Management Development: Most Effective Techniques and Main Programs

Business meeting of professionals
Management sets the pace for a company.

What Is Management Development?

Certain words are very often tossed around in corporate circles. One of these words is "management development." A large workforce consists of teams, and leaders, known as managers, who head all these teams. Managers are the leadership your employees know and the people who represent your brand. It is for their growth and improvement that management development is vital.

Why is it vital? Well, there are multiple reasons why managers at your company need to be nurtured. Not the least of the damage that incompetent management and lack of leadership can do to your companies' reputation and the overall work culture. If your managers fail at their job, you won't only have ranting customers to deal with but also dissatisfied employees.

To avoid such failures on the part of your managers, a management development program comes in handy. But knowing the importance and conducting one such program is only the first step. Numerous companies take this first step and launch their own management development programs. But do they all succeed in giving their managers the best training?

If not, why don't they? What can one do to conduct management development programs informed by updated techniques and efficient training methods? Let us investigate to find answers to all these questions.

Purpose of Management Development Programs

A management professional running late.
A company cannot practically run without its management.

As already mentioned, managers are extremely vital to any company, and bad management often becomes very costly. But what purpose does management development practically serve?

Well, a good management development program can definitely improve a manager's performance. Here’s how:

  1. To begin with, a good development and training program can help managers get the basics right when it comes to management at the base level. After all, it is from the grassroots that management starts. A lot of your workforce efficiency depends upon a strong base and trained leaders to look for solutions.
  2. A company might have numerous talented employees but can still fail to help them realize their full potential. This is where well-trained managers can make a difference by making the best use of their team members. After all, it is the managers who work closely with their teams. And, it is the managers who can help the workforce reach the pinnacle of performance.
  3. On an individual level, your company's managers have their own aspirations. A good program can help them inch closer to their dreams. It can help them grow as management professionals, which, in turn, will definitely help your company.
  4. Train managers in planning and execution. Improve their knowledge to take advantage of opportunities, prevent potential risks for the organization, and develop their execution skills to accomplish its goals.
  5. Lastly, if done right, management development programs can give your company the operational smoothness of good management. This will positively affect your company's work culture and enhance your brand's overall quality and value.

In a nutshell, the purpose of management development is to produce managers who are great leaders. The best companies in every industry recognize the importance of training and development of the workforce. The programs are also of prime importance to such companies.

The Current Techniques for Management Development

Desk of a manager
There are numerous prevalent techniques in management programs

Now that we've discussed the broader purpose of management development, let us move on to the prevalent techniques. Certain techniques are intrinsic to management development and are a must for an efficient training and development program.

Management Development Techniques
Management Development Techniques


On the job and off the job training is the initial part of any management development program. The on the job training means that the manager has the training while doing its day-to-day activities. On the other hand, off the job means that they will invest their time out of their current daily tasks to learn needed skills. Usually, the major companies have teams to develop their own training on and off the job. The training period varies a lot and can be from one day to months.

Job Rotation

Job rotation is another way to train your managers to be open to new, unfamiliar challenges. This gives them a solution-minded approach and enhances their value as employees capable of working across departments. For instance, If someone manages a brand, they can rotate into a sales position to attend to some clients and understand their needs better.

International Transfers

International transfers can turn out to be a monumental plus for your managers to grow as professionals and individuals. Furthermore, it can enhance their skill sets at an individual level, which can only turn out to be extremely beneficial for your company.

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Coaching is a process where a senior person usually trains a learner in achieving personal and professional goals. The trainer is the coach, and the trainee is the coachee. There are similarities with training, but on the coaching, you analyze and train the professional as a whole, including personal aspects. But most importantly, a coaching process is a mix of mentorship and training.

Mentorship Program

This program is based on senior managers helping the new ones. The most experienced executives already understand the culture and effective real business techniques and give orientation to progressing managers.

Academic Programs

Academic program education might be the least practical part of the process, but no management development program is complete without it. After all, it is the perfect blend of the academic and theoretical know-how and practical resourcefulness that makes a great manager. It also teaches managers the most up-to-date knowledge.

Academic Programs – Topics Covered by the Main Business Schools

Here we selected to discuss the top business schools considered on the 2020 Forbes business school ranking. Although the executive courses with shorter duration are not evaluated on this ranking, the criteria evaluate several other factors that impact the school performance, such as salary increase of alumni.

Chicago Booth Executive Program

  • Location: Chicago, Hong Kong, and London.
  • Typical courses length: 2, 10, 30 days,
  • Online and Offline options.
  • Individual and Company options.
  • Business school link.
Chicago Booth Executive Education Website

The Chicago Booth Executive program runs on three campus locations: Chicago, Hong Kong, and London. The way the three are spread across the globe adds a global perspective to their courses.

Chicago Booth Management Development Topics
Chicago Booth Management Development Topics

Furthermore, the course is offered in four different learning formats that give it a dynamic approach. Their different formats are Live-online programs, Online programs, Hybrid Programs (consisting of in-person and online learning), and additional distance learning formats that include pre-recorded and translated guest lectures.

