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Executive Programme Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Executive Programme Celebrates 10th Anniversary

A unique New Zealand’s executive development programme—responsible for enhancing the business and leadership skills of over 525 New Zealanders—is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Launched in 1993, The Executive Programme is a joint undertaking between professional services provider Ernst & Young and faculty members of the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, rated as one of the world’s best by the Financial Times of London in a worldwide survey of the top 30 business schools.

According to Harvey Rees-Thomas, National Director of Learning and Development at Ernst & Young, the two-week intensive programme was created to assist outstanding New Zealanders develop their professional skills, and capabilities, to the highest of international standards without having to leave the country.

“This is a unique opportunity to expose budding leaders in the public and private sector to an extraordinary curriculum developed, and taught, by professors with outstanding reputations and credentials.”

“The emphasis is on international content balanced with relevant and ‘real life’ New Zealand material. The latter is achieved formally through the set curricula as well as the opportunity that comes from sharing the ideas and experiences of the diverse group of executives taking part,” he said.

According to Harvey, the impetus behind the original programme concept was to ensure Ernst & Young senior management had the relevant New Zealand and international business understanding, and perspective, to meet client needs.

“In the first instance we sent candidates from our firm overseas for this type of training. Due to cost and time constraints, the opportunities were limited. In order to broaden the possibilities, we explored re-creating an elite management and business training course right here in New Zealand. The experience of some of our partners with overseas training identified the Darden Business School as a possible faculty source and we have been fortunate to have four outstanding individuals from its faculty to teach on our programme.

“Very early on the demand from New Zealand public and private sector for similar training opportunities was identified. Consequently, personalised invitations were sent to a selected number of organisation heads to ‘hand pick’ possible candidates to participate in the programme. From there the Executive Programme has grown to where the limited number of places available are highly sought after and valued,” he said.

As well as the concept, Harvey believes the success of the undertaking has come from the association with Darden and the quality of the faculty involved.

“The people taking part make a very well balanced and complementary team. Their on-going commitment is based on their level of satisfaction at being involved as well as the rapport they have achieved with attendees and the alumni.

“In return the satisfaction level among participants is excellent. In a survey we did last year of alumni 88% said they had high expectations before the course. Upon completion 94% said their expectations had been exceeded,” he said.

Editor’s Note—Profile of Darden Faculty participating in the E&Y Programme

Alan R Beckenstein—Faculty leader of the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration Executive Programme and Professor of Business Administration, University of Virginia. Specialist in global environments, international competitiveness, the changing nature of global business and industrial economics

Elliott N Weiss—Professor of Business Administration and Dean of MBA Education, Darden Graduate School of Business of the University of Virginia. He is the author of numerous articles in the areas of production and operations research.

Geoffrey P Lewis—Faculty Member of the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration and consultant to a number of leading Australasian organisations.

Alec Horniman—Professor of Business Administration, and Senior Fellow in the Olsson Centre for Applied Ethics at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young, a global leader in professional services, employs 106,000 people in more than 140 countries around the globe. Ernst & Young is committed to pursuing the highest levels of integrity, quality, and professionalism to provide clients with solutions based on financial, transactional, and risk-management knowledge in Ernst &Young's core services of audit, tax, and corporate finance.

Further information about Ernst & Young and its approach to a variety of business issues can be found at

Ernst & Young refers to all the members of the global Ernst & Young organisation.


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