Could a week at the LSE make a difference to your career in finance?

March 5, 2015

I am always puzzled by the disconnect that exists between the training that finance executives receive, and their actual needs. MBA and M.Sc. programs train participants in financial economics and the use of financial models. This gives them the technical competence to do the day-to-day job in a bank or a fund. But while competence gives participants access into finance, anyone who’s sat on a trading room for more than a day will agree that getting ahead is not a matter of technical skill but of fitting in with the culture, having powerful allies, or mentors. Whether it is getting a promotion, being put in charge or wielding political influence, it is the soft skills that make the difference. And yet, these are nowhere to be seen in higher education in finance. With this in mind, I have assembled a one-week Executive Summer School course at the London School of Economics that addresses the gap.

The course, titled “Leadership in Financial Institutions,” incorporates training in the tools developed by sociologists and psychologists to advance a managerial career. Culture, leadership, communication, social responsibility, just to name a few. But whereas all executive management courses include these topics, the LSE course teaches with tools, cases and theories in financial settings. The difference is critical, because when it comes to learning context matters. Managing a five-people tech start-up is not the same as running a hedge fund with five employees and two billion in assets under management. Being a senior executive at Procter is not the same as managing director at Goldman. And the same goes for a learning situation. For that reason, the course focuses on bank culture, managing traders, networking in banking, communicating with shareholders, and navigating the tension between responsible investment and fiduciary duty… you get the picture.

To this end, the course brings together academics from various departments at the LSE. These include Michael Power, Professor of Accounting and renowned expert on risk. Paul Willman, Professor of Management and author of behavioral studies of traders for more than fifteen years. Sandy Pepper, Professor of Practice in Management with long professional experience in remuneration practices in the City. Connson Locke, Professor of Practice and founder of the LSE’s Behavioral Lab as well as leadership expert. And of course, yours truly. The course is aimed at executives. Runs for a week, starting on June 22nd, and registration is still open. See more details HERE. We’re having our Open Evening this coming Wednesday March 11th at the LSE. The entire faculty will be there to answer questions and meet potential applicants. I’ll be giving a presentation on my research, and there will be drinks and nibbles. Entrance is free. See more information HERE.

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