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10 08 When Companies Underestimate Low-cost Rivals Adrian Ryans
10 IsNotTheChange? MBA Obsolete If It Does Prof. Martha Maznevski
13 MBA Review CEO Magazine
16 Can you Survive Today’s Business World? Shellie Karabell
19 The Keys to Fordham’s Success Dr Francis Petit and Mary Kate Donato CEO
24 24 A Fresh Perspective in the Buckeye State Robert Krampf, Laurie Walker and Michael Mayo
30 Toasting MBA Success in Beautiful Reims Raymond Ouellet
33 Progressive Academia in the City of Light Alan Jenkins, Ashok Som, Beate Baldwin, Denis Morisset, Françoise Rey and Jeanine Picard
40 The ENPC MBA – The Journey Continues Dr Tawfik Jelassi and Alon Rozen
45 An Incubator of Entrepreneurship and Graduate Success João Duque and Jorge Landeiro de Vaz 2
Global issues? Global issues? Personal challenges?
N°. 10 FOR EXECUTIVE EDUCATION FINANCIAL TIMES, RANKING 2010
N°. 10 FOR EXECUTIVE EDUCATION FINANCIAL TIMES, RANKING 2010
65 51 The Energy MBA at the Heart of Portugal’s Renewable Revolution Pedro Falcão
56 Shaping the Ethically Responsible Managers of the Future Ari-Pekka Hameri, Guido Palazzo and Isabelle Chappuis
61 The EMBA of the Future, Today Peter Lorange
65 Setting the Standard Mike Gilbert and Gino Franco
72 Not Your Average MBA Susan Balint
76 Developing the Business Leaders of the Future Zeynep Canli
Global issues? Globalchallenges? issues? Personal Personal challenges?
N°. 10 FOR EXECUTIVE EDUCATION FINANCIAL TIMES, RANKING 2010
Global issues? Personal challenges?
grams at ESSEC
ry Brand Management itality Management (IMHI) nnheim Executive MBA
MBA Programs at ESSEC -
Global MBA MBA in Luxury Brand Management MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI) ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA
80 Blazing the Graduate Trail in Poland Dr Zuzanna Kalisiak
85 GFKM â€“ Where Business and Academia Meet Andrzej Popadiuk
91 ACultural Value-Added Network MBA in the Capital of the Netherlands Dr Steef Peters
99 The MBA of Choice in South Eastern Europe Ekaterina Dotseva
104 List of Contributors 99
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European MBA Review
Attackers are threatening premium players in market after market – and not only at the low end. Adrian Ryans, IMD »
hen low-cost competitors appear, one of the toughest decisions facing executives in companies with premium products and brands is whether to respond. Should the company or business unit adjust its strategy to meet the low-cost threat or should it continue business as usual, with no change in strategy or tactics? As these established companies attempt to define the nature and magnitude of the challenge, they often underestimate it. Sometimes executives are so focused on their traditional competitors, they don’t even recognize the threat developing from low-cost rivals. What executive isn’t familiar with the case of the low-cost airline Ryanair and its hugely successful entry into the European market at the expense of the region’s traditional carriers? Likewise, were the world’s leading telecommunications companies too busy competing with one another to recognize the threat from the Chinese low-cost competitor Huawei, now a leader in fixed-line networks, mobile-telecommunications networks, and Internet switches? Then there was Vizio, a little-known LCD TV supplier that overtook the premium brands in five years to become the North American market leader in large-format TVs. Complacency and arrogance produce blind spots that delay a response and leave incumbents vulnerable. But our study of low-cost competitors suggests that they also build momentum in slower-moving and more subtle ways— factors that established players might do well to pay closer attention to. At times, low-cost challengers build their presence stealthily by competing in undeveloped segments of a market. Or they can narrow capability gaps by tapping the look, feel, and suppliers of bigger rivals. In other cases, competition between low-cost entrants can produce unintended second-level effects that escape the notice of incumbents until it’s too late to prevent a severe erosion of their market position.
