So you want to make an impact with executive education?

Man walking inside sky scraper by windowsThere’s a vast potential market for business schools to be involved in corporate learning and development.  Yet at London Business School, open and custom program revenues in 2015-16 were only £44 million, while in the USA the Association for Talent Development suggests that employers spent nearly $71 billion on all training in 2016.

CarringtonCrisp recently completed a study with five global business schools, titled Executive Education Futures, examining what employers and individuals want and how business schools can meet these needs.  With people living longer and looking at a series of distinctive careers during their lifetime, the need for new learning and development throughout a life is only likely to grow.

McKinsey has predicted that between 2015 and 2030, 300 million to 365 million jobs could be created with as many as 375 million workers needing to switch occupations and consequently, need to learn new skills. 

However, in the study only 28% of employers indicate that they already use business schools for learning and development.  With competition growing from consulting firms and from new entrants using technology to deliver innovative solutions, business schools need to be clear about their offer and how it delivers the impact that organisations and individuals desire.

For business schools to succeed in the executive education marketplace, they will need to focus on flexibility, relevance, value, impact and technology.  Of course, content will be important, and schools can leverage their expertise in developing curricula, pedagogy, outcomes, competencies and the science of learning to provide them with an advantage over new entrants to the executive education marketplace.  Schools may also look to collaborate with individual firm or across a sector to support early identification of development needs, positioning themselves as potential partners to help meet those needs.

Of course, technology is likely to play an ever-larger role in the delivery of executive education.  Just under three-quarters (74%) of individuals taking part in the study would consider a microcredential, while 63% would consider a qualification leading to a digital badge.  Three-quarters of firms responding to the study survey agree that short bursts of learning, delivered flexibly, providing microcredentials are valuable in meeting their development needs. 

Perhaps more than anything else, firms and individuals are interested in impact.  In the study survey, the top priority among corporates when considering a provider is ‘learning that enables staff to have an impact at work’.  Technology also has a role to play in growing impact, with measurement of individual progress during a programme allowing changes to learning to improve outcomes.

Executive education is evolving rapidly, and business schools will need to be clear how they can best respond to a changing market if they are to grow their offer and deliver impactful learning for organsiations and individuals in the future.

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