EXECUTIVEDECISIONS Executive education is rapidly evolving to offer shorter, closer, and more focused programs that deliver real solutions to todays companies. BYTRICIABISOUX E xecutive education programs have long been the vehicle of choice for corporations that want to train their most promising talent. Dedi- cated, short-term courses are designed to help executives develop their individual skill sets and better understand the realities of their industries. But now that companies are operating in the shadow of a reces- sion, they want their investment in executive training to translate into tan- gible value for their organizations. Christine Poon, dean of The Ohio State Universitys Fisher College of Busi- ness in Columbus, has seen that transition firsthand. She came to the deans office in 2009 at the height of the recession, after 30 years in the healthcare industry, including a post as worldwide chairwoman at Johnson &c Johnson. During her time at Johnson & Johnson, she says, the company used exec ed to help broaden and diversify the skills of high-potential executives. "But if I were back in corporate America today," she adds, "I would also want them to be trained to deal with topics relevant to my company. That would be an added value." Business educators are hearing that sentiment from an increasing number of corporate leaders. With budgets tight and expectations high, employers want todays executive education programs to be faster, more customized, more local, and more accessible to their employees around the world. And they want more than better trained employees—they want their people to come back to work with solutions that have immediate and measurable ROI for their companies.18 July/August 2012 BizEd
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"More companies are saying, Wed like you to run this program for education in the workplace,Fast and FocusedAccording to Mike Stan- us, but we want Eiter and Woll continue. "Providing a stellar class-ford, executive director ofthe Partnership Program you to run room experience is no lon-at IMD in Lausanne, Swit- it on our site ger sufficient," they write.zerland, corporate clients "Companies seek learningwant executive education or at venues that is transferable to theprograms to achieve two closer to us." workplace. Executives wantimportant objectives: effi- to learn concepts and frame-ciency and impact. works that can be put into "Our clients want to - Bill Shedden of practice and contribute tofocus on how our program Cranfield University real-world solutions."will help them get where Duke Corporate Educa-they need to go most effi- tion (Duke CE), the execu-ciently. They want experi- tive education arm of Dukeences that add value to the University in Durham,company, and not those that North Carolina, recentlyare simply fun or interest- released its report "Learninging," says Stanford. and Development in 2011: The impact of executive A Focus on the Euture."education has been top of Duke CE asked 142 of itsmind for employers for at corporate clients to shareleast 15 or 20 years, Stan- their biggest concerns aboutford adds. But the big dif- executive training. Improvedference today is how they technological delivery, lessdefine impact in their conversations concepts that are not applied to travel, reduced cost, and measur-with IMD faculty. real businesses," she says. "Cor- able value all made their lists. "Ten or 15 years ago, when com- porations want to see obvious out- The report quotes Cathrynpanies talked about impact, they comes for their businesses." Klassen, vice president of leader- asked about return on investment. Although exec ed has been mov- ship and talent development for But it can be difficult to measure ing in this direction for years, the Sun Life Financial, who notes that return on investment for a learning financial crisis has accelerated its company leadership is under more activity," he says. "But now we ask evolution considerably, accord- pressure to demonstrate the value them, Whats your objective? If ing to researchers at the Interna- of executive development. "This your objective is to change behavior, tional University Consortium for might not mean that budgets are we have tools to measure that. If Executive Education (UNICON). In cut—in fact, we made additional your objective is to spark cultural UNICONs November 2011 report investments," she says. "It does change, we can measure that. Our "Breaking the Mold on Blended mean there is a spotlight focused conversations about impact are now Learning," Marie Eiter and Toby on real business value. ... Devel- more specific. Theyre much smarter Woll write that "the recent financial opment must be tied to the actual conversations to have." crisis has forced companies not only organizational capabilities your Evgenia Ovasapyan, director of to scrutinize the costs of executive company needs to build." executive education programs at development, but also the time that Russias Moscow School of Man- executives and upper management Closer to Home agement Skolkovo, agrees. "Were are away from the office." As part of their emphasis on seeing a decline of interest in open Chief learning officers are impact and value, corporations programs that focus on individual placing greater emphasis on the also want programs that are skill development and theoretical immediate application of executive "shorter, cheaper, and with as20 July/August 2012 BizEd