Taking time to gain momentum If the new low-cost challengers are competing in undeveloped segments on the fringe of the incumbents’ market, the initial sales impact may be muted. In these cases, even though the incumbents’ share of the overall market is falling, they often continue to grow, sometimes quite rapidly, lulling them into a false sense of security. This dynamic is a particular issue for companies operating in developing markets, especially in second- and third-tier cities or in rural areas, where market data are often much less transparent than they are in more mature markets. In some cases, low-cost players tap segments that take time to develop; they may require significant changes in behavior and new infrastructure to support growth. Typically, these types of changes do not happen overnight. They certainly didn’t for low-cost airlines. As a result of the dramatically lower prices that companies such as easyJet, Ryanair, and Southwest Airlines have brought to the air travel market, customers have quietly adopted new
forms of behavior that in turn rewrite the rules of the market. More people in Europe take weekend breaks in countries that are farther afield; before the rise of the low-cost airlines, these passengers would have traveled locally or regionally. Many workers in one part of Europe take advantage of job opportunities hundreds of miles away. Some doctors who live in continental Europe have parttime practices in the United Kingdom to help meet a practitioner shortage in certain regions. Even people with relatively low incomes, such as construction workers, “commute” between their homes and families in central and eastern Europe and their jobs in western and northern Europe. As prices fall and new kinds of behavior are established, growth accelerates rapidly.
Filling resource and capability gaps Some low-cost competitors rise more quickly than premium players anticipate by finding clever ways to overcome capability gaps. For example, when low-cost attackers get under way, they may copy the products of premium companies, sometimes matching designs, colors, model numbers, and promotional materials. (One Chinese manufacturer of textile machinery even helped its customers identify the product they should choose by indicating, in its own model numbers, both the premium brand and the model being copied.) In many industries, intellectual property can be licensed and used for a modest fee. Also, low-cost competitors have acquired interests in companies with access to desired technology, distribution channels, and customer relationships. Sometimes, low-cost competitors close quality and performance gaps with their premium
In some cases, low-cost players tap segments that take time to develop; they may require significant changes in behavior and new infrastructure to support growth.. rivals by taking advantage of support from customers and suppliers that are trying to protect and further their own business interests. Customers are often quite keen to have more competition among suppliers and in some cases help low-cost suppliers upgrade their offerings by providing information and support. Suppliers of capital equipment and parts used to manufacture products are eager to see low-cost competitors buy the latest equipment and components. Often, this material incorporates information from the suppliers’ premium customers and represents a transfer of knowledge and experience that may have built up over decades.
The role of second-order effects The initial impact of low-cost players on incumbent companies may not be the most important consideration. In many markets, if they are relatively easy to enter, a number of low-cost competitors may do so. There might be enough business for everybody at first, with little direct competition between the low-cost players. But as direct competition intensifies, one or two of the low-cost companies—sometimes “losers” in price wars in the market’s lower tiers—may try to escape it by differentiating their offerings and moving up in the market. The strategy of these losers often poses a much more direct and
formidable threat to the traditional players than the original low-cost strategy, since the attackers typically offer an enhanced product or service built on a low-cost base. A good example of second-order effects is occurring in the airline business in Europe. The intense battle between Ryanair and easyJet raised both their games, with Ryanair dominating the truly low-fare market and easyJet moving upmarket to compete much more directly with the full-service carriers in both airports served and services offered. The full-service carriers now face withering competition and cost pressure on most of their European routes. Sometimes second-order effects derive from the interplay between a low-cost competitor’s offers and the behavior of customers over time. One Indian chemical producer initially sold only a narrow range of offerings, but high volumes and low changeover costs allowed it to undercut a US rival in the European market and to capture a high share of sales. However, the US company did not immediately realize that the low prices would lead customers to rethink how they could formulate a broader range of their products to take additional advantage of the Indian producer’s relatively inexpensive chemicals. More volume shifted to the Indian producer, leaving the US company with an increasingly less economic mix of products.
