Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who participates in these programs?

The Certificate Program is designed for executives, investors, board advisors, board members and other senior business professionals, to arm you with information vital for providing effective oversight on ESG issues in your business or investments, and identify risks (and opportunities!) relating to ESG.

We divide participants into two groups - one for Board Members, and one for Business Professionals and Investors – because these groups approach oversight and view risk from different perspectives.  If you’re not sure which group you fit into, we’ll help you select the most appropriate.

Who can register for the Self-Study Program?

The Self-Study program is for either Board Directors or Business Professionals and can be started at any time. You have six months to complete the Self-Study Program.

Is there a deadline to register for the interactive program?

We recommend registering as soon as possible as our programs do sell out. If the Cohort you are hoping to join is full, you can choose to join the waitlist, or register for the next available Cohort with advance access to the preparatory materials.

What is included in each of the three program options?

The chart below best highlights what is included in the interactive vs. self-study programs:

What is the difference between the Certificate Program for Board Members and the Certificate Program for Business Professionals?

The content in both programs is identical. The difference between the programs is the peer group you will join during the interactive sessions and the lens through which the topics are discussed during the interactive sessions. 

This means that in the program for Board Members you would join a group of global board members and primarily discuss the topics through the lens of serving on the board during the interactive sessions. 

In the program for Business Professionals, you would join a group of global executives, investors, board advisors and prospective board members (among other senior business professionals) and discuss the topics through the lens of advising boards, amongst a wide range of perspectives. 

How many participants are in each interactive program?

We aim for 35 participants to ensure the size of the group is optimal for networking, but not so large that you can’t ask your questions during the interactive sessions.

Is there preparation required before the interactive sessions?

For each module/topic we send out a set of preparation materials 2 weeks ahead of each session that consist of a strategic series of interview videos with global leaders on their views and advice, a case study, a curated list of recommended readings and tools, and a list of questions to help you assess where your organization stands. These materials feature our 100+ contributors and tools.

What is the time commitment for the programs?

Each interactive session is 1.5 hours in length and held bi-weekly. There is also an option to join the session 15 minutes early and/or stay 15 minutes late to network further with the group. 

The time taken to review the preparation material can vary from 1.5 - 6 hours per session depending on the topic and how much time you want to spend. It is not required to review all recommended readings, and you have an option to increase the speed of the videos if you would prefer to view them more quickly. We do suggest that you set aside a minimum of 90 minutes to review the materials per session.

Will the interactive online sessions be held under Chatham House Rule?

Yes. When a meeting is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.

What happens if I miss an interactive session?

You can miss up to four sessions of the program and still obtain the Certificate and Designation upon completion of the program. For the sessions you miss, you will be sent the session recordings (to a maximum of four).

Is there a final exam?

Upon completion of the sessions, there will be an oral evaluation based on a final case study to practice and wrap-up what you have learned from the program.

Are there alumni perks?

Alumni can network with other alumni in our Competent Boards Alumni LinkedIn groups. We also offer alumni special invites to events, alumni update sessions, mentoring opportunities, webinars and much more.

How often are the courses offered?

The interactive programs are currently offered three times per year with cohorts starting in September, February and May. Our Self-Study program is available to start at any time.

What makes the ESG Competent Boards Certificate Program different from other programs?

In general, the differences between our program and other programs include:

  • Several programs are focused on sustainable business strategy, but are not designed from the lens of good corporate governance and/or designed for senior business leaders to provide oversight on these issues and identify risks and opportunities.
  • Our program caters to global participants and the content is not focused on any particular region. Many programs for board directors are focused more locally, but our global focus allows for you to gain a diverse range of perspectives and better understand how ESG is evolving in a global business context. 
  • Our interactive program provides the opportunity to learn from other global board members/business professionals in bi-weekly interactive online Zoom sessions. Many ESG programs are solely provided as a 'self-study' program, or are in large groups/webinar format, but in our online sessions you can hear directly from these renowned leaders, discuss real-life case studies, ask questions, network and benchmark your views. 
  • This program is focused on a wide array of ESG/sustainability topics including human rights, diversity, cybersecurity, climate, supply chain, the sustainable development goals, etc. This provides a strong overview of all aspects of ESG, which is becoming increasingly important at the board table, and for senior management and stakeholders. Many programs do not cover the variety of topics we do, and our alumni have attested to how our program has opened their mind and enhanced their perspective on all facets of ESG. 
  • We have a wide variety of 100+ renowned international board members, executives, and experts contributing to our materials, providing interview videos, and joining our sessions to speak directly with participants. We have not seen any other program pull insight from this many world-renowned leaders. 
What is the designation you receive with the interactive program?

The Global Competent Boards Designation (GCB.D) is a designation provided in addition to a Certificate of Completion to those who complete the full interactive program. This designation recognizes the knowledge and skill gained through active participation in the 12 online global dialogue sessions including chairing case study groups and presenting feedback discussed, which is not included in the self-study program. By having the designation right after your name on LinkedIn and on your email signature, you will also signal your enhanced knowledge. We have heard from those with the designation that it spurs interest and opens doors for new positions, and many of our alumni have reported the value of it.

How long do you have access to the Competent Boards learning management platform?

Once you complete the program and receive your Certificate, your access to the learning management platform will expire. We encourage you to remain active in Competent Boards’ LinkedIn groups, and/or consider joining our Alumni Program for ongoing networking with your peers. Our Alumni tell us the peer interaction is one of the most valuable parts of the program!

Will the program ever be conducted in-person?

We do not foresee conducting the program in-person as this would make it more time consuming and expensive for both our global speakers and participants to join the interactive sessions, which is a valuable and unique aspect of our program.

What languages are your programs offered in?

We currently offer our courses in English, and have participants joining us from all over the world.

Is there a dress code?

As all sessions are held online via Zoom, there is no specific dress code, although business casual dress attire is typical.

What do alumni say about the program?

Please see alumni feedback at the web page here.

What is the refund policy?

For the interactive program, refunds will be provided for cancellations received in writing to info@competentboards.com no later than 30 days prior to the course start date with a 7.5% administration fee (plus applicable taxes). Non-attendance will incur the full course fee. 

For the interactive program with advance access to the self-study material, and for the self-study program, no refunds will be issued.