much payoff as possible," says Bill ative work online—or even access parts of those programs for thatShedden, director of the Centre content designed for the companys company," he says. "Were no lon-for Customized Development at own technologies and systems. ger making the distinction that anCranfield University in the United The iPad has become an espe- open enrollment program is off theKingdom, and UNICONs execu- cially useful learning tool, says shelf, and therefore bad, or a cus-tive director. "That means they Stanford. IMD began piloting the tom program is just for that com-want courses linked to whatever use of the iPad in its longtime pany, and therefore good. Weretheyre working on right now. They five-day exec ed offering, "Orches- finding that everything we have canwant business schools to integrate trating Winning Performance," in be put together in ways that aretheir biggest problems into the pro- June 2010. Since then, the school meaningful to the organization."grams, through mentoring, coach- has developed several iPad apps He points to changes that haveing, and any other career develop- to encourage executive students occurred in the "Orchestratingment initiatives theyre pursuing." to converse and learn even when Winning Performance" program, But as their budgets shrink and theyre not face-to-face. which is designed to allow individu-their expectations rise, companies "The iPad takes away the feel- als and teams to work on an issuehave made the items on their execu- ing that theyre learning only when theyre currently facing on the job.tive education wish lists even more theyre in the classroom," he says. Most recently, the school has seendefined and highly targeted, Shed- "Even when our students are on the an increase in the number of largeden adds. For instance, to keep street or at the coffee shop, theyre groups of executives being sentcosts down and minimize their always in a learning mode, shar- through the program. Companiesemployees time away from the ing what theyre seeing via blogs or now see a program like this as anoffice, more companies are asking social media. Their everyday experi- opportunity to build individualfor shorter programs offered much ence becomes their classroom." skills sets and effect large-scalecloser to home—sometimes on com- behavioral change in their organiza-pany premises. "More companies Not Quite Customized tions, says Stanford. "That gives aare saying, Wed like you to run With customization quickly becom- whole new energy to what an openthis program for us, but we want ing the norm in executive educa- enrollment program can achieve."you to run it on our site or at ven- tion, more business schools are For some schools, packagingues closer to us," says Shedden. facing a dilemma: Should they try their offerings effectively means Theyre also asking for more to serve all companies? Or target targeting clients whose objectivescontent to be delivered online. those in a specific area or industry? best align with the strengths of theirBusiness schools are offering more Schools may no longer have to faculty. For example, the Universitycontent via course management make that choice, says Stanford of Miami School of Business directssystems, video conferencing, online of IMD. He notes that what was most of its exec ed offerings to theformats such as Webinars and sim- once thought of as customization needs of multinational Latin Ameri-ulations, mobile devices, and tablet has transformed into what really is can companies headquartered in itscomputers, says Shedden. "Its defined as good customer service. home state of Florida. That decisionnot necessarily e-learning," says That is, business schools can assess emerged after close discussions withShedden. "At Cranfield, we call it a corporate clients needs and pack- the schools exec ed clients, saysnetworked learning." That could age or adjust their existing offer- Amelia McGuire, the schools associ-mean that course introductions and ings accordingly. ate dean of external affairs and headstatic content that repeats from "When a client comes to us with of its executive education program.one run of the course to the next a development issue, our solution "We had to look at content—are offered in online formats that might include individual coaching what professors did we have,employees can access from their and mentoring. It might include cus- what could we realistically deploy,desks. Employers also appreciate tomized modules. It might include and how could we build it?" sayswhen their employees can attend strategic use of our open enrollment McGuire. "Then we looked atWebinars and do some of their cre- programs, in which we customize the existing market here in south BizEd July/August 2012 21
Florida. We realized that the sweet At the beginning of each course, school has partnered with GE Capi-spot for us was the Fortune 1000 the companys CEO or country tal to create exec ed programs thatcompanies here that were based or manager comes in to speak to the specifically serve the needs of middledoing business in Latin America." group and outline expectations. market companies—^those compa- UM customizes almost all of its Over the next five days, students nies with annual revenues betweenexecutive education courses to each discuss topics and work on projects US$10 million and $1 billion. Muchcorporate client. Once a company to meet those expectations. On the of this training is offered throughapproaches UM to design a training last day, the school holds a recep- the schools National Center for theprogram, faculty visit with company tion where students mingle with Middle Market. (See "Eye on therepresentatives to leam their objec- corporate leadership