. You also learn from and network with other high-potential executives from around the world, giving you varied perspectives for a deeper understanding of global business challenges.

A 360-degree survey identifies the strengths and weaknesses of your leadership style, giving you insight that better equips you to assume larger responsibilities in the future.

Summary of Benefits

  • Develop immediate and lasting leadership skills for yourself and your organization.
  • Gain proficiency in critical functional business areas.
  • Build a network of executives from various industries and functions.
  • Learn from faculty members who are experts on essential business topics.

"In Columbia Essentials of Management, we want to make sure you not only understand what is occurring right now, but that you also can begin to predict where the opportunities will be in the days and years to come."
–Grant Ackerman, faculty director

Upon completion of this program, you will earn 13 days towards a Certificate in Business Excellence. Learn more.


General Topics and Activities

Leadership and Management in the 21st Century. Participants explore the difference between leadership and management and what is required to both lead and manage successful organizations in the contemporary business environment.

Leadership and Teams. Elements of emotional and social intelligence are considered as participants learn more about the challenges and opportunities of working in teams, both during the program and when they return to their organizations.

Creating Breakthrough Strategies. Participants explore the dynamics of strategy and leadership as they develop their capacity to analyze market and competitive forces and create winning propositions for their organizations.

Marketing and Advertising. Participants explore various frameworks and concepts in marketing and consider how advertising plays an integral role in an organization's overall brand management.

Finance and Accounting. Recognizing that sound financial analysis is critical to the success of any enterprise, participants develop their capacities to use financial data to assess business performance and ensure sufficient cash to meet the organization's needs.

Leadership Communications. Participants work with communications coaches to develop their presence as a leader and capacity to deliver powerful personal leadership messages.

Integrated Global Supply Chain Management. Recognizing that all organizations now are in some way a part of the global business environment, participants learn about global supply chain management and its critical role in the development of successful business strategies.

Culture and Global Teams. To ensure the successful integration of a global workforce, participants explore the dynamics of leading and managing teams across borders and across cultures.

Organization Alignment. Leaders often have to reconfigure and align their organizations to deliver on the promise of new directions and strategies. Participants consider how various dimensions of an organization must fit together for the organization to be effective.

Leading Change. In the contemporary business environment, the only thing constant is change. Participants consider the dynamics of change and how to lead individuals and organizations through a constructive and effective change process.

Specialty Topics

Messiness. Finding that too much organization may actually be inefficient, Professor Eric Abrahamson draws on concepts in his new book, A Perfect Mess, to show participants the value of (just enough) disorder.

Strategic Intuition. Using concepts presented in his new book, Strategic Intuition, Professor Bill Duggan helps participants understand the intuitive side of strategy and how they can develop their own capacities to see new solutions to old problems.

The Changing Distribution of Global Power. Professor Ray Horton surveys the business and political landscape over the next 25 years and explores with participants power shifts and their implications for individuals, business, and society.

The Art and Science of Leadership and Motivation. How do great leaders stay motivated even in the most difficult of times? Professor Hitendra Wadhwa looks at both empirical research and real life examples from around the world to illustrate the art and science of motivational leadership.

Experiential Marketing. Professor Bernd Schmitt, considered the founder of the Experiential Marketing school, presents material that shows participants how to use all of the five senses in marketing campaigns.

Fairness. Drawing on concepts outlined in his recent Harvard Business Review article, "Why It's So Hard to be Fair," Professor Joel Brockner explores with participants why being "fair" is so important and, at times, so hard to do.

Personal Development Activities

Leadership Feedback. Before arriving at the program, participants complete a 360-degree feedback instrument. During the program, participants review their 360 report with experienced coaches who can help identify existing strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Learning Styles. Participants begin the program by looking at how preferences for various learning styles impact the learning process. By evaluating their own preferences and those of their colleagues, participants begin to develop a cohesive and effective learning community.

Leadership Credo. The leadership credo exercise provides participants with an opportunity to inventory their personal beliefs about leadership and assess what will make their organization a success.

Executive Well Being. Exercise, recreation and health education sessions led by Howie Berg, Executive Education's fitness coach, provide participants with opportunities to develop not only their intellectual capacities but also their physical well-being.

Integrated Learning Opportunities

Personal Cases. During the two week program, participants work in teams on personal cases that provide an opportunity to apply and integrate their knowledge of strategy, leadership, marketing, operations, and finance. Plenary discussions and team presentations during the program showcase thought leadership in action. After receiving feedback about their case from peers and faculty, each participant develops a Personal Action Plan to implement these ideas when they return to their organization.

Individual Development Plans. During the second week of the program, after receiving their 360 feedback, each participant creates a personalized plan that will serve as a guide for his or her continued learning and development.

Tomorrow, Today. This capstone session at the end of the program explores what the world will look like in the not-so-distant future. Drawing on all of their learnings from the program, participants consider ideas and opportunities that can be accessed right now.

View the video about Leadership Jazz for an inside look at this unique session.

For a complete program schedule download the agenda.

Audience & Testimonials

Columbia Essentials of Management is designed for mid-level executives who seek to further their leadership development and enhance their overall business acumen. The program is ideal for high-potential executives preparing to assume on more responsibility, either functionally or in a leadership capacity.


Grant Ackerman, Faculty Director
Professor of Management
Faculty Member, Executive Education

Grant Ackerman’s research and teaching focuses on executive leadership, collaborative leadership models, managing conflict and consensus within and between firms, cross-cultural negotiations and dispute resolution, organizational justice, and lessons for leadership from the creative and performing arts. He has extensive experience in organizational consulting and has provided his expertise to such companies as Avon, Banker's Trust, Coca-Cola, Deloitte, Ford Motors, Sampoerna (Indonesia), GE Credit Corporation, Lend Lease Americas, Time Warner, United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and World Vision, USA. For several years, he served as director of the Institute for International Trade with Educational Services Exchange with China, Inc. (ESEC).

Along with Professor Ackerman, additional Columbia Business School faculty contribute to and teach in the program.


Special Features

Leadership Jazz is an involving and entertaining evening where music mixes with thought-provoking conversation to explore the improvisational world of jazz and its relationship to leadership and management techniques. Top musicians not only display their musical talent but also share their insights on such topics as collaboration and the importance of listening, and answer questions from participants. What emerges is a valuable discussion of the dynamics of individual excellence and constructive teamwork.

View the video about Leadership Jazz for an inside look at this unique session.

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Earn Your Certificate

The Certificate in Business Excellence (CIBE) is awarded to participants who complete a total of 18 program days within a four-year period.

Learn more about the benefits of earning a CIBE.