Advanced Certificate in Executive Search & Leadership Consulting

Program Overview

Experience a Dynamic Learning Environment

This six month MBA-level virtual certificate program is designed exclusively for senior-level Executive Search and Leadership Consultants. The program takes participants through a rigorous learning experience by applying cutting edge theory and industry best practices to their client assignments. Cornell University’s ILR School professors will take an integrated approach to teaching, which will include virtual lectures, interactive learning, group activities and case studies.

A World-Renowned Partner in Executive Education

Cornell’s ILR School, with its exceptional faculty of leading scholars in management and leadership issues, is uniquely positioned to provide insights into the challenges facing today’s business organizations.

The next AESC & Cornell Session will begin in January 2019. 

For information or registration inquiries, please contact Brian Glade at



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The following organizations have participated in the program:

Abrahams Executive Search, Accord Group/Alto Partners, ACH ConsultantsAlberta Corporate Human Resources, Amrop, Aplin Executive, Big Break Consulting, BluEra, BoardWalk Consulting, Boyden, Buffkin/Baker, BuysideResources Inc., CA Technologies, Capstone Partnership, CareerSMITH, Contevenca, Davidson Recruitment, ECS Partners International, Executive Access, The Executive Source, Executive Source Partners, Fesa, Fitco - Consulting Pte Ltd, Fortune Hill Executive Search, Harvard Group International, Heidrick & Struggles, Helbling and Associates, Inc., Hightech Partners, Hobson Leavy, Hodges Partners, IMS Talent Ltd, InTell Executive Search, Invesco TRANSEARCH, IRC, IRG Executive Search, Jebsen & Jessen, Dr. Bjørn Johansson Associate, Kast & Partners, Kerridge & Partners, Kincannon & Reed, Korn Ferry, Krebs, Lock Search Group, Lordstone Corporation, Mandrake, McIntyre Global Executive Search, Merc Partners, Metin Mitchell, Michael Berglund, OC Executive Search, Odgers Berndtson, Omera Partners, Osser & Osser, Preng & Associates, Progress Residential, Raines International, RGF Executive Search, RSR Partners, Saxton Bampfylde, Silvester & Co, Slayton Search Partners, Sockwell Partners, Spencer Stuart, Stanton Chase, Stratos Executive Search, Sullivan Search, Teampeople, TRANSEARCH, TriVista Recruitment, Tyler & Company, UTMB Health/The University of Texas Medical Branch, Ward Howell, Witt/Kieffer

Course Topics

Aligning HR to Business Strategy

To produce superior results, HR must be aligned with the value-creation model of the broader organization. Develop skills to assess how organizations create value and how talent strategy can advance that strategy.

Business Strategy and Innovation

Organizations are faced with the ever-evolving challenge of how to innovate quickly, effectively and in a way that drives organizational success. Over a series of courses, Cornell faculty will discuss how organizations are approaching this challenge, how it is impacting the employee experience, and how leaders can support a culture of innovation.


Consultants will share perspectives on diversity and inclusion and study examples of how leading organizations have made the shift to inclusion at organizational, managerial, and work group levels in an effort to fully engage employees, partners and customers to be more competitive globally.


Gain an understanding of how a firm manages its leadership pipeline and how talent is being managed and developed globally to quickly understand the primary approach that a company has adopted and how that may affect their options in the talent marketplace.


Learn how executive assessment is typically used in leading firms, how those evaluations affect career progression, and the pitfalls to avoid when these processes are poorly handled. Popular assessment options will be examined to determine how they could be weighed by the client firm and how to interpret results fairly.

NEGOTIATIONS Tools and Techniques

Learn some of the most successful frameworks and practices for complex, multi-party negotiations to arrive at successful outcomes by understanding how to balance often competing goals with integrity and insight. Engage in learning exercises that will yield valuable insights to apply in everyday practice.


Learn key considerations pertaining to total rewards, and provide a framework to understand an executive compensation package, negotiating points, and opportunities to analyze marketplace alternatives.


Learn how to advance meaningful business relationships through deep client understanding and demonstrated expertise. Strengthen rapport, increase the collaborative nature of client interactions, and produce high impact results.

Transformative Leadership: Building Personal Leadership Capability

Author and Global Leader of CEO and Executive Development, Korn Ferry, Kevin Cashman will explore the premise that one must grow the whole person to grow the whole leader. Through stories and exercises, participants will receive guidance on developing courage, authenticity, purpose, agility and contribution to sustain high performance and value creation.

