Having completed the Australian Company Directors Course, I run the risk of sounding like a paid advertisement… BUT if you have contemplated doing this course, don’t hesitate, just do it.

The quality of presenters and the work that has gone into preparing the course material is utterly first rate. I must say I have also learned a great deal from the participants who are all business leaders in a wide range of fields, and it is the interaction with the other participants as well as the lecturer that is the most valuable.

As in any learning, you only get out what you put in. There is a lot of reading material and preparation for every week. The case study material is really strong and gives you a very good grounding for all facets of directorship.

Since completing the course, I have been invited twice to speak to potential participants about the course and what they should expect. I completed the 10 week course, but many people undertake the 5 day intensive, and the residential is considered by AICD to be the best option to take – but it is the most expensive.

Make no mistake there is a lot of reading. You receive two comprehensive manuals. I read the manuals in full twice prior to starting the course, then read each chapter and undertook the prep work before each weekly session, then read it twice at the end to ensure I prepared well for the assignment and exam. As I paid for the course myself, I wanted to make sure I really knew the material. When you are in a boardroom situation, you must come prepared and you should treat this no differently.

I liked the weekly sessions as it enabled some contemplation and digestion time for the content, and I would recommend that approach. That said, many others have said to me that the 5 days or the weekend intensive are a really good ways to complete it as well (particularly if you travel frequently).

There are a couple of issues I found with the course: the online examination created a number of problems for people in our group. As a proponent of internet technologies, I’m sure this will be ironed out, and AICD have enabled the web exams to cater for scenarios where coming to a location to undertake an exam isn’t realistic.

The other issue I had was the complete lack of a mark from the exam and assignment. A very small percentage of the national graduates are awarded a distinction, however there is no feedback at all. I believe AICD will do something about this in the future.

Some of the participants have agreed to continue to meet monthly, so we have created a group we called Chatham House, based on the application Chatham House rule. If you are after the original Chatham House group here which is home of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, is a world-leading institute for the debate and analysis of international issues.

In summary, an outstanding course and I highly recommend it to anyone that is either a director already or contemplating becoming one. Interestingly around one third of the participants in the course decided never to become a director due to the current liabilities that exist in those roles. This is an area that needs significant attention in our legal frameworks.