677: Engaging Minds at Work | Michael Pickrum, CFO, ExecOnline

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When Michael Pickrum tells us about ExecOnline, the company that he joined as CFO back in 2019, he wants us to know that the education technology firm is aligned with his goals both professionally and personally.

When it comes to the professional side of things, Pickrum says, ExecOnline in certain ways is a media company.

“You’re taking some IP and figuring out how to distribute and monetize it,” comments Pickrum, while boiling down the somewhat complex approach that ExecOnline uses to repackage the curricula of top business schools and universities to better serve the specific people development needs of a variety of corporate clients.

Still, Pickrum’s shorthand description is intended not to spotlight the facets of ExecOnline’s business model but instead to draw our attention to its similarities with his past media industry experience—such as his 17 years with BET Networks, where he occupied the CFO office for 9 of them.

As for the personal side of things, Pickrum says that he is a “big believer” when it comes to the transformative power of education.

“I went to public schools growing up—I was very fortunate to go to a great university, and it changed my life,” remarks Pickrum, who adds that ExecOnline packages the academic IP not with aspiring college students in mind but with an eye toward first-time managers as well as more senior business leaders.

According to Pickrum, part of the added value that ExecOnline offers corporate clients derives from providing the IP in a more relevant and efficient way.

“Most of our programs are 1 week, 3 weeks, or 6ix weeks,” explains Pickrum, who says that at times the material being covered can be applied to a specific project that the managers are undertaking within their company.

“It’s just a great marriage between the business school’s IP, professors, and resources, and our platform and ability to engage people where they are, which is at work.” –Jack Sweeney

GET MORE: Order now The CFO Yearbook, 2021

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