European MBA Review
Fighting back Premium-brand companies have a few options for responding to these subtler attacks on their market position. The possible responses range from directly confronting a low-cost competitor in its market segment by launching competitively priced products to adjusting strategy in an attempt to isolate the business from the low-cost threat. Such a strategy might include shifting from the segments most vulnerable to attack by low-cost competitors. A customer focused primarily on product quality and reliability, for instance, may switch to a low-price offering if its producer can show that it is good enough in these respects. By contrast, customers attracted to a premium brand because it offers a total solution—for instance, financing, very high levels of technical support or service, and strong personal relationships—may be much less likely to switch. Premium players could therefore focus on selling solutions rather than physical products. One company that successfully dealt with a challenge from low-cost rivals was Nokia, which faced a particular threat in China.1 Motorola was the first mobile-phone handset manufacturer to set up operations there, in the late 1980s. It was soon followed by Ericsson and Nokia, and later by Samsung and Siemens. These foreign players dominated the small but growing market. In 2002, Motorola (the leader) and Nokia still controlled almost 50 percent of the Chinese market. Yet 18 months later, their combined share was down to less than 35 percent, and local players, such as Ningbo Bird and TCL, had captured more than 40 percent. These local companies offered low-priced phones designed to meet the needs of domestic consumers. Nokia responded rapidly to the threat. By 2005, it had introduced a number of new entry-level phones, including two designed just for China that enabled users to enter Chinese characters with a stylus. To counter the local rivals, which were particularly strong outside the major cities, Nokia revamped its distribution structure. The company had been relying on several supposedly national distributors that in reality provided good coverage only in the top ten cities. Nokia dropped several of these distributors, replacing them with about 40 provincial ones, and built a sales force of more than 1,000 people, with an additional 4,000 paid promoters at retail sites. (In peak periods, the promotional force could grow to more than 20,000 people.) By 2009, Nokia had about 90,000 sales outlets and 1,000 customer service centers. The company rapidly regained its lost market share. In recent years, it has captured about 35 percent of China’s mobile-phone market, despite stiff competition from the other leading global players and a large number of low-cost Chinese ones. Nokia is now the globally dominant competitor in the entry-level mobile-phone market. Executives always regret it when they don’t anticipate the scope of a low-cost threat and respond forcefully. To be sure, a failure to see competitors is an example of the forces of “creative destruction” at work in capitalism. But companies alert enough to identify the nature and magnitude of the challenge will be in a better position to find ways to hold the new competitors at bay. Acknowledgement: Courtesy of the Institute for Management Development (IMD).
BIOGRAPHY ★ Adrian Ryans is a professor of marketing and strategy at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), in Lausanne, Switzerland. This article is based partly on his book Beating Low-Cost Competition: How Premium Brands Can Respond to Cut-Price Rivals (Wiley 2009).
Is The MBA Obsolete If It Does Not Change? The world is more complex today than ever. Is the MBA still a good way to prepare business leaders in this new world? Prof. Martha Maznevski, IMD
uch has been said about the role of greed in creating our recent financial crisis. Indeed, many managers were motivated to get the most for themselves in the short term. But most managers were simply unprepared to anticipate the impact of their decisions in a more complex world. Often overlooked, the economic downturn of the last couple of years was also a crisis of naivete. Whether MBA programmes can teach ethics and responsibility is already in doubt. Are MBA programmes up to the bigger challenge of developing leaders who can manage complexity as well? Recent findings on leadership development are discouraging for typical MBA programmes in this ever more complex world. To build knowledge and skills that “stick” and lead to effective performance, experience and learning on the job are much more important than “academic” book or class learning. To create tacit knowledge - knowledge about how things work in context - you need experience. For executive development, companies are moving actively back to the old notions of apprenticeship and mentorship. However, we must take this research with a grain of salt. If it were just about experience, then every manager with experience would be able to lead in complexity. And we know that is not the case. If MBA programmes are to develop judgement and the ability to manage complexity for sustainable impact, they must incorporate these two learning principles for connecting knowledge and action. Sitting in a classroom is useful only when it prepares learners for action, and action should be connected with reflection and further formal knowledge-building. From day one, MBA programmes should therefore incorporate real-life experiences, such as real-impact projects with companies, integrating these experiences into the curriculum rather than having them as standalone courses (or worse, electives). Moreover, MBA programmes should include many such experiences, and should structure them to cover a spectrum of company sizes and stages, industries, and economic and cultural contexts. The programme should help learners to compare and contrast their different experiences, developing the ability to read situations and draw from a repertoire of responses. A real MBA should in essence mean “guided on the job leadership training”.
If the MBA is not to become obsolete, it must be structured to match the needs of the new, complex environment.
