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Senior Executive Curriculum - Africa


The Senior Executive Program—Africa is designed to help you grow as a leader while minimizing time away from work. Emphasizing business challenges of greatest relevance to leaders in African markets, the curriculum examines the real-life experiences of executives from Africa and around the world to illuminate best practices in management and leadership.

What You Will Learn

The Senior Executive Program—Africa is designed to help you grow as a leader while minimizing time away from work. Emphasizing business challenges of greatest relevance to leaders in African markets, the curriculum examines the real-life experiences of executives from Africa and around the world to illuminate best practices in management and leadership.

Participants should expect to spend at least 30-35 hours on self-paced case preparation prior to attending Module 1 of the program. Case materials will be made available approximately two weeks prior to program start.

Program Format

The program includes three modules over five months. The intensive in-person Module 1 takes place at a different site within Africa each year, and includes a focus on strategy, innovation, and leadership through networking, faculty presentations, and simulations. During Module 2, you will address an important business challenge facing your organization and hone your problem-solving skills. This time back at your organization also provides the opportunity to begin incorporating new strategies and tactics immediately.

The intensive in-person Module 3 on the United States Institute of Leadership and Diplomacy campus combines case studies, presentations from both USILD faculty and University partners faculty, dynamic classroom discussions, small group exercises, and guest speakers. Throughout the program, you will also have ample opportunity for interaction with faculty and peers inside and outside the class sessions.

Collaborative learning is an integral part of the experience. To maximize the benefit for everyone, you are expected to attend every session, complete all assignments, and contribute effectively in the class and in small groups.

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Module Details

Module 1: Strategy, digital innovation, and leadership

Format: In-Person

A sound strategy is what constitute the primary core for business success—one based on a clear-sighted understanding of your firm's capabilities and competitive dynamics. This module will focus on the changing nature of doing business in the digital era and how to innovate with digital strategies in mind. You will learn how companies deliver value to their customers and evolve their offerings to sustain competitive advantage. As you discover new ways to revitalize your strategy, you will explore approaches for creating a new digital business, disrupting your current business with digital strategies, and refreshing and reinventing the business you started with. You will also learn how to evolve your leadership style in ways that enhance your organization's success. Other key topics include:

  • Creating superior customer value

  • Choosing your market position

  • Designing corporate strategy in a multi-business organization

  • Crafting digital strategies

  • Aligning product and service innovation plans with business strategy

  • Building and leading high-performance teams

  • Understanding leadership within an African context

  • Maximizing the contributions of top talent

Module 2: Independent learning and work on Big Business Challenge Project

Format:  Self-Paced, at home and in your workplace

During this module, you will:

  • Complete an online course, Design Thinking and Innovation. In this course, you will learn how to leverage fundamental design thinking principles and innovative problem-solving tools to address business challenges and build products, strategies, teams, and environments for optimal use and performance. The take-aways from this course will help you in your Big Business Challenge Project.

  • Work on your Big Business Challenge Project. Before attending Module 1, you should identify a business challenge faced by your organization, such as market evolution, problems with your business strategy, or executional difficulties. (Upon acceptance to the program, you will receive information to help you select your challenge.) During Module 2, you will work to develop a plan to address this challenge. A project reviewer is available to help you strengthen your plan.

  • Apply program learning in your workplace. Test new leadership and business management knowledge acquired during Module 1, reflect on the results, and gather insights and questions to share with faculty and peers.

Module 3: Thinking globally, driving local and regional growth, and sustaining success

Format:  In-Person, Usild Campus, Maryland, and DC Metropolitan Areas, U.S.

Collaborating with peers and faculty in DC, you will examine a new realm of leadership topics and gain a deeper understanding of the connections among businesses, governments, and the international economy.


Key topics include:

  • Competing in the global economy and understanding trends that will impact African businesses

  • Choosing an optimal path for growth

  • Recognizing and addressing institutional voids

  • Serving the bottom of the pyramid in diverse African markets

  • Building effective partnerships and financing major projects

  • Creating a sustainable organization through improved approaches to governance and leadership development

  • Measuring and communicating performance

  • Navigating corporate finance and expanding your knowledge of financial markets, institutions, and instruments

  • Connecting with consumers by leveraging the power of marketing

During Module 3, you will also present the results of your Big Business Challenge Project to faculty and peers, using their feedback to refine your action plan and prepare to execute it.

Special Features

Discussion group work

The strategic dimension associated with the  SE program for Africa modules creates the opportunity to build close, trusting relationships with a small group of peer executives who can understand your challenges—but are not part of your organization. Throughout the program, you will work with a small group of peers who will stimulate your learning as you:

  • Absorb global insights by working with executives from different countries, cultures, and professional backgrounds

  • Share diverse perspectives as you discuss cases and assignments

  • Complete small group exercises as a team

  • Give and receive feedback and advice—personal and professional—in a safe environment


Being a USILD student place you in a position of being challenged to share common space with your living, and discussion group, forging relationships that serve as a valuable source of peer feedback, support, and advice.

Business Challenge Project

You will work on a practical plan for addressing a major business challenge confronting your organization. This exercise will enable you to:

  • Transform your learning into meaningful action for your business

  • Improve your skills at articulating an issue to peers and soliciting their input

  • Identify and prepare for potential roadblocks and leadership challenges that may arise as you work to implement your plan

  • Learn a methodology that will help you address future challenges faced by your organization

Ongoing support and networking

Your connection to USILD  will continue long after the program ends, providing exclusive access to information that can help you continue to develop as a leader, expand your network, and sustain your company's success.


Upon completion of the program, you will receive:

  • A complimentary subscription to Harvard Business Review

  • Membership in USILD online communities through which you can exchange business ideas

  • Periodic emails from USILD Working Knowledge, offering you a first look at cutting-edge thinking from USILD faculty

  • Certificate of completion from the Usild Senior Executive Education Senior, program for Executive Leadership —Africa

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