Leadership Consulting

This session will review key elements to consider when designing impactful leadership consulting solutions. Case examples and experiences of both individual leadership consultants and organizations will be explored.

Cornell Faculty

  • Bradford Bell

    Associate Professor

  • Diane Burton

    Associate Professor, Human Resource Studies, Cornell University

  • Christopher Collins

    Associate Professor and Director, CAHRS, Cornell University

  • Laura Georgianna

    Executive Director, Leadership Programs and Director, Roy H. Park Leadership Fellows at Cornell SC Johnson College of Business

  • John Hausknecht

    Associate Professor, Human Resource Studies, Cornell University

  • Lisa Nishli

    Associate Professor and Chair of ILR International Programs

  • Stephanie Thomas

    Lecturer, Department of Economics, Cornell University


Who Should Enroll?

The program is designed for senior-level Executive Search and Leadership Consultants. If you are looking to advance your skills as a trusted advisor and move your business forward, this program will be an excellent choice in helping you navigate your future course. AESC will review each applicant’s experience to maintain the appropriate level of participants in the program.

What is new for the program?

The program was offered in a state-of-the art virtual learning environment for the first time in 2016, offering enhanced access to more AESC members worldwide. The program will also feature a greater focus on leadership consulting, offering participants in-depth insights and actionable practices to expand or strengthen their leadership consulting services.

How is the Content Delivered?

The program is delivered over six months. Individual courses will be offered each month in a live virtual format. The live sessions will require a 4 hour time commitment and you should expect to spend another 2-3 hours a month on self-study that will include readings and assignments.

When does the next Program Begin?

The next program will begin globally in January 2019. 

What are the technology requirements?

A reliable wired internet connection and a computer with speakers is required.

How much interaction will there be with the faculty and other participants?

During each class session you will have the opportunity to chat with faculty virtually and to interact with other participants. In addition to the live chat functionality you will also be asked to participate in online discussion forums. Throughout the program there will be other opportunities to work in groups and to collaborate with colleagues offline.

What happens if I am unable to attend a session?

You should make every effort to attend the live virtual sessions since this is the best way to stay engaged and participate in the group discussions, however in the event that you cannot attend due to a conflict, the sessions will be recorded, and you will have the ability to view them beginning a day after the live virtual event.

Are there any admission requirements?

This program is designed for consultants from AESC member and qualified nonmember firms. There is an expectation that you are actively engaged and have at least 10 years' professional experience, including time as a search consultant. Consultants that are new to the profession are not eligible to enroll in the program.

Will participants be tested or graded?

Throughout the program, live polls and homework assignments will test your comprehension of the course materials.

What type of credential will I receive upon completion of the program?

You must complete the program requirements in order to earn a certificate from the AESC and Cornell ILR School. The AESC will visibly promote the value of the certification to its members and the client community.

What are past participants saying about the program?

"The AESC-Cornell program enables us to better support our clients. The clients' benefit is the goal. The personal growth is a bonus."

- Alicia Hasell, Managing Partner, Boyden

"The Cornell-AESC Advanced Certificate in Executive Search and Leadership Consulting program was a valuable part of my development as a search consultant and one that I would recommend to others in the field. The topics were both relevant and tangential to business issues that I regularly confront, and the instructors bring a good balance of real world experience and teaching capability to the program. Having a chance to interact with an engaged peer group that represented a broad spectrum of experiences and cultures was particularly valuable. "

- John Sparrow, Director, BoardWalk Consulting

"This program helped me not only to understand the change in clients’ needs towards advice in strategic talent analysis and management but also equipped with all necessary knowledge and tools to add value to the clients."

- Igor Kabuzenko, Managing Partner, Ward Howell

Pricing & Inquiries 

Early Bird Deadline: September 14. Registration Deadline: November 30.

AESC Member: $7,000 Early Bird / $7,500 Standard 

Nonmember: $8,000 Early Bird / $8,500 Standard 

AESC Member Group Rate (2 or more from the same firm or network): $7,000

Nonmember Group Rate (2 or more from the same firm or network): $8,000

The next AESC & Cornell Session will begin in January 2019. 

For information or registration inquiries, please contact Brian Glade at