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AICD Company Directors Course


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.

7 thoughts on “AICD Company Directors Course

  1. I completed the AICD couse some years ago and found that the contentof the course and the provision of further information via the magazine and the seminars to be of great benefit to me and the boards I reported to. I believe that every ASX listed firm should ensure that all their executive directors complete the AICD course as a demonstration of good governnace and to ensure that the executives understand their additional obligations as a director.

  2. Peter, thanks for your comment – the combination of the courses/ seminars / maagazine is really useful. Particularly the advantage of the course is the challenge in evaluating issues and cases to determine the answer to the perpetual Director’s question: given the circumstances, what ought we do?

  3. Just half way through completing the AICD by correspondence. There is an awful lot of detail in the course…very interesting…but think it is going to be very hard to commit all to memory. So far have 20 pages of summary notes!! How hard did you find the exam?

  4. Thanks for the comment – the exam is difficult – but then again it should be given the liabilities that directors face!

    My suggestion is to understand in particular the content in the powerpoints as this is the key information. I read the notes (both folders – very page) 5 times, and made notes out of every chapter. That is a lot of reading!

    Not sure what assistance you get via correspondence but if you can speak with a lecturer to get a sense of what is important that will help you.

    Keep the perspective of the issues – eg strategy, what is important for directors to understand, what is their role in strategy? Same for risk….

    There is no question there is a lot of work. That said, all of our class passed that submitted the exam.

    Hope that helps!


  5. Thanks for that Justin. I have made notes…summarised the notes and still nervous. Understand the concepts – issue is remembering all the differing elements eg. what are Porters 6 forces in creating competitive advantage. A lot you just know intuitively and I find it hard to get things stuck in my brain by rote.

    Thanks for the encouragement. Just got Unit 10 left to do as a means of summarising so should sit exam in the next 2 weeks.



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