The Executive Development Program (EDP) was delivered for the first time in a hybrid format, consisting of live virtual sessions during July, August and September, as well as in-person sessions in November 2021. The EDP was an intense and exciting learning journey. The syllabus incorporated over 60 hours of interactive sessions led by more than 15 leading academic and successful practitioners (including guest speakers from Google, Uber, Salesforce and other major companies’ current and former executives).
Diverse business perspectives and discussions combined with carefully balanced management topics have exceeded everyone’s expectations including mine, resulting in a truly immersive experience.
Speaking of topics, among the covered issues were reflections on relevant business technical subjects and trends in finance, marketing, strategy, supply chain, negotiations, and many more, through a leadership perspective. Furthermore, soft skills development and the latest practical leadership advice were prevailing, all packed in a most up-to-date relevant format with real case studies (with inclusion of the actual persons involved). Trending topics, such as artificial intelligence and the future of education, were covered in a practical format – with potential application on the job.
The online format of the first part of the program meant that, given the time difference, my day had already started long before the sessions. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, I was positively surprised that the sessions managed to keep a high level of focus, as they included interactions and incredibly interesting topics for discussion, despite all possible distractions in the “new normal” that is the online world we live in nowadays.
On campus, the experience felt as if it lasted for much more than just one and a half weeks. In-person sessions, combined with experiencing USA as a culture, as well as the diversity of attendees, had and will have a long lasting significant positive impact on my personal development. Strong bonds were created among participants that will last in the future, enabling sharing of experiences among the group.
In this regard, my key takeaways are focusing on becoming the best version of myself by pursuing value-based leadership and self-reflection in order to improve quality of all life and business aspects around – bonding with friends and family, and enabling sustainable growth of the organization I am working for. On top of this, I aim to contribute further to strengthening the knowledge base, skills and performance of Macedonian business leaders – ultimately striving for accelerated growth and development of the Macedonian economy by using sustainable practices as in the case of the USA, whilst respecting diversity and encouraging business breakthroughs.
The motivation and influence I could pursue, striving to develop my further leadership potential and that of other people around me, including youths in the country, is another major takeaway for me. The third takeaway worth mentioning is the practical application of methods used in shaping the future of business of the company and country itself (through design thinking, discovery workshops and raising the right questions to add value in strategic decisions).
Based on this, whenever I reflect on the complete program and experience, the first thing that comes to mind are these words: “world class education”.
I would define the program as a once in a lifetime experience – there is uniqueness on all possible dimensions: timing, group diversity, and networking, especially the topics covered and the excellent delivery of the program. Therefore, I am immensely proud to have been a participant, thanks to Mike Zafirovski, Macedonia2025, and the organization I work for, KOSTAL.
It is a huge challenge to describe the complete experience into few paragraphs, as this is one of those life moments that someone needs to actually live through. I am sure of at least one thing – this program will surely keep me energized for an extended period of time, as the topics and discussions cover much beyond relevant technical and leadership matters, involving timeless thinking and practical guidance that can be adopted and applied to any circumstance in everyday work and life activities.
I highly recommend the program to anyone that seeks career development and is committed to lifelong learning, as this program unlocks true leadership potential.