Business schools

Where leaders grow

As experts in leadership assessment and development, we work closely with business schools. We have long-standing partnerships with several leading business schools – notably Oxford Saïd Business School, Henley Business School and Alliance Manchester Business School – where we help to design, direct and deliver leadership programmes, and design, administer and interpret psychometrics and 360˚ feedback tools.

Assessment tools and 360˚  feedback for leadership programmes

We use best-in-class existing solutions or design bespoke tools to help participants in leadership programmes understand:

  • their strengths and weaknesses;
  • the effectiveness of their current approach to leadership;
  • what they should do to be more effective leaders

We can design, select, administer and help business schools interpret the results to maximise the insights participants gain.

Has the Covid pandemic been a springboard for new opportunities for UK schools?

Our report into the response of UK business schools to the Covid pandemic investigates the experiences of business schools and their implications for the future of executive education.

Advisory services

Selecting and interpreting leadership diagnostics: programme directors often lack the expertise to select and interpret leadership diagnostics. Getting this right can significantly increase the personalisation of the participants’ learning; getting it wrong can significantly undermine the participant experience. Our deep expertise in both a wide range of diagnostic tools and the leadership programme context means we can give business schools the assurance they need to use these tools with confidence.

Programme evaluation: clients increasingly expect business schools to go beyond the traditional ‘happy sheet’ approach to programme evaluation; they want to understand what participants have learned, how they have applied it at work, and what impact this has had on their organisation. Many schools now use pre- and post-intervention measures (especially 360° feedback) to provide a low-cost evaluation of programme impact – our experience of doing this in a wide range of contexts can add rigour and nuance to the evaluation process.

Leadership research: leadership programmes provide a vehicle for conducting research into leadership in specific contexts, especially where data on a population of leaders is collected over time. We regularly conduct research with business schools and their clients to understand what ‘good’ looks like, so that clients can learn to improve their approach to selecting and developing leaders based on real data from their own people, rather than relying on ‘off-the-shelf’ prescriptions. Modern data analysis methods have allowed unprecedented insight in this regard, and we have often found that we can explain twice as much of the observed variance in leadership effectiveness (‘what good looks like HERE’) as generic models can, dramatically enhancing the value of such analyses to clients.

Design and delivery of leadership sessions/programmes

We offer taught leadership sessions lasting from 90 minutes to a full day, which help participants to integrate their theoretical learning with their own data derived from validated diagnostic tools (typically psychometrics and 360 feedback). This combination provides participants with a rigorous, evidence-based and personalised approach to reflecting on and developing their approach as a leader.

The core principles we teach have been applied successfully in a wide range of sectors and geographies and are summarised in Leadership: No More Heroes (3rd Ed. Pendleton, Furnham and Cowell, 2021, Palgrave MacMillan) the book we have written to set out the foundations of the Primary Colours® Model of Leadership, Edgecumbe’s proprietary model. This approach has been taught on a wide range of programmes at Oxford Saïd Business School and Henley Business School, and adopted by several leading UK businesses including Rolls-Royce, BSI and Hargreaves Lansdown.


Receive your copy of our report into leadership executive education

During the pandemic, we wanted to support business schools that had faced unprecedented challenges. Our research aimed to capture insights into the ways in which business schools had responded to the Covid pandemic and the learning that might be carried through into the provision of executive education in the future.

Our report was based on the results of 14 in-depth qualitative interviews completed during March and April 2021 with interviewees in 10 UK business schools, all of whom are directly involved with the provision of leadership executive education.

Access to the final report was limited to the participating business schools until December 2021 but is now available to all. Simply complete the form to download your copy of the report.

Meet our business school specialist


Jon Cowell

Edgecumbe’s CEO and Associate Fellow at Saïd Business School

Jon is Edgecumbe’s CEO and Associate Fellow at Saïd Business School where he lectures regularly on their flagship leadership programmes. He assesses, coaches and develops leadership capability and works with individuals, senior teams and entire organisations.