Business schools face more competition for Executive Education

Business schools provide one-fifth of the global corporate learning market according to a study by education consultants Carrington Crisp. Executive Education is a key revenue stream but the competition is becoming stiffer.


A recent report on the future of executive education explained why there is considerable competition amongst business schools and other education providers surrounding Executive Education. “The arrival of new entrants into the executive education marketplace, whether that’s consultants or technology-led providers, increase the pressure on business schools to craft programmes that meet the specific needs of employers rather than simply taking a product off the shelf as a one-size-fits-all solution,” the London-based education consultants wrote in their report, which looked at business schools from Canada, Britain, the Middle East and Australia.

Five years ago, stiff competition came from MOOCs (massive open online courses) which were embraced by commercial firms and became a disruptive force in higher education. The hype died down again but now the same companies are repurposing MOOC online content for the corporate market.

These new players force business schools to provide programmes tailored to employers. But there is a hurdle ahead as according to the study, which surveyed 270 mid-to-senior corporate managers responsible for learning and development, one-quarter of them thought business school was too theoretical and distant from real-world issues.

However, the study also concluded that business schools “have advantages in programme design, in market experience, in drawing expertise from other parts of [their] universities and in the corporate networks.”

Overall the study’s result was that week-long executive retreats and in-classroom lectures are replaced by:

  • Online learning
  • Shorter-duration sessions
  • The use of micro-credentials, such as digital learning badges.

Another growing trend is that corporations prefer training delivered in one- or two-day long classroom sessions, combined with online learning that allows students to study at their own pace and according to their availabilities.