Stanford Management Program

  • Location: Stanford Campus, US
  • Typical course length: Usually 5-7 days with self-paced options.
  • Online and Offline options.
  • Individual and Company options.
  • Business school link.
Stanford Business Executive Education Website

The Stanford Custom management development program truly takes personalized programs to a different level. To begin with, you will have to fill a form giving details about your organization’s needs. The custom program is then developed, keeping the information that has been given in the form.

Stanford Management Development Topics
Stanford Management Development Topics

The Stanford course format is also decided based on the organization’s needs. They work with you to conclude the learning format. They offer both online and in-person programs while also capable of blending both formats.

Kellogg's Management Program

  • Location: Evanston, Chicago, and Miami.
  • Typical Courses Length: 5, 10, and 20 days.
  • Online and Offline options.
  • Both individual and company options.
  • Business School Link.
Kellogg's Management Program Website

Kellogg’s executive program is carried out on three different campuses. These are located in Evanston, Chicago, and Miami. Kellogg’s management development program offers a holistic approach to development.

Kellogg Management Development Topics
Kellogg Management Development Topics

Their curriculum goes across disciplines that include Accounting, Finance, Management, Managerial Economics, Marketing, and Strategy. Kellogg's management programs include everything from classroom lectures to practical activities to give aspiring managers everything they need to deal with the ever-changing business industry.

Harvard Business School

  • Location: Boston
  • Typical Courses Length: 5 days, 20 days, 45 days, 3 months, and 6 months.
  • Both Online and Offline options.
  • Both individual and company options.
  • Business school link.
Harvard Business School Executive Education Website

The Harvard management development program for organizations is based on personalized development programs for every business. They are in touch with your organization throughout the program, which facilitates them in understanding the current challenges on businesses.

Harvard Management Development Topics
Harvard Management Development Topics

The Program design starts with conducting a needs assessment for your organization and moves on from there. The program also strives to strike a balance between interactive learning and the much-needed time for individual reflection.

The program offers various teaching methodologies, from case-based learning and peer coaching to action learning projects and application workshops.

Wharton Management Development Program

  • Location: Philadelphia, San Francisco, Barcelona, Shanghai, and Dubai.
  • Typical Courses Length: Options range from 3-4 weeks to customized self-paced programs.
  • Both Online and Offline options.
  • Both individual and company options.
  • Business School Link.
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Wharton Management Development Program Website

The Wharton Management development program is based on their discovery, design, delivery, and impact measurement model. As evident from the model, they begin by understanding your organization’s needs and design their program accordingly.

Harvard Management Development Topics
Harvard Management Development Topics

The Wharton management program stands out in how they collaborate with your organization all the way through to the end. The learning methodologies used at the program include action learning, applied learning, simulation, and experiential learning.

Tuck Executive Education

  • Locations: Tuck School Campus at Dartmouth, Hannover (NH), and various other locations worldwide.
  • Typical Courses Length: 1 week, 2 weeks, and self-paced.
  • Online and Offline options.
  • Both individual and company options.
  • Business School Link.
Tuck Executive Education Website

The Tuck Executive Education program at Dartmouth stands out because the location of the courses is flexible. They provide both individual and organizational development programs at campuses spread across the globe.

Tuck Management Development Topics
Tuck Management Development Topics

The faculty's action learning projects stay with the students way beyond the classroom and come in handy when facing challenges in the future.

Columbia Business School

  • Location: New York.
  • Typical Courses Length: Ranging from 1-3 days to 6+ months.
  • Blended, Live-Online, Online, and In-person options.
  • Both individual and company options.
  • Business School Link.
Columbia Business School Executive Education Website

The Columbia Business school management development program is suited to organizations worldwide because of the flexible schedule. Their virtual program includes sessions starting from one hour to those that go on for an entire day.

Columbia Management Development Topics
Columbia Management Development Topics

The program is flexible in its approach to learning and promotes peer learning and building a community of future leaders. The program is cross-disciplinary and covers finance, Marketing, Strategy, Social Enterprise, and Comprehensive and Focused leadership.

Cornell Executive Education Program

  • Location: 21 locations (mostly in the US) such as Ithaca-NY, New York City-NY, also China, and across the Americas.
  • Typical Courses Length: 2, 3, 5, and 6 days, 3 weeks; 4,5, and 6 two-week online courses, 5 three-week courses, etc.
  • Blended, Online, and In-person options.
  • Both individual and company options.
  • Business School Link.
Cornell Executive Education Program Website

The Cornell Executive development program promotes courageous innovation. In fact, the program clearly lays out the intention to promote critical thinking in those who enroll. Added to that is the emphasis on emotional intelligence and shaping entrepreneurial mindset in aspiring managers that makes the program unique.

lumbia Management Development Topics
Columbia Management Development Topics

The Cornell Executive development program values the digital-driven future that awaits us. For this reason, their development program focuses more on applied knowledge than the traditional approach of theoretical learning.