Incidentally, these principles are important not just for developing the ability to manage complexity, but also to address those elusive leadership attitudes and values such as ethics and responsibility. Learning to best lead with courage and integrity in tough situations occurs as a result of having faced those situations and reflected on them through dialogue. We learn to lead others effectively by working through difficult processes with people who are different from us. And we learn best how to lead change with informal influence by engaging in these processes actively and observing the results. In fact, using experiential learning principles to address these two sets of “soft skills” - leading responsibly and managing in complexity - at the same time, develops leaders who have the ability to make wise choices and implement them successfully. These principles are not easy to implement in formal, structured learning environments. By integrating action learning throughout an MBA programme, you open it up to loss of control and unpredictability. What if the company doesn’t cooperate? What if students don’t do a good job? What if our contact changes and the new person doesn’t want to work with us? What if their timing is different from ours? Live companies
and managers are notoriously more difficult to manage than textbooks and cases are, and as professors, we prefer to have our knowledge tied up neatly. If the MBA is not to become obsolete, it must be structured to match the needs of the new, complex environment. We must embrace the same level of complexity within our schools as we see in the environment, and we must learn to open ourselves up as real cases and examples. If business schools are prepared to live what we teach, then MBA programmes can become even more valuable. The opportunity is enormous - if we do build these principles into our programmes, we develop leaders who make a positive difference to our future. Isn’t it worth it? Acknowledgement: Courtesy of the Institute for Management Development (IMD).
BIOGRAPHY ★ Professor Martha Maznevski is the MBA Director at IMD.
2012 Global MBA Rankings
2012 GLOBAL MBA RANKINGS The benefits attached to an MBA qualification are significant. Career progression, networking opportunities and salary increases are just some of the reasons why application volumes have been increasing. »
aving made the decision to pursue an MBA, deciding upon a school is not easy. Many factors need to be considered, including location, reputation and teaching methods. However, preparing a shortlist of schools is perhaps the most difficult task, given the plethora of schools offering an MBA option. Therefore, in order to simplify the decision-making process, CEO Magazine has assessed the performance of MBA providers based upon certain key performance indicators:
Key Performance Indicators
ONLINE MBA School Rankings (Tier One) Babson College Boston University Cyprus Institute of Marketing Colorado State University Duke University George Washington University Georgia WebMBA Gonzaga University Grand Canyon University Hofstra University IE Business School Indiana University International University of Monaco Jones International University Keiser University Manchester Business School Pennsylvania State University Rochester Institute of Technology Strayer University Thunderbird School of Global Management University of Liverpool University of Phoenix University of San Francisco University of Wisconsin Whitewater Warwick University Worcester Polytechnic Institute
EMERGING MARKETS MBA School Rankings: ‘The Rising Stars’ (Tier One) SOUTH AND CENTRAL AMERICA ESAN University FIA Business School Florida Atlantic University IAE Business School IESE Universidad de La Sabana Universidad de los Andes Universidad Torcuato Di Tella University of the West Indies Cave Hill
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
FACULTY TUITION FEES INTERNATIONAL REACH INNOVATION DELIVERY METHODS CAREER PROGRESSION (WHERE POSSIBLE)
EASTERN EUROPE Aalto University of Economics Bucharest School of Management CEU Business School City University of Seattle – Bulgaria GFKM Polish Open University Riga Business School Sarajevo Graduate School of Business University American College Skopje University of Lodz USBSP Business School Praha Warsaw University of Technology Business School
NORTH AFRICA Cape Breton University German University in Cairo Regional IT Institute: Maastricht
MBA School Rankings BY REGION (Tier One) WESTERN EUROPE Ashridge Aston Business School Audencia Nantes School of Management University of Bangor City University: Cass Cranfield University University of Durham EADA EDHEC EGP-University of Porto Business School ENPC School of International Management
Those schools, which have been identified for inclusion into the tables below, are considered by the CEO Review Panel (CRP) to be of tier-one status. Typically, these schools demonstrate a high level of innovation and thought leadership; class sizes tend to be moderate, senior faculty are used and the make up of students is diverse.