and present Middle Market" on p. 27.)tives, then they design a tailored five- what theyve learned. "Well be offering executive edu-day course. The courses are taught Fisher College takes a slightly dif- cation that emphasizes the themesjointly by faculty and company ferent approach to executive educa- that are highly relevant to this seg-executives and are based solely on tion—it has focused not on a region, ment: innovation, customer focus,projects pulled from the workplace. but on a segment of the market. The and human capital," says Poon ofA Look Inside Deloitte UniversityMost companies meet their indi- talk about the power of listening. The Deloittevidual training needs by turning to Learning to step back and listen University campus.business schools for both open to a group can be very powerful inenroliment and customized exec ed effecting transformational change."programs. But when a companys The curriculum was designedstrategy becomes so complex-its with the input of Deloittes seniorproblems so unique to its corporate leadership, academics, and clients.environment-it may decide to take Courses range from "Welcome tocontrol of its own executive training. Deloitte," which offers new hiresThat may mean building its own an overview of the company, tocorporate university, with a curricu- the "New Manager Program," alum infused with its most integrated weeklong program for the recentlyand ongoing strategic needs. promoted. "The Art of Empathy" Deloitte Consulting, headquartered in DU features 800 guest rooms and 35 teaches students to set aside their per-New York City, recently became one of classrooms, as well as a fitness center, sonal agendas to see issues from theirthe newest entrants in the community of running trails, amphitheater, and ballroom. clients points of view, while "The Art ofcompanies with their own corporate uni- Deloitte expects the university to deliver up Inquiry" helps them think about how toversities. Last October, the company offi- to 3 million hours of instruction to 35,000 ask the right questions. "Mastering thecially opened Deloitte University (DU), its employees each year. C-Suite" helps upper-level leaders furtherUS$300 million, 700,000-square-foot lead- The companys leaders made the large develop the listening and communicationership development center. DU is built on investment because they felt the company skills they need to sustain client relation-a 107-acre plot of land in the small town of needed to develop courses that reflected ships. "Anatomy of a Train Wreck" walksWestlake, Texas, just outside of Dallas. The its specialized focus on client services, students through real examples from thecompany is currently pursuing LEED Gold explains Diana OBrien, a managing prin- company where client sen/ice went terriblycertification for the facility, which uses sus- cipal of Deloitte University. "We rely heav- wrong and explores how things might havetainable design principles and incorporates ily on telling stories—our own stories-of been done differently.renewable and recycled materials. success and failure," she says. "We also Tom Hodson has been involved in24 July/August 2012 BizEd
Fisher. Courses will be taught by says Poon. On the one hand, all the industry. And by having studentsfaculty from Fisher and subject mat- students experience a set curriculum, apply their training to real projects,ter experts from GE. After students which makes the program easily we can keep the program relevant toare armed with classroom theory, scalable. But by targeting a specific their companies."they identify issues in their com- market and importing real-worldpanies in one of these areas. Then, projects, the curriculum offers the Exec Ed á la Cartethey return to their companies to training these students find most Collaboration is a big and grow-work on those issues, with the help relevant. "Were still experiment- ing part of the executive educationof faculty mentors. In four months, ing. Were trying to find the balance experience. In a recent survey bythey come back to Fisher to present between creating a program thats AACSB International, 230 insti-their project outcomes and receive neither completely customized, nor tutions representing 50 differentadditional coaching. completely off-the-shelf," says countries were named as part- By focusing on the middle mar- Poon. "By working with GE Capital, ners in collaborative agreementsket. Fisher College can offer pro- we can keep the topics were intro- involving non-degree/executivegrams that are "semi-customized," ducing in the classroom relevant to education. In addition, 34 schoolsexecutive training at the company since he people. Youd be surprisedwas made a principal in 2005. This year, how diverse our communityhe has been teaching in the New Manager is, even though we all workprogram. "Its really a milestone for our under the same umbrella.people," Hodson says. "During the week, Deloitte University helpsthey attend plenary sessions on leadership, our people foster relation-one of which I deliver, and they go through ships with others theybusiness simulations that involve how they normally wouldnt run intocan better manage things iike client meet- and learn about servicesings and staff problems." we provide that they may Hodson and OBrien are quick to not otherwise know about,"emphasize the value of academic business says Hodson.training, but note that DU is designed to Perhaps most impor-pick up where their employees past edu- tant, the leadership center An interactive touchscreen media wall at the centercations leave off. "Business