Business leaders need to be experts in their fields — but they can certainly benefit from skill and knowledge in other disciplines. Executives who continue to engage in education throughout their careers are working to increase their capabilities, allowing them to develop successful strategies regardless of existing challenges in the business environment.

While traditional business courses can contain valuable information and insights that improve executive performance and boost career success, here are a few unconventional courses that nonetheless provide advantages to ambitious and eager business leaders.

Futurism

Futurism is defined as a preoccupation with the future, but lately, it has become a popular field of study, as experts analyze existing and emerging technologies and make realistic predictions regarding future developments.

Business leaders would do well to think like futurists, as the ability to accurately predict trends — to include major cultural elements like modes of operation and ways of being — will all but ensure successful strategizing as the future unfolds. Courses on futurism can help executives develop the techniques for analyzing existing trends and tech to make better decisions into the future.

Strategic Intuition

Building a strong business strategy requires almost equal parts information gathering and intuition. Thanks to the rise of data science, many business leaders have plenty of information at their fingertips, but few are adept at harnessing the power of their gut feelings to guide them to business success. Many courses on strategic intuition involve studying early strategy literature, such as Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” and analyzing how sudden insights occur. 

Luxury Marketing

Most luxury brands are built not on high-quality products or services but on branding alone. Though many businesses do not benefit from entering the luxury space, understanding how luxury marketing works can be beneficial to business leaders eager to make their products look and feel exclusive and deluxe. Luxury marketing courses often provide valuable insight into the luxury sector, to include the likely future of luxury, so business leaders can build strategies to capitalize on emerging trends.

Agribusiness

The global food industry is massive and, as such, it impacts almost every other industry in some way. While most agribusiness courses are designed for business leaders working in agriculture, they can provide endlessly valuable insights to executives involved in consulting or investment banking.

Improvisation

It is important for business leaders to be practiced at meticulous and careful thought, to ensure that they make considerate and effective decisions. However, it is equally important for business leaders to be adept at thinking on their feet. Improv classes are fun ways to practice quick thinking, which usually involves working with others who are also being challenged to think and act fast. If comedy improv is not appealing to the serious-minded business leader, they might consider courses on improvisational leadership, instead.

Neuroscience

The brain is a mysterious box that humankind is only just beginning to unlock — thanks to neuroscience research. Neuroscientists understand with greater clarity how the human mind makes decisions, manages behaviors, maintains productivity and stores information. By participating in a neuroscience course online, business leaders can learn how to leverage neuroscientific breakthroughs to design more effective marketing, customer service, workplaces, employee teams and more.

Nobel Thinking

All Nobel prize winners have at least one thing in common: They had an unconventional idea that they pursued to success. Though many business leaders are risk-takers, few are adept in the type of groundbreaking ideation that leads to a Nobel prize. Courses on Nobel thinking tend to explore the processes that lead to winning a Nobel prize, which can be useful to business leaders who need to innovate to survive in their industries.

Creativity

Many business leaders today focus intently on developing analytical skills that can facilitate stronger decision making in the workplace, but the truth is that creative skills can be just as critical for solving problems. There are many different types of courses business leaders might engage in to develop creativity, from hands-on creative work like painting and sculpting to more cognitive creative practice like writing or lateral thinking.

A business leader does not need to spend every waking hour mastering every skill on Earth, but expanding their knowledge and abilities beyond the narrow field of business leadership can be valuable practice that adds to their competence in the workplace.