#ExoSpotlight: How Online Leadership Development Programs Are Creating Valuable Networking Opportunities

As we kick off 2020, many of us are busy creating resolutions for the year ahead. While we tend to think about resolutions as things we can improve in our personal lives, making resolutions specific to our professional goals can also be very beneficial. In fact, for virtually any professional, expanding your professional network can be one of the most important investments you make this year.

Making new connections sounds like a simple and achievable New Year’s resolution, but oftentimes we can feel intimidated by the idea of networking. Dorie Clark, Award-Winning Author, Strategy Consultant, and ExecOnline Professor, discussed the pressure we can feel at networking events during a keynote presentation at our annual ExecConnect conference. Dorie explained that our first instinct at a networking event is to walk around and see who we already know. If we do not see a familiar face, we may look for someone new to talk to, but oftentimes we end up leaving the networking event before we intended to.

Networking does not need to be like this. Today there are many ways leaders are expanding their networks outside of traditional networking events. At ExecOnline, we have seen first hand how our clients are creating valuable networking opportunities in the workplace by enrolling their leaders in our online leadership development programs. Not only do program participants learn new, valuable skills, but the structure of ExecOnline programs creates many opportunities for program participants to collaborate with other leaders all over the world.

How does the structure of an ExecOnline program create networking opportunities?

ExecOnline partners with top global business schools to rapidly deliver online leadership development programs that generate lasting organizational impact for corporations. Programs cover crucial topics like Inclusion and Diversity and Building and Leading Effective Teams, and are 100% online. Each course consists of three parts: on-demand video lectures, self-paced application exercises, and live online collaboration with high-achieving professionals and renowned faculty.

During the live sessions, program participants meet with people from their same organization, but they also learn alongside leaders from different organizations in a wide range of industries. Each participant is assigned to three distinct groups: a Forum, a Team, and a Learning Partner. A Forum is a group of ~75 people from a range of organizations and a Team is 6-8 people from the same organization. A participant meets with both their Forum and their Team online in the Live Forums. Participants are also paired with a Learning Partner—a same-company colleague with whom they will share feedback and support during the program. Both groups allow the participant to expand their network, share ideas, and learn from one another.

What are program participants saying about their experiences?

Many success stories have come from program participants who have made new connections through ExecOnline programs.

I like the networking, particularly with people within my own organization, who I would not have normally had contact with. I particularly like the Learning Partner system. I’ve made a friend for life. The material was excellent, particularly that it was delivered in bite-sized chunks, which made it easy to follow.” 

– Director of Global Medical Affairs, Medical Device Company

“This program has helped me setting clear goals and getting buy in from my team as well as building a network of colleagues to expand my knowledge of the business.”

– Corporate Office Controller, Manufacturing Company

“I loved the community of diverse people taking the course. It helped to build more networking opportunities with people who are looking to solve similar challenges.”

– Sr. Manager Global Employer Brand, Biotechnology Company

Upon graduation from an ExecOnline program, all program participants are invited to join an exclusive LinkedIn group where they can continue the conversation with other ExecOnline alumni working in different industries worldwide. Today this group has over 2,300 members and continues to grow.

By partnering with ExecOnline, our clients are investing in the future of their workforce. Networking is just one benefit that more than 400 multinational companies have seen from working with us. Schedule a conversation with us today and learn how we can empower your leaders in 2020.


Brenna Pereira

Manager, Corporate Communications and Marketing at ExecOnline

Brenna works with our different business units to develop, manage, and execute external communications ranging from social media campaigns to client case studies. She has worked in edtech for four years. Prior to that, she worked in higher ed for her alma mater, Syracuse University. Connect with Brenna on LinkedIn.

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