March 22, 2013 8:47 am

Aspiring corporate leaders get military know-how

SANDHURST, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 14: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Sword of Honour winner Senior Under Officer Sarah Hunter-Choat (c) takes part in the Sovereign's Parade at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on December 14, 2012 in Sandhurst, England. The parade marks the completion of 44 weeks of training for 200 young people who will be commissioned into the British Army and the armies of 13 overseas countries. Senior Under Officer Sarah Hunter-Choat became the fourth woman in the Royal Military Academy's history to receive the prestigious Sword of Honour which is awarded to the best Officer Cadet on the course.©Getty

The pen is mightier than the sword, they say. But both are to help high-flying managers get a leg-up to the boardroom.

Cass Business School at London’s City University has joined forces with the Inspirational Development Group (IDG), a training company, and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, to teach an MSc in Leadership.

The programme, which will start in September, has a different focus from most leadership training, says Colin Carnall, director of executive education at Cass. “A lot of what passes as leadership is too focused on personality and individual performance,” he says. “Actual leadership is about judgement.”

The MSc in Leadership will be influenced by the sort of decision-making frameworks that are taught at Sandhurst, says Stephen Bennett, chief executive of IDG, which has been partners with Sandhurst for the past 12 years. One study trip, for example, will be to the battle fields of Normandy, says Mr Carnall. “It puts you in the position where people had to make major decisions.”

Unlike a traditional Executive MBA programme, the degree will also teach the business knowledge needed for managers destined for the corporate board. And the teaching style will depend on practical exercises - or “experiential” learning - rather than the more academic teaching style of traditional MBA programmes.

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The course will depend on each participant assessing themselves and their peers across a range of skills, or competencies, with the help of academics from the teaching organisations involved.

The two-year part-time course will be taught partly at Cass in the City and partly at Sandhurst, the British Army’s leadership academy in Surrey. There will be 18 workshops, each of two days in length, taught over a period of two years. The initial plan is for the programme to be run with a consortium of companies, with each company sending between four and six of its senior managers to each intake of up to 24 participants.

In spite of its military overtones, the programme designers hope to attract an equal number of men and women to the programme. “It’s not just for boys,” says Mr Carnall. “The programme will have failed if that happens.”

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