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Grooming leaders. Growing businesses.


September 1, 2021

Serge Lafrance


For more than 65 years, Executive Education HEC Montréal has helped professionals, executives and leaders advance their careers and partnered with businesses to boost team engagement.

Now, having witnessed the impact of the pandemic on the business world, Executive Education HEC Montréal is ready to lead businesses into the future.

Serge Lafrance, Director of Executive Education HEC Montréal and Associate Professor at HEC Montréal, shares how the school embraced adaptability from the very beginning of the crisis, taking the opportunity to revamp its course offerings in preparation for the road to recovery ahead.

Executive education for the new normal

On March 13, 2020, the government announced a lockdown that was initially meant to last two weeks. The rest, as they say, is history. “Starting in April 2020, we converted more than a hundred programs to a fully virtual teaching format and added short-term courses to meet the changing needs of leaders,” says Lafrance. Among the 104 courses offered, there are around 20 that focus on managing teleworking teams, covering topics such as long-distance leadership, crisis management, and remote performance and effectiveness.

An omnichannel approach: Four ways to learn

Executive Education HEC Montréal immediately recognized that remote work was here to stay and proceeded to make major investments in technology to permanently adapt its classrooms. Teaching is now offered in four formats: in the classroom at HEC Montréal, on site at a client’s place of business, fully online or in a hybrid format combining in-class and online learning.

In addition to classrooms equipped with videoconferencing technology and state-of-the-art recording studios, HEC Montréal has an X20 classroom, running the same technology used by Harvard Business School and major U.S. companies. According to Lafrance, “this immersive and interactive technology allows online participants to interact as though they are in class.” For example, the user has the choice to view the instructor or another speaker in the room.

Hugely popular webinars

With in-person cocktail hours, networking events and seminars indefinitely postponed, Executive Education HEC Montréal stepped in to fill the void with more frequent webinars. The virtual sessions address specific topics and communities of interest, such as long-distance leadership, e-commerce, marketing, finance and human resources management. “Our webinars can bring in up to 1,200 participants,” says Lafrance. “The question period at the end of each webinar is always full of informative discussions and excellent networking opportunities.”

The chance to rub elbows with industry leaders

The more than 300 instructors bring rich and complementary career experience. Approximately half are career educators, while the rest are experienced managers and executives who remain active in the business world. “This allows us to take a two-pronged approach, sharing insights from both academic knowledge and practical experience,” says Lafrance. Students gain an understanding of new concepts, best practices and the current state of affairs on any given topic or issue and then put their new knowledge to use in discussions with a business leader.

UNICON: Taking inspiration from leading schools of management…and inspiring them in return

Executive Education HEC Montréal is a member of the Consortium for University-Based Executive Education (UNICON), which includes the 110 best management schools worldwide. “Through UNICON, we are able to have conversations about academic, technological and content best practices,” says Lafrance, who is also co-president of UNICON’s Benchmarking Committee. “This helps us improve our course offerings and enhance the learning experience for the 9,000 people who develop their skills with us each year.”

Tips to help you make the right choice

In addition to the six certifications and seven condensed programs that are part of Executive Education HEC Montréal’s “Essentials” series, there are more than a hundred short training programs on ten topics:

  • Big data and business intelligence
  • Communication
  • Ethics
  • Finance and accounting
  • Leadership and human resources
  • Management, change and innovation
  • Marketing and sales
  • Operations and logistics
  • Growth strategy
  • Executive leadership

With so many options, it can be a challenge to determine which course will give you the most bang for your buck. Thankfully, Executive Education HEC Montréal has advisors available to direct you to the program that best suits your career plan or your business’s engagement and development needs. “Executive Education HEC Montréal is fully committed to supporting professionals, executives, leaders and businesses in meeting their growth goals,” says Lafrance.

Executive Education HEC Montreal has a lot to offer:

4 ways to learn:
in the classroom, online, on site or as part of a blended approach

100+
short-term courses

300+ instructors
from the higher education and business worlds

450+ businesses
receiving customized training

9,000 executives, professionals, leaders and businesspeople
trained each year

The first school in North America
to receive triple accreditation from AMBA, AACSB and EQUIS

6 certification programs
to help you take things to the next level

Contact us

Executive Education > News > 2021 > Grooming leaders. Growing businesses.