NCM GMEP vs NADA Dealer Academy

Written By: STEVE HALL
POSTED ON April 18, 2019

In my travels with NCM, I often get asked a simple yet important question. Simple, because the person is asking an employee of a company why they consider their product better than a competitor’s product. Important, because the product they are referring to can dramatically impact their dealership through the next several decades.

It is human nature for parents to help prepare their sons and daughters to be more successful than they were. Senators want their children to become president, and dealer principals envision their children owning a larger, more profitable store, multiple dealerships, or even their own mega group. Due to this desire, dealer principals are looking for the best way to prepare their successors and help them thrive for decades to come. In a selfish way, if the next generation succeeds, the original dealer gets to leave behind a legacy, a name on a business, a place in the community, and the pride of helping pave the way for others.

Along the way, dealers have taken many steps to ensure that success will follow. They have sent their children to great universities and business schools all to prepare them for what’s ahead. They have required them to be hands-on in the business during their formative years. They made them earn their way up the ladder, and now, they have grown to be a key departmental manager. Next, the dealer thinks, “How do I best prepare them to run all the departments in the general manager position and eventually become the dealer principal?” This is where we come in.

There are basically two main players in this arena: the NCM Institute General Management Executive Program (GMEP) and the NADA Dealer Academy.

Both programs are very similar, six sessions over basically a year’s time. The question arises, “Why should I choose the NCM Institute GMEP over the NADA Academy?” Or I hear, “I went to NADA in the 80’s, shouldn’t my successor go where I went?”

Before I address “Why NCM over NADA?”, I would like to answer the legacy question. Think about it this way: horses used to be the most efficient way to travel; now, no one travels that way. Vehicles and airplanes have fundamentally changed what we consider the best way to travel. Just because something worked well in the past, doesn’t always mean it is the best in the present. To continue being the best, it must evolve and change with what’s best for the times.

Just to be clear, I am biased as I am one of the NCM instructors for GMEP; however, being biased doesn’t mean unfair. When asked, “Why NCM over NADA?”, I like to start out with three reasons why NCM is better. Though there are many more reasons, these catch attention.

First: Time of Attendance

In the modern world, time is the most precious commodity that a person has. We need to get more done in shorter amounts of time and being out of the dealership is a challenge to any key employee. NADA’s Dealer Academy is 4 ½ days long per session, meaning that you are out of the store for a full week. We all know what it means when you are gone—things stack up and work slows down. After being gone for a full week, just getting caught up can be a major undertaking and bleed over into the following week. A full week of travel probably disrupts 7 days of work. NCM’s GMEP has addressed this by designing each session around 3 ½ days. 

Second: Individual Attention

At this level of your career, individual instruction and attention is paramount. The NCM Institute has addressed this need by offering a student-to-teacher ratio of 22:1, rather than the competitor’s single-instructor style and a ratio of 30:1 or higher. Lately, dealers have even mentioned ratios as high as 50:1 at times, yikes!

Think of how this works in college. First year undergraduate classes are huge; post-graduate master’s programs have much smaller classes. This is to allow for more specialized attention to each student as they progress, and details become more important. We believe our program represents that level of attention due to the detail that we provide. This leads us into the final point that I want to make.

Third: A Deeper Dive

After speaking with many students that have attended both the NCM and NADA programs, I continuously hear that GMEP takes a much deeper dive into the departments. GMEP teaches how they operate and what it takes for them to perform. Less of a 30,000-foot view and more “boots on the ground.” I take this as a positive, because if you need to lead all departments, you need to understand all departments.

As an example, if your career has been centered around variable operations, but now you must lead both the variable and fixed operations departments, the deeper understanding that NCM provides will help you be a true leader to your fixed managers and allows the whole team to work more cohesively. This is a very key point; as generally, the students have only grown up in the variable or fixed side of the business and need to fully understand the other side.

There you have it, a biased, but fair summary on why the NCM General Management Executive Program is the choice for your successor or high potential employee. Whether a single-point store or a dealer group, check us out and see for yourself how to develop your next generations’ leadership. We look forward to seeing you in Kansas City soon.


Want to learn more about the NCMi® GMEP program from a former student? Be sure to check out:

If you are a former GMEP graduate, or are thinking of attending the class yourself, be sure to let us know in the comments below!