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What a Difference a Decade Makes: Part II

The Financial Times published its 15th annual ranking of the world’s leading providers of executive education programs last week. Once again, what a difference a decade makes.

May 21, 2013

Blogging with me this week is my friend and colleague, Marie Eiter. Marie has spent several decades in executive education, leading the effort at both MIT Sloan and Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, as well as leading executive development at Chase Manhattan.  We’ve both spent a lot of time in and around management education and are avid watchers of – and participants in – the changes occurring in the industry.  So we’ve had a lot to talk about lately. 

One topic of recent discussion: the Financial Times published its 15th annual ranking of the world’s leading providers of executive education programs last week and, once again, what a difference a decade makes.

As is customary, there are two sets of rankings, one for customized programs that are tailored to the specific needs of a single corporation, and the other ranking is for open-enrollment programs tailored to the development needs of individual managers.

While the European schools have always had strong presence in the custom program market, we were surprised to see a number of U.S. schools that have usually held top positions in the open-enrollment rankings absent from the top-half of the list.  We have been watching these changes occur gradually, as every year one or two schools fall from the top 10 or the top 20.  But this year, we decided to do a ten-year comparison of the 2003 open enrollment rankings and the 2013 open enrollment rankings and the differences were dramatic.















In 2003, U.S. business schools dominated nine out the top ten positions.  By 2013, there were only five U.S. business schools ranked the top ten. Looking further down the charts showed a similar trend. In 2003, U.S. business schools held 75% of the top 20 spots and this year the number had fallen to less than half. In fact, four U.S. schools that appeared in the top 20 in 2003 have fallen off the chart completely.





Looking at the bottom half of the list, of those schools ranked 31-70, only two U.S. schools appear. However, what you quickly notice is the wide diversity of schools representing 22 different countries ranging from Norway to South Africa, from Peru to Egypt.

All of this makes us wonder about a few things. Are U.S. schools quietly conceding the open-enrollment market? Or perhaps many U.S. companies are bypassing business schools to hire faculty contractors for corporate university programs, hiring lower cost training firms, and purchasing off-the shelf online programs?  Does the nature of open-enrollment programs, focusing on the needs of individual managers, lend itself more to local/national institutions?  Or, as we asked regarding a similar decline in the dominance of U.S. MBA programs, is this an indication of America’s decreasing clout in the business world?

What do you think?




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