Erasmus University: RSM ESADE HEC Lausanne HEC Paris Henley Business School IMD INSEAD International University of Monaco ISCTE ISEG Lemniscaat School of Management London Business School Lorange Institute of Business Zurich Nordakademie Nottingham University Business School Oxford University: Saïd Pforzheim University Reims Management School Strathclyde University Business School University College Dublin: Smurfit University of Bath University of Edinburgh University of Cambridge: Judge University of Derby University of Warwick University of Wolverhampton University of Zurich Vlerick Leuven Business School Westminster Business School
NORTHERN EUROPE Aalto University of Economics BI Norwegian School of Management Copenhagen Business School Hanken School of Economics Oulu Business School Stockholm School of Economics University of Gothenburg
2012 Global MBA Rankings SOUTHERN EUROPE SDA Bocconi University American College Skopje University of Bologna: Alma University of Pisa
EASTERN EUROPE Bucharest School of Management CEU Business School GFKM Polish Open University Riga Business School Sarajevo Graduate School of Business University American College Skopje University of Lodz US Business School Praha
NORTH AFRICA Cape Breton University German University in Cairo Regional IT Institute: Maastricht
SOUTH AFRICA Eastern & Southern African Management Institute MANCOSA North-West University RAU University Regent Business School Stellenbosch University Wits University UNISA University University of Cape Town University of Durban-Westville University of Nairobi University of Pretoria University of the Free State
EASTERN ASIA Aoyama Gakuin University Asian Institute of Technology China Europe International Business School Chinese University of Hong Kong City University of Hong Kong Hitotsubashi University Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Keio University Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology University of Hong Kong Waseda University
SOUTH ASIA AND OCEANIA Asian Institute of Management Chicago Graduate School of Business INSEAD Macquarie Graduate School of Management University of Melbourne Nanyang Technological University National University of Singapore The University of New South Wales University of Auckland University of Canterbury University of New England University of Queensland Victoria University of Wellington
NORTH AMERICA Carnegie Mellon: Tepper Columbia University Cornell University: Johnson University of Denver: Daniels Dartmouth College: Tuck Duke University: Fuqua
Emory University: Goizueta Fordham University: GSB Georgetown: McDonough Georgia State University: Robinson Harvard University HEC Montreal Indiana University: Kelley Kent State University Massachusetts Institute Technology: Sloan Northwestern University: Kellogg Princeton University Purdue University: Krannert Rutgers Business School Stanford University The University of Texas at Austin: McCombs Thunderbird School of Global Management UCLA: Anderson University of Arizona: Eller University of British Columbia: Sauder University of California Berkeley: Haas UC San Diego: Rady University of Chicago: Booth University of Michigan: Ross University of North Carolina: Kenan-Flagler University of Notre Dame University of Pennsylvania: Wharton University of Washington : Foster University of Wisconsin-Madison University Texas at Austin: McCombs Vanderbilt University: Owen Washington University in St. Louis: Olin Yale University
EXECUTIVE MBA Programme Global MBA Rankings (Tier One) Aalto University School of Economics Arizona State University: Carey Ashridge AVT Baylor University Bradford University Brigham Young University: Marriott China Europe International Business School Chinese University of Hong Kong City University: Cass College of William and Mary: Mason Columbia University Concordia University: Molson Copenhagen Business School Cranfield University Drexel University: LeBow Duke University: Fuqua Durham University EADA Emory University: Goizueta ENPC School of International Management Erasmus University: RSM ESCP Europe Essec Business School FIA Fordham University: GSB Georgetown University: McDonough Georgia State University: Robinson Henley Business School Hong Kong University of Science & Technology IAE Business School IE Business School IMD Imperial College INSEAD KoĂ§ University Lancaster University
