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ACEC Senior Executives Institute FAQs

Effective leaders know how to clarify what matters - for themselves and their businesses - so that compelling visions, goals, and strategies emerge.


What is the core aim of SEI?

The SEI program is about leadership rather than simple business management. When executives improve their personal knowledge, skills, business acumen, and awareness of their practice environment, their businesses thrive. SEI is an interactive, energetic, exploratory, and challenging learning experience. Its faculty uses a variety of practices and techniques, including lectures, group discussions and case study work, self-evaluation and individual work, discussions with industry leaders, and extensive reading on modern leadership and management topics.

How long is the program?

Each SEI class is approximately 18 months, and starts each fall in Washington, DC. The curriculum is divided into five multi-day sessions, spaced several months apart. Each four- or five-day session includes preparatory reading, self-study, and in-depth discussions.

Why are the sessions organized over 18 months?

The sessions are spaced several months apart to allow each session’s learning to be absorbed and applied by class members in the time between sessions, and to allow ample time to prepare for each upcoming session. Spreading out the sessions makes it easier for participants to plan their studies and helps prevent unnecessary disruption of participants’ businesses. The sessions are:

Session 1: Your Vision & The World
Session 2: Personal Mastery
Session 3: Vision, Strategy, & Systems Thinking
Session 4: Adaptive Work & Scenario Planning
Session 5: Putting It All Together

How often does the curriculum change? What about reading lists?

While much of the core curriculum remains relatively consistent, content is updated with each session and each class to reflect the changing world around us. Reading lists are also updated regularly to include fresh ideas and perspectives.

Who are the faculty?

SEI’s credentialed and experienced program instructors are engineering business, HR, and IT professionals who regularly work with engineering and architectural firms. Faculty also includes experts from the Brookings Institution, a private non-profit organization devoted to nonpartisan research, education and publication in economics, government, foreign policy and the social sciences.

What happens to the class after completing the program?

SEI graduates say that a major benefit of the SEI experience is the relationships they build with each other during the program. Participants realize they are not alone in the challenges they face both personally and professionally. Every SEI class has formed their own alumni group for support and to continue their lifelong learning process together. Each SEI class also typically maintains an active online group - such as LinkedIn or Facebook - where they can discuss ideas, share best practices, and seek advice/input from their SEI colleagues.