May 14, 2012 12:08 am

Businesses seek out the best

shoe being polished©Neil Webb

The FT ranking of customised executive education programmes – development courses tailored to individual company needs – includes a record number of 70 business schools this year, compared with 65 in 2011. Of these 70 schools, 59 have featured in the rankings for the last three years.

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This growth is an indicator of the growing demand from corporations for customised programmes run by the world’s top business schools. The number of programmes provided by these schools rose 15 per cent to around 6,200 in 2012. A quarter of these are new programmes for new clients. The average number of programmes at European schools increased from 97 in the 2010 rankings to 108 in 2012, while in North America, the figure rose from 77 to 99. The number for schools elsewhere dipped from 110 to 107.

The number of companies that have commissioned programmes at these schools has increased by 10 per cent to around 4,000 during the past three years. The number of clients has increased by 14 per cent in North America to 1,200, by 9 per cent in Europe to 1,900, and by 7 per cent to 900 in the rest of the world.

One of the biggest growth areas for executive training is in emerging economies, particularly in South America, Asia and the Middle East, but companies there often turn to established schools outside their region.

Number of full-time faculty, clients and programmes

Worldwide, the number of programmes taught outside the schools’ own regions has grown by more than 40 per cent in two years. These programmes now account for nearly 15 per cent of all customised programmes, with two-thirds being offered by European schools.

The good news looks set to continue. Some 40 per cent of clients aim to increase executive training spending over the next three years, while just 10 per cent say they will cut their budgets.

It is also clear that business schools are usually meeting this increased demand without increasing their permanent overheads, such as standing faculty, instead using outside faculty or corporate practitioners. Overall faculty size has remained constant.

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