Simply the best

The 13th annual FT ranking of customised executive education programmes marks a remarkable achievement for one business school, writes Laurent Ortmans. Headquartered in the US state of North Carolina, Duke Corporate Education has topped the ranking for the 10th consecutive year.

The school is ranked among the top five performers in 11 out of 15 criteria, and at number one five times. Duke CE’s core strength lies in its preparation, programme design, and the teaching methods and materials of its programmes. The school has topped the ranking for these three criteria for the past six years.

HEC Paris retains its place at Duke CE’s heels, and is ranked second for the fourth year in a row. However, the gap between the top two has grown slightly in 2012 following the strength of Duke CE’s performance.

Poll: schools compete for clients who switch even when satisfied

Business schools looking to increase their share of the lucrative executive education market have cause for optimism, writes Adam Palin. An FT poll reveals that more than half of commissioning organisations and participants would consider switching schools for future programmes – despite nearly three-quarters liking previous providers enough to use them again.

In a survey completed by more than 1,000 participants and clients who undertook programmes in 2011, 52 and 57 per cent respectively said they would re-evaluate their course providers in future. Their reasons vary significantly.

Reputation is the most important factor for participants, mentioned by 48 per cent as a reason why they would attend a different school.

While faculty quality was indicated by 59 per cent of commissioning companies as a reason for potentially changing their provider, 44 per cent cited the importance of cost. Only a quarter of clients, however, said they selected a school on the grounds of price.

Management without borders

Executive education programmes usually involve expensive faculty, prestigious facilities and highly paid executive students, writes Della Bradshaw. The Center for Creative Leadership is turning this on its head by taking the principles of management development and applying them to projects in the poorest communities, for the 2.5bn people who live on less than $2.50 a day.

This month, CCL will open the Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, office of its Leadership Beyond Boundaries project, which works across Africa and in India. It has slashed the price tag on training by replacing expensive faculty with locally trained recruits, and flashy teaching materials with workbooks, audio toolkits and radio programmes in local languages.

The aim is to develop affordable and accessible short programmes, says Steadman Harrison, CCL’s Africa regional director. “We’re meeting community needs on their own terms.”

He cites a project in Mumbai, where CCL works with local women and midwives to improve maternal health. Leadership is a “lever” for improving these seemingly endemic problems, he says. Another project in the Gambia aims to teach young women about HIV/Aids.

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