London Business School Lorange Institute of Business Zurich Loyola University Maryland: Sellinger LSE Michigan State University: Broad National Taiwan University College of Management National University of Singapore New York University: Stern Northwestern University: Kellogg Ohio State University: Fisher Pepperdine University: Graziadio Princeton University Purdue University: Krannert Rice University: Jones Rollins College: Crummer Rutgers Business School Suffolk University: Sawyer Stockholm School of Economics Temple University: Fox TiasNimbas Thunderbird School of Global Management UCLA: Anderson Universidad Panamericana: IPADE University College Dublin: Smurfit University of California Berkeley: Haas University of California Irvine: Merage University of Cambridge: Judge University of Chicago: Booth University of Denver: Daniels University of Maryland: Smith University of Miami University of Michigan: Ross University of Minnesota: Carlson University of Navarra: IESE University of Oxford: SaĂŻd University of Pennsylvania: Wharton University of Rochester: Simon University of Strathclyde University of St.Gallen University of Texas at Austin: McCombs University of Texas at Dallas University of Toronto: Rotman University of Washington: Foster University of Western Ontario: Ivey University of Zurich Villanova School of Business Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Warwick Business School Washington University: Olin York University: Schulich
PART-TIME Global MBA rankings (Tier One) Carnegie Mellon: Tepper City University: Cass Drexel: LeBow Elon University: Love Georgia State: Robinson HEC Paris ISEG Northwestern University: Kellogg Rice University: Jones University of Richmond: Robins SMU: Cox The University of Chicago: Booth The University of Nebraska: Lincoln UCLA: Anderson University of California Berkeley: Haas University of Edinburgh University of Michigan: Ross USC: Marshall Westminster Business School
CHICAGO BOOTH HAS BEENBOOTH CALLED CHICAGO THE TOP HAS BEENBUSINESS CALLED SCHOOL THE THE TOP IN BUSINESS WORLD. IN WETHE ASKED SCHOOL WHY? WHAT’S WORLD. WE ASKED THE WHY?PROOF? WHAT’S THE PROOF?
The fact that we question every answer and test every result is what put us in this position in the first place. Our rigorous approach and free market thinking teach people how to think, not what to think. It’s an approach that has led to some pretty amazing results, including our consistent presence among the world’s most highly ranked business schools. Of course, we intend to stay at the top of the field, The factmore that we question every answer and unrivaled test every philosophy result is what but our serious commitment is to our of put us in thisand position in thethe firstnext place. Our rigorous approach and stimulating educating generation of innovative minds. free market thinking teach how to think, notawhat to think. It’s Chicago Booth—more than people just a business school, business force. an approach that has led to some pretty amazing results, including our consistent presence among the world’s most highly ranked business schools. Of course, we intend to stay at the top of the field, but our more serious commitment is to our unrivaled philosophy of stimulating and educating the next generation of innovative minds. Chicago Booth—more than just a business school, a business force.
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CHICAGO LONDON SINGAPORE CHICAGOBOOTH.EDU
CHICAGO LONDON SINGAPORE CHICAGOBOOTH.EDU2/18/10
North America & Global MBA Review
European MBA Review
Can you Survive Today’s Business Shellie Karabell, INSEAD Knowledge »
Innovation may be the buzz word, but it’s no panacea. Professor Morten Hansen and Jim Collins’ new book “Great by Choice” shows what else you need to stay alive and ahead of the rest.
hat separates the winners from the losers? The great from the failed? The successes from the also-rans? According to INSEAD professor of entrepreneurship Morten Hansen, it’s not luck, it’s not birthright, it’s not the fast-paced computer age, it’s not “innovation” and it’s not – despite what everyone says – the current economic recession. “You would expect that in a world that is changing constantly around you that what you ought to do is to morph into the next thing and the next thing and so on,” says Hansen. “But what we found in our research is that winners in the industries that we studied followed a path of consistent pacing. And in the long run, that is what paid off, even in chaotic industries.” Hansen and co-author Jim Collins studied 14 companies dating back 30 years to create “Great by Choice” (HarperBusiness), the sequel to Collins’ “Good to Great” detailing the cutting edge in business achievement. Using ‘qualitative match pair research,’ Hansen and Collins identified turbulent disruptive industries (such as bio-tech and airlines)
and looked at which firms had performed best financially over an extended period of time. They then paired these ‘winners’ with comparable companies in the same industry and analysed why success and failure occurred. “Think about two companies starting out running a marathon in the late 1970’s: you have two companies starting at the same time running the marathon together and one is ahead and winning by a lot, and the other is running on an average speed,” explains Hansen. “And the question is: what explains the difference in performance?”
