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The Judge Business School at Cambridge University has appointed an academic with a strong background in corporate education as its executive director of executive education.

Lawrence Abeln, currently associate dean of the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business, will take over the role in the next few weeks.

Mr Abeln will head Cambridge Corporate Education - a limited company owned by the university and run along the lines, although not the scale, of Duke Corporate Education, the executive education spin off of Duke University in North Carolina. Cambridge Corporate Education will deliver both open and custom programmes.

Mr Abeln intends to expand significantly the school’s executive education portfolio - both open and custom - over the next two to three years. A new suite of open programmes will be available in September/October, such as accounting for non-financial managers. Courses will be two to four days in length.

“We will build upon Cambridge’s brand and intellectual strength both to develop programmes and partner with industry.

“We feel that the business school is very much aligned with Cambridge [university] and we want to capitalise on our intellectual strengths,” says Mr Abeln.

The growth and brand of executive education is a crucial part of the university’s face to industry, adds Mr Abeln.

“We want to make sure executive education significantly contributes to the brand and the external reputation of the brand.“

A further goal for Mr Abeln is to invest in research and promote the results of this research in order to make an impact on industry. Research he says, needs to be relevant and can be if delivered in the context of executive education.

For Mr Abeln, his appointment is to some extent a return to his roots, since he holds a PhD in management from the Judge and an MPhil in international relations from Cambridge University.

He has a strong academic record. For the past three years he has been associate dean and director of executive education at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business. McCombs’ executive education degree programme is considered to be one of the largest in the US. Mr Abeln directed the MBA programme at the Massachusetts Institue of Tecyhnology, Sloan School of Management for five years and also directed both the MBA and EMBA programmes at the business school at Georgetown University, Washington.

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