Columbia Senior Executive Program

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Find Yourself at the Center of Solutions

Here is where actionable business knowledge can help you solve immediate challenges. Where a curriculum deeply in tune with the forces shaping business can help you shift course with skill, and with better tools for leading your company. Find yourself at the center of new solutions. At the Columbia Senior Executive Program.


Senior executives must solve complex problems, create opportunity and make a powerful impact consistently – even in unpredictable conditions. The Columbia Senior Executive Program (CSEP) helps executives respond to evolving leadership challenges, exposing them to groundbreaking ideas and to a diverse community of global business leaders.

CSEP is offered in two scheduling options: the four-week program and CSEP 2x2.

During the intensive four-week residential program, CSEP weaves together in-depth sessions on leadership, strategy, and execution to provide this knowledge. Executives in the CSEP 2x2 scheduling option begin the spring session with participants of the consecutive week program for the first two weeks then return to work. Between the two sessions, executives continue work on designated personal and business projects, start implementing their learning, receive coaching on their progress, and have access to webinars with additional content. There also is a virtual component to maintain the class connection and community, and share learning and reflections that reinforce bridging theory to practice.

No matter which option they choose, participants emerge from CSEP stronger and more focused leaders, better able to develop and communicate their strategy and execute change. Participants explore a variety of topics through faculty interaction, individual coaching, and collaboration with diverse peers, creating a new foundation for better leadership.


Columbia Business School Dean Glenn Hubbard"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 Economics

For 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 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.

Benefits include:

  • 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

For an inside look at CSEP, view "The CSEP Experience" and download the program agenda.

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.

Personal Leadership

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.

Strategic Thinking

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.

Course Preparation

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.

In Session

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.
  • The first 3 weeks of CSEP take place at Dolce Norwalk in Connecticut and the 4th week in New York City. Learn more about why the program is designed this way.

Program Follow-up

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.

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.

Read More Success Stories


Typical Participant Mix


Finance: 28%
Manufacturing: 21%
Government: 16%
Oil and Gas/Energy: 6%

Shipping and Transportation: 6%
Telecommunications: 4%
Other: 19%

Geographic Location

North America: 33%
Asia Pacific: 31%
Europe: 26%

Africa and Middle East: 5%
South America: 5%


50 or older: 19%
45-49: 39%

40-44: 28%
35-39: 13%

Representative Companies and Organizations

Altana Pharma
ANZ Banking Group
A. P. Moller - Maersk
Asian Development Bank
AT&T Corporation
Boehringer Ingelheim
Caterpillar, Inc.
ChevronTexaco Corporation
Credit Suisse Group
Deutsche Bank
Government of Hong Kong SAR
Hewlett Packard

ITOCHU Corporation
Mitsui & Co.
Naval Support Activity
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Orica Limited
Panalpina Inc.
Saudi Aramco
Telstra Corporation Ltd
Unilever Ltd
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Navy


Paul Ingram, Faculty Director
Kravis Professor of Business Management

Paul Ingram is the Kravis Professor of Business at the Columbia Business School and faculty director of the Advanced Management Program. His PhD is from Cornell University, and he was on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University before coming to Columbia. He has held visiting professorships at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Toronto. The courses he teaches on management and strategy benefit from his research on organizations in the United States, Canada, Scotland, China and Australia, and his research has been published in more than forty articles, book chapters, and books. Ingram's current research projects examine the influence of intergovernmental organizations on bilateral trade and democratization, the structure and efficacy of managers’ professional networks in China and the United States, and the effects of networks and institutions on the evolution of the Glasgow shipbuilding industry.

He has served as a consulting editor for the American Journal of Sociology, as a senior editor for Organization Science, as an associate editor for Management Science, and on the editorial boards of Administrative Science Quarterly and Strategic Organization. He recently completed a term as president of the College of Organization Science of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS).

Ingram’s undergraduate degree is from Brock University, where he received the Governor General’s Award as the top graduating student. In 2004 he received the Distinguished Graduate Award from Brock’s Faculty of Business, and in 2007 he won the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence at Columbia Business School. He has consulted on issues of organizational design and strategy to leading companies in the finance, health care, and consumer products industries.

Bruce Craven, Program Director
Adjunct Associate Professor, Executive Education

As Director of CSEP, Bruce partners with the Faculty Director and the on-site and off-site Columbia teams and works with visiting faculty and conference center staff to deliver a transformational educational opportunity for the executive participants. He also has responsibility in the leadership of the pre- and post-program effort of the CSEP executive education team, including serving as a coach to CSEP graduates.

Concurrent with his work in executive education, he has pursued a career as a writer; his credits include a published novel and produced screenplay. He sits on the boards of Roy’s Desert Resource Center and Family Services of the Desert; both organizations offer food, shelter, resources and guidance to individuals and families in need. In the summer of 2012, he launched a Columbia M.B.A. elective course titled “Leadership through Fiction”. The course uses novels, plays and feature films as the source material to study issues of leadership.

He received a B.A. in Politics and Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University. He lives with his wife and two sons in Desert Hot Springs, California.

More than 50 Columbia Business School faculty and industry experts contribute to and teach in the program.

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 ( 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.

For an inside look at CSEP, view "The CSEP Experience" and download the program agenda.