Attending a program at Harvard Business School Executive Education requires stepping away from responsibilities—both in the office and at home—to fully immerse yourself in the learning experience. Recognizing that this can be particularly challenging for our longer Comprehensive Leadership Programs, we integrate on-campus modules with virtual modules to help participants minimize time away from the office and home while still maximizing learning.

With the General Management Program (GMP), we have gone even further to enable a better work, life, and learning balance. Previously, GMP's four modules included two on-campus sessions for a total of seven weeks on campus over the four-month program. Now, participants come to campus just one time, for four weeks—but still benefit from the same rigorous curriculum. Consolidated time on campus makes it easier for participants to plan for their time away and shift their responsibilities as needed at work and home.

We've also incorporated flexibility into GMP's virtual sessions, with two options for Module 2 participation via the HBS Live Online Classroom (LOC). This module, which focuses on the expansion of core knowledge in key areas such as accounting, marketing, and innovation, features a classroom session for all participants from 9:00 to 10:30 AM ET. Participants can then choose which second classroom section they want to attend: Section A, from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM ET, or Section B, from 6:00 to 9:30 PM ET.

This global-friendly schedule allows the program to better cater to participants worldwide, better enables the real-time application of program takeaways, and accommodates the lifestyles of executives today. One participant, Erica Stricker, a senior managing director at CBRE, explains that this option helped her to stay present with her family. "I thought quite long and hard about how I wanted the experience to feel for me and what the integration with my life at home would be like," she says. "I chose Section A so I could spend time with my family in the evenings, which allowed me to prioritize both the program and my family."

Participant Maria Carolina (Caro) Ruiz, who leads the operations performance management team at Point32health, found that Section B enabled her to compartmentalize learning and her day-to-day job. "In the morning, I met with my learning group, participated in the joint session, closed one laptop and opened the other one, worked until 6:00 PM, closed that one laptop and went back to my personal laptop, attended the class session in the HBS Live Online Classroom, and then continued reading at night. It took a lot of discipline, but I put a routine in place that worked for me," she says.

If you've been considering GMP, read our interview with Ruiz, Stricker, and other recent participants to learn how they took advantage of the new module structure to align with their lives. You'll also learn how they managed the balance between work, family, and learning, what the LOC was like, and how they built relationships with other participants. For additional information on the GMP experience, watch The General Management Program Impact video featuring GMP Faculty Chair Stefan Thomke and alumni of the program, who discuss the program's new format.

About the Author

Cassie Meyer is a Marketing Manager for Harvard Business School, Executive Education.