The 20 mile march technique Hansen compares the ability to hit the target regardless of obstacles with the “20 Mile March.” It’s a simple strategy: you pace yourself, going a set number of miles per day no matter what the circumstances, good or bad. You use self-imposed restraints; discipline but not restriction. This is what Hansen believes is behind the success of Southwest Airlines – the only U.S. airline to reach something akin to greatness in the past turbulent 30 years.
“Southwest followed the same principles as the 20 Mile March. The way they became nationally dominant was because they followed a path of opening about four new cities every year,” Hansen explains. “So in bad years – four cities; in the good years – four cities. One year in the 1990’s there were one hundred cities that wanted Southwest to fly to them, because it is good for business. How many did they open in that year? Four. That 20 Mile March is what paid off for them.” The book paints a picture of a sort of corporate lonesome cowboy, following his own path despite distractions along the way, remaining aloof from the siren call of popularity, beating his industry peers by a multiple of ten over a 30-year period (yes, ten times in terms of shareholder returns over 30 years – Hansen and Collins dub them “Ten Xers”). But this is not to say he is impervious to his surroundings, or even to luck.
Paranoia can be productive
“What we found,” says Hansen, “is that this idea of pacing yourself was combined with another quality, which we call a leadership quality of ‘productive paranoia.’ By that we mean that some of the winners we selected – such as Bill Gates (Microsoft) or Andy Grove (Intel) were hypervigilant about the environment they were in. What are the threats that could hit them? What are the bad storms which could come their way? These leaders had their sensors up; they didn’t know when or in what form the bad times would come or in what shape: it could be a collapse in demand, it could be regulatory change, it could be an industry recession. And they prepared. Both Bill Gates and Andy Grove built up a large amount of cash on the balance sheet – that was one way to prepare for the storm.” Then there’s the big question of ‘luck.’ Hansen and Collins analysed that, too. Perhaps the 10Xers were just luckier. “We found that the winners and the non-winners had the same amount of luck, good and bad,” Hansen explains.
sSo it can’t be just luck alone that explains the difference. You have to do something with the luck that comes your way. You can’t squander it. You have to execute brilliantly in the moment. “So the winners saw not only tough times ahead, they also foresaw a certain amount of luck and were prepared for that, too. When that luck came their way, they disrupted their plans and they executed brilliantly to get the maximum return on that luck. So it’s not how much luck you get; it’s the return you get on that luck.” Overall, Hansen’s book puts pay to the idea that innovation is the be-all and end-all of the future. The greatest innovator isn’t necessarily the biggest winner. Once you achieve an ‘innovation threshold’ that puts you in the top tier of your industry and you are playing with the big guys, it does no good to be even more innovative.
Innovation is not enough “Once you reach a threshold in your industry, there doesn’t seem to be a bigger payoff,” avers Hansen. “It’s just a ticket to play. What we found that you need in combination with that innovation is discipline. The combination of having discipline and being creative – that is the hard part. Few companies or people can do that.” Intel, he says, is one such company, exemplified by its slogan ‘Intel Delivers.’ Hansen continues, “That slogan means ‘We are disciplined. We can scale up the innovation. We can deliver at large volume, at good quality and in time.’ So you’ve got creativity and discipline. ‘Intel delivers’ is a more apt description of their advantage than ‘Intel innovates’.” And what did Hansen himself learn from his research? “A personal learning for me was around the question of ‘luck.’ You can’t just say “Well I didn’t get lucky,” or “Somebody else got lucky. Or maybe I got lucky.” It is not what matters in the end. We all get a lot of luck, but that does not make one win and others lose. It is what you do with the luck you get in life that counts—your return on luck.” He is also convinced business finds itself in a new world. “I believe the business world is never going to return to an era of stability” he opines. “And because of that we live in a permanent state of uncertainty and turbulence. And therefore we need new leadership principles that are relevant for this new kind of business era.” Acknowledgement: Courtesy of INSEAD Knowledge.
BIOGRAPHY ★ Shellie Karabell is the Executive Editor of INSEAD Knowledge.
youcuting-edgeideas ndpracti esandtakeyourcare rto henextlev l. Your market is changing. Your competition Your market is changing. is changing.
Vistusw w.gsb.columbia.edu/embaorcal usat212.854.171 Your organization Your competition is changing. is changing.
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And you? What are youBusiness changing? The Columbia School Executive MBA