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Harvard Business School’s take on executive education

Executive Education

Harvard

A new paper by Harvard Business School explores the competitive landscape of executive education. The reknown business school feels that there is a tectonic shift even as demand grows for managerial skills. The study maps and analyses the major providers of executive education programmes to better understand and explain the industry’s present and future dynamics.

A new paper by Harvard Business School explores the competitive landscape of executive education. The reknown business school feels that there is a tectonic shift even as demand grows for managerial skills. The study maps and analyses the major providers of executive education programmes to better understand and explain the industry’s present and future dynamics.

According to the authors, the demand for managerial skills continues to grow, but despite this they observe how executive education worldwide has entered a period of disruption caused by the digitalisation of content, connectivity, and communication.

“The current offerings of many executive education programme providers fall short of creating new skills in executives and developing fresh capabilities for organisations,” they write.

To understand the current dynamics, they review the past. The birth of executive education was after World War II, when the leading U.S. business schools -- such as Harvard Business School in 1945, Columbia Business School in 1951, and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management in 1951 -- started offering non-degree business education programmes.

From the 1950s to the 1980s, they describe executive education as mostly university-based programmes. “Participants learned the latest theories of management and the techniques with which to apply them, largely by studying cases and listening to lectures by academics,” the Harvard academics state.

They discovered a shift in the early 1990s, when companies started using executive education programmes to initiate organisational changes in their firms and consequently, the popularity of custom programmes increased considerably.

Currently, executive education is at another crossroad caused by the new digital world that has made content readily available on the web and has changed the way we connect and communicate.

The paper exploring these changes as well as the past and future of executive education can be found on: www.hbswk.hbs.edu

 

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