At a recent reunion of an Executive Education program, Executive Education Chairman Das Narayandas witnessed the strength of this network in action, as people who hadn’t seen each other in sometime quickly reconnected.

“Very soon they were talking to each other about their jobs, lives, families,” said Narayandas. “And that soon became a question of, ‘How can I help you? What can I do for you? What can you do for me?’”

More than ever before, firms and institutions must recognize the importance of human capital as a critical first step in tapping into unrecognized potential. Executive education is an investment in that capital, a way to unlock that untapped talent. What companies get in return is better leaders, more effective managers, better decisions, and a greater return on investment.

“Very often, participants in Executive Education programs will tell me, ‘I had a transformational experience,’” said Narayandas. “But we don’t transform people. They transform themselves. They transform themselves because of the powerful experience that they go through in the time that they spend here.”

This article was produced by Harvard Business School and not by the Quartz editorial staff.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.