Global C-Suite Program sharpens skills to meet present business needs


DUBAI — A veteran in the industry, Jimmy Durkan has been there and done everything. He’s lived in 4 continents, relocated 15 times across 12 countries, and traveled to over 28 countries around the globe. He has 30+ years of professional experience in financial control, risk management, and change management, and has supported the turn-around of various multi-national companies across numerous industries and markets.

With Jimmy’s extensive experience, expertise and vast knowledge in business and finance, as well as being in an advanced stage of his career, there’s no reason for him to participate in the Global C-suite Business & Finance Program, or put himself through an intensive study program. So, why did he do it? “I was looking for a suitable course for members of my staff to take that would benefit their professional development and deliver a professional accreditation with an acknowledged accounting body,” he reveals. “While speaking with different accounting bodies, the Associate Director for the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan chapter of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants introduced the program to me.”

“I decided to participate in the program to understand how it was delivered and to understand the benefits it would provide, and at the same time to understand the study effort required and the difficulty to pass. Basically, I wanted to understand what benefit might accrue to the company for sponsoring individuals to participate and the amount of support they would require to pass, while also performing in their day jobs,” he elaborates.

Stepping into the shoes of a program candidate, Jimmy went through the entire process, from A to Z.

“You have to be balanced going into the program - and make sure you're focusing on your learnings and experiences to demonstrate that you can pull all of your foundation stuff together and deliver practical and relevant insights to the senior management you're reporting back to. I saw people getting lost in trying to learn all the theory again. But that's not the purpose of the programme, is it? It's about demonstrating that you can pull all the theory together and present it in a clear, concise and compelling manner.”

“Some people say you must write so many words; if you don't write so many words, you won't pass. That’s not true. In order to succeed, you need to possess the ability to understand the exam question, keep close to the question and communicate your answer clearly. In real-life, senior executives receive a significant volume of emails each day. So, in order to make a point and pique that person’s interest you need to be clear and concise,” he adds.

Having experienced the program first-hand, Jimmy says with confidence, “I think the program is highly beneficial, especially to people who are in the prime of their career and people in executive roles. The program provides a refresher on theory previously learned while completing under or post- graduate training; it can emphasize how one’s particular job or role interacts with the job or role of others to present complete information to executive management or the board for consideration; it also improves communication skills as information must be presented in a clear, concise and compelling way; and finally it is a professional recognition of the competencies achieved that can help open doors for more senior roles.”

And how did the program impact Jimmy personally? “If I hadn’t done it, my life would have been much easier,” he says with a wry smile. “But it would have been less rewarding. The programme renewed my interest in reading and studying. Once, I threw myself into it, I really got a buzz out of it. I just thought it was a practical and fun thing to do. I would never have tasked studying for exams as a fun thing to do; it was something I just needed to do to pass exams, but this time around I enjoyed it!”

Recognizing the intrinsic value of the Global C-suite Business & Finance Program and how it can greatly elevate his staff professionally, Jimmy mobilized the pioneer batch of PepsiCo associates to undergo the program in 2017. Though the candidates were from different countries and spoke different languages, they were unanimous that the program positively impacted their professional development and that they would highly recommend the program to other associates. Based on the exceedingly positive feedback, PepsiCo has now made the Global C-suite Business & Finance Program a regular integral part of the development of people in their organization, especially those involved in planning and business finance.

Thanks for the seal of approval, Jimmy Durkan. Take it from a veteran – do it, and let your career take flight. — SG