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Higher Learning

A crash course on executive education programs.

Fifteen years ago, Chuck Krueger taught his first executive education seminar at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. That day, he overheard something he's never forgotten.

Three of his students--two from blue-chip corporations and one an entrepreneur--were shooting the breeze before the first class meeting. The small-business owner commented that it was easy for big businesses to send their employees to expensive executive education classes like the one at hand. After all, the small-business owner said, big, profitable companies can afford such luxuries. One of the big-business attendees looked at the entrepreneur and replied, "You think we got big and profitable and successful and then started developing our people?"

Investing in continuing education is how small businesses get bigger, and attending executive education classes is no longer a luxury reserved for the wealthiest of corporations. In fact, today's entrepreneurs--leaders of some of the smallest yet most lucrative businesses around--are beginning to see the advantage of taking courses that enrich their understanding of basic busi-
ness principles and fine-tune their knowledge in specific areas, such as marketing, sales and finance. And
although the moniker "executive education" may belie the usefulness of
the courses to businesspeople other than the big-shot executive variety, these misconceptions are clearing up faster than you can say "Enroll me."

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This article was originally published in the August 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Higher Learning.

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