schools dont will serve as a living labora- of DUs lobby displays information about activitieshave access to our culture. They dont tory, where the company at the university, as weii as curated content fromknow the specific leadership behaviors that social media channels. can identify and measuredifferentiate us. They dont have access the training approaches want to gather robust data on a regularto how we implement strategy or deal that are most effective. Deloitte will sur- basis to track the correlation betweenwith the intricacies of the tax code," says vey selected groups of employees after the learning in the classroom and theHodson. "Those arent topics available in a theyve attended classes at DU to see quality of our services. DU gives us thebroad-based MBA program." whether they changed behaviors as a ability to measure whether our training It also would be difficult for a busi- result of what they learned. drives business results."ness school to replicate the sense of The information these surveys pro-community that Deloitte sought to create vide will be more valuable than what the A video tour of Deloitte Universityat DU, he adds. company could acquire from twice-yearly is available at www.youtube.com/ "Deloitte has a workforce of 50,000 employee reviews, says Hodson. "We watoh ?v=3hSUIamRLDI. BizEd July/August 2012 25
representing ten different countriesindicated that they desired to initi-ate more collaborative partner-ships. Theyre particularly inter-ested in looking for partners inthe Asia-Pacific region, accordingto 36.7 percent of respondents.Smaller but significant numbersof respondents would like to col- business schools exec ed program on employers needs, and employerslaborate with schools in Europe from anothers are fading, in favor of advance the skills of their workforce(18.3 percent) and the Americas more collaborative delivery models. based on our scholarship."(15 percent). "So much of executive education Poon and other educators Shedden of UNICON notes today is driven by business needs," emphasize that many companiesthat these collaborations are often he says. "The days when execu- still view executive education as adriven by the companies themselves. tives go to Harvard to receive what way to reward talent and cultivateRather than choosing a single busi- only Harvard faculty can deliver, loyalty. But after the recession, itsness school to meet all of their exec or to INSEAD for only INSEAD purpose has expanded significantly.ed needs, many employers are invit- faculty, or to IMD for only IMD Eor employers, its also a tool thating different schools to work with faculty, could soon be ovei;" he says. will help them improve their opera-them based on different criteria. "Today, we partner with consultants, tions and do more with less, says "Many of us mistakenly view behavior coaches, and other business McGuire of UM.all business schools as a homoge- schools so that we can deliver whats "Companies can no longerneous unit because were all in the right for the client." give big raises or extraordinarysame market," says Shedden. "But bonuses, even as theyre add-companies often combine executive Virtuous Partnerships ing more to job descriptions andeducation programs from differ- That recognition—that no business stretching their people across moreent schools based on their research school has all the answers—is lead- responsibilities. Even so, they stillskills and reputations." ing business and business schools want to retain their talent," she He points to a program for execu- alike to forge deeper partnerships to says. Investment in executive edu-tives for software company Oracle inject exec ed programs with both cation is a way for companies tothat Cranfield offers jointly with academic and industry perspectives. show their best people how muchIESE in Barcelona, Spain. In that Companies are becoming more they are valued, she adds. But bycase, says Shedden, Oracle wanted involved in the design of executive tying executive education directlyto combine Cranfields strength in education courses, as advisors, men- to their objectives, companies alsoprogram customization with IESEs tors, and even instructors. (See "Cor- receive tangible dividends for thatstrength in strategy. "Todays corpo- porations on Campus" on p. 28.) investment, in the form of employ-rations are sophisticated purchasers. That level of involvement may ees equipped with the bolder inno-They know the strengths of the vari- produce programs that respond vations and smarter solutions theirous business schools. They might to the needs of the market today organizations need to thrive. @turn to different schools because they and better anticipate its needs fivewant a different disciplinary focus, or even ten years from now, says UNICONs report on blendedor they might want to expose their Poon of Eisher College. "When learning is at uniconexed.org/2011/executives to different cultural expe- you partner with the business com- research/Blended_Learning_Report-riences," says Shedden. "Business munity, your faculty can immerse Eiter-Woll-Nov-2011.pdf. Dukeschools have to recognize that they themselves in the issues companies CEs report on learning and develop-dont necessarily know everything." are struggling with. This creates ment can be found at www.dukece. Stanford of IMD agrees that the a virtuous relationship where our com/papers-reports/documents/ "old boundaries" that separate one faculty rethink the curriculum based FocusFuture.pdf.26 July/August 2012 BizEd
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