Alison McQuater, Programme Director

June 2018 saw another successful programme delivered to a group of highly-enthused participants.  From my perspective as programme director, this group was amongst the most engaged, articulate and lively groups we have had the privilege to work with. Most groups take several days to ‘bond’ and generate their unique group dynamic: this year it happened much faster, helped in part by re-designing the day presenting their ‘challenges’, making it much more active, conversational and fluid.

Over the last five years we have strengthened and extended the leadership skills aspects of the course, and this has been really well-received by the participants: a consistent message we hear from them is that ‘the soft skills are the really hard skills’- i.e. the technical parts of their job are far easier to master (and there are more sources of help available) than the interpersonal, leadership, negotiation and political skills.  This is therefore such an important aspect of the programme and our evaluation questionnaire does not necessarily capture this.

Thinking about the road ahead for the main programme I see several opportunities for strengthening and enhancing the main programme content including:

  • More on the big picture context: the systemic links between regulation, financial sector health, public policy and economic growth,
  • Clearly we need to include material and experts on Fintech as this is one of the biggest challenges facing the sector;
  • More on outcome-related thinking: my observation over the years is that all our participants have difficulty in thinking in terms of outcomes rather than process: this is hampering their ability to address the specific challenges they bring to the programme but also their effectiveness in their day to day roles, particularly in influencing senior stakeholders and shaping strategic decisions,
  • Reviewing the current streaming of part of the course into ‘regulatory’ and ‘non-regulatory’ topics: there are arguments for covering more in-depth content relevant to one or other, but this needs to be balanced with the integration/systemic overview mentioned above,
  • Finally, but very importantly, I have become very conscious that our faculty team does not reflect the diversity we would like: gender, nationality, background. We need to address this urgently, and as there are a few topics we plan to revise for 2019 there is an opportunity to bring in new faculty.

In terms of follow up to the programme, one lesson from the 2018 cohort is that WhatsApp and other social media can be powerful mechanisms for sustaining contact with and amongst the alumni.  These channels could also be a way of providing information on emerging ideas, research, articles of interest etc.: if we use these media wisely, they could be a rich communication channel for sustaining the flow of value to the alumni community.  It could also be a means of gathering post-programme feedback on impact and benefit realisation.

The programme is in great shape and must continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of the sector and target audience