  • Location: Cambridge, MA.
  • Typical Courses Length: 2-5 days and longer.
  • In-person and Live-Online programs.
  • Individual and Company options.
  • Business School Link.
MIT Management Executive Program Website

The MIT Executive program for organizations has proved instrumental in training future leaders in numerous top organizations. The program's use of the Avatar mechanism in delivering digital learning is as close as possible to the personal, humane touch with online learning.

MIT Management Development Topics
MIT Management Development Topics

The program is separated into eight different phases: twice the usual segregation, which shows how attention to detail shapes the MIT Executive program.

Michigan Ross Custom Development Program

  • Location: Ann Arbor, MI
  • Typical Courses Length: 5 days to over a month, along with self-paced options.
  • Online and Offline options.
  • Both individual and company options.
  • Business School Link.
Michigan Ross Custom Development Program Website

The Michigan Ross development program understands the importance and works on various levels to deliver practical training to your managers who will eventually become tomorrow's leaders. They also work on the approach to discovering, design, deliver, and deploy.

Ross Management Development Topics
Ross Management Development Topics

Notably, the program collaborates with the organization even after completion. This collaboration is directed towards aiding in follow-up activities, consultancy, and impact analysis.


  • Location: Berkeley Campus and India.
  • Typical Courses Length: 1 year
  • Online and Offline options
  • Both individual and company options.
  • Business School Link.
Berkeley Executive Program website

The Berkeley Executive Management Program includes classes in Berkeley and India. The program also includes online lectures and follows a program module that caters to aspiring executives from across the globe especially emerging economies.

rkeleyManagement Development Topics
BerkeleyManagement Development Topics

The program is year-long and consists of six academic modules comprising online and in-person interaction in Berkeley and India.

Yale School Of Management

  • Location: New Haven
  • Typical Courses Length: 1 week, 3 weeks, One month plus, and self-paced.
  • Online and In-person programs.
  • Both individual and company options.
  • Business School Link.
Yale School Of Management Executive Education Website

The Yale School of Management is a dream for many aspiring managers. Now that they provide management development programs for both individuals and companies, it is a mouth-watering prospect for aspiring companies dedicated to nurturing their young managers.

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The program is carefully curated to look beyond the “traditional school disciplines” as the Yale website terms it and strives to help your organization walk a different path.

ss Management Development Topics
Ross Management Development Topics

The Yale School of Management Executive Education program boasts of top leaders from business and finance. Their faculty also consists of scholars in political science and international relations that help give students a sense of perspective, practical experience, and insight.

A Practical Approach to Management Development Programs

A professional with his team
The importance of management is quite appreciated in any company.

We earlier talked about how most management development programs run by companies leave a lot to be desired. Many argue that a change in approach can rejuvenate management development programs.

There are numerous ways management development programs can see new light to become more practical and useful.

One Size Should Fits More

Firstly, professional growth and development do not work on the one size fits all approach. Your workforce comprises individuals who have their own qualities that need to be nurtured. Hence, any management development program needs to follow a personalized approach to be successful. This can be done by:

  • Allowing less experienced managers to put their full selves to try out their unique ideas.
  • Supporting them to be courageous enough to voice their opinions.
  • Building an atmosphere of a healthy exchange of ideas amongst managers and their mentors.
  • Acknowledging the manager’s aspiration for growth and talking about the ways they can grow within the company.
  • Telling the managers how the important insight they receive in training comes in handy in everyday situations.

Management Development Should Be More Connect to Real Problems

Companies cannot isolate a management development program from the actual reality of the manager’s life at your company. Managers face a plethora of challenges daily.

These managers' development must arm them with the necessary tools to cope with the myriad challenges they face. Furthermore, your company’s management development program should align with the reality of your company's work culture.

A happy manager
And a happy manager means—a happy team.

Developing a Manager Should Be a Current Process

Lastly, a management development program should be seen as a process. It has to be a gradual development program with continuous follow-ups and managers' opportunities to apply in real life.

Criticism and the Need for Change in Manager Development Programs

A confused manager
The management program has seen criticism too.

Most companies today provide manager development programs. According to Gallup, 66% of managers claim that their employer provides a management development program. Many young managers consider it a significant perk and choose the company based on the same.

Although it is good to see most young managers getting a development program, other data suggests the lack of results from the management development programs.

For instance, among the 66% that receive manager development programs, only 35% strongly nod to knowing the effect of their performance on opportunities for promotion. This clearly shows that although leaders are willing to invest in manager development, there is still a lot of scope for management development programs.

After all, if managers feel they are not growing to their full potential, it is never a good sign for their growth prospects.


It is your workforce that transforms your ideas into reality and growth. To get the most out of your talented workforce, you require well-trained managers. Hence, the importance of management development programs is pretty much a fact we must all agree upon.

However, the challenge remains to make sure that your management development program is exactly what your young managers require. It is, undoubtedly, an effort worth making to ensure that the program meets the on-ground realities and is also in line with the work culture that is prevalent at the company.

In a nutshell, managers will only grow if they are not only taught the tricks of the trade but are allowed to innovate and implement what they’ve learned coupled with their own unique approach. After all, professional growth is only possible when taken up at a personalized level and understanding of the day-to-day challenges that managers face in today’s fast-paced business world.

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