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The power of peer learning in Executive Education

Part of the strength of the Cambridge Judge Business School learning experience is the opportunity to exchange ideas and solutions with your peers – a process which three of our most recent Advanced Leadership Programme cohort found particularly useful…

Executive Education delegates

Vikas Verma (CEO, Productivityx.com): “I’m one of only two Brits, which is pretty unusual for an executive education course in the UK, and I think the fact that other parts of the world were so well-represented has been really valuable. And it’s not just the nations that the others have come from, but also the sectors and industries – it’s really opened up my eyes. I’m obviously quite used to working in my sector and my role, but this programme has helped me spread my wings further by finding out what’s going on outside those boundaries – it’s been really profound in that respect.”

Virgina Corlurcio (HR Director – EMEA, Netflix): “So for me it’s had a similar impact, but from another perspective. I was the only HR person in the room and so there was a tendency for the others to come and kind of check in… saying ‘I have this thing in my company’, or ‘this HR director is telling me something and how would you approach it?’. This has given me the chance to see emerging directors and CEOs come in with other realities and challenges based around their organisations. I usually look at things from my own perspective, as an HR leader, and it’s been so good to see how other business leaders experience the HR function and the problems they might face.”

Najmuddin Mohd Lufti (CEO, BIMB Investment Management): “I’ve been working in my industry for 18 years, so it’s always nice to find a new perspective ¬- and we have a very diverse group of people on this programme, so that’s a lot of new perspectives! And it’s not just in terms what we do and where we’re from, but also from the wide age range. It’s been so very interesting to get the room’s perspective… plus, you have experts from the world’s best learning centre.”

It hasn’t just been one-way learning – focusing on a linear topic and takeaway – it’s been about pushing back and challenging the academics and your colleagues in the class.

Vik: “Yes… I think a lot of it has been around the interaction between us colleagues and the presenters, because the environment that’s been created has been one in which we can push back and challenge and test things. It hasn’t just been one-way learning – focusing on a linear topic and takeaway – it’s been about pushing back and challenging the academics and your colleagues in the class, which has helped me really push the boundaries of how I want to take this back into my organisation and our clients.”

Virginia: “If you ask me, it’s been all about connecting the dots. So there’s not really been some specific new ‘thing’ or concept that I’ve taken away, but rather where there was a series of random dots and there are now proper connections and links. Plus, honestly… I’ve been on a 25-year vacation from formal education and just the fact that I’m back in it – getting that reward of learning again, of developing yourself again in a formal learning environment – has been great.”

Vik: “Yeah – being back in the learning environment here has been brilliant.”

Virginia: “Absolutely, how cool and nice has it been just to learn? When you were learning before, at this age or that age, it was like ‘yeah, I have to do that’ but when you’re learning at the age we’re at now, it’s like ‘I want to do that’.”

Vik: “There’s been a contrast there too. Yes, it’s been a fun and enjoyable experience, and we’re all going to leave here with this new incredible network of academics that we may call on and colleagues from across the world in different industries, but it’s also been quite intense. The days have been busy, the topics we covered have been focused and significant, so I think for me personally it’ll probably take a few months for me to just digest everything that we’ve learnt and really reflect that into what I’m doing. I will definitely come away with a few things that I’ll be doing as soon as I get back to the office, but I think the process that I’ve started to develop as a leader is only just beginning to come together. I’m expecting that kind of Eureka moment at some point where it all clicks into place.”

It’s given me new insights into who I am… I now really know my blindspots, which I can fix to become a better leader.

Naj: “The great thing is I will be able to implement some of these learnings and do something as soon as I get back to my desk, because I’ve got a strong framework now compared to other programmes that I’ve attended before. One of the most useful sessions was a coaching session – which really gave me a chance to look at myself. It’s given me new insights into who I am… I now really know my blindspots, which I can fix to become a better leader.”

Vik: “We’ve certainly learnt a lot about each other as leaders, and personally as well, and I think it’s actually been quite profound experience. For example, I know that I could just pick up the phone and speak to Virginia or Naj and say: ‘I’ve got a problem and I need your help, because I know you’ve been through this’, so despite it being for only three weeks, I feel like I’ve known these guys for a lot longer.”

Naj: “I think the networks we’ve built will be very valuable… OK, I can’t see myself doing something with it immediately, but I’m sure we’ll get great value out of our connections. Another thing I certainly want to use is that that continuous connection with the University because it’s always been part of my life, the need to continuously refresh myself and get new perspectives.”

Vik: “Well, I’ve absolutely set myself a goal now to go and visit Virginia in the Netherlands – when she’s running Netflix and choosing the next chief executive! In fact, I need to put my world tour at some point in terms of going visit everyone… but it’s been so great because we formed very close relationships in a very short period of time.”

Virginia: “I’m by nature a networker, so for me it’s been very easy to connect with these guys, but the School did ensure they provided us with the right setting – the perfect environment – in which it can happen. But after that it’s always going to be down to the individual, so it’s really been down to us to reach out and really believe in that power to connect… and the value of the networking communication and exchanging ideas.”