As you proceed in your career, you may reach a juncture where you run up against gaps in your skills and knowledge. To overcome business challenges and continue to advance in the organization, you will need to build new abilities, expand your perspective, and strengthen your leadership skills. The HBS Executive Education Certificate of Management Excellence (CME) is designed to help you achieve these goals.

The CME recognizes executives who have expanded their knowledge and skills by completing three HBS Executive Education programs in three different categories: strategy, negotiation and innovation, and leadership.

HBS has curated a set of programs that provide core knowledge in these areas. You choose from several program options in each category to create a three-year learning path that is right for you. This approach delivers critical flexibility, as you can tailor your program choices to meet your needs and those of your business.

While any executive is invited to pursue a CME, it can be particularly valuable for mid- to senior-level executives with 10 to 15 years of professional experience. For executives at this career stage, the certificate program provides an important structure for well-rounded professional development.

Just as important, the three-year timespan for completion creates essential momentum. Faced with the rigorous demands of day-to-day work, many executives delay pursuing executive education, thinking to themselves, "I’ll just do it next year, when things settle down." Commitment to the CME, however, propels the learning—and your career development—forward.


Executives who have pursued the certificate have found that each program they complete delivers a strong return on investment. For example, Heba Elshalakany, who works at Banque Misr in Egypt, shares, "Some of the programs were life-changing—not only on a professional level but also on a personal level. HBS programs enhance your skills as well as help you discover your purpose, think outside the box, and explore your abilities. They help you realize that certain skills have to be learned; they're not innate gifts."

Laina Chan of Selborne Chambers in Australia, says, "The CME has far exceeded my expectations. The three programs work very well together and have enhanced my skills as a negotiator, a team leader, and a board member."

To take advantage of the CME experience like Heba and Laina, you can start by creating a Statement of Intent, in which you explain your reason for pursuing the certificate. HBS Executive Education program advisors can provide you with the Statement of Intent form and answer any questions you might have about the CME. They can also help you develop your three-program curriculum plan.

The next step is to apply to and be accepted into your first program. If you have already completed one or more qualifying HBS Executive Education programs, you can count them toward your certificate, but keep in mind that to qualify for the CME, all three programs must be completed within a 36-month timeframe.

To learn more, review the Certificate of Management Excellence overview. You can also learn more about the CME in participant stories featuring Heba Elshakany and Laina Chan.

If you are a board director, you may be interested in our Corporate Director Certificate (CDC), designed to accelerate skills in the areas of board leadership, financial reporting oversight and internal control, and executive compensation.

About the Author

Emily Cagwin is the Director of Participant Marketing for Harvard Business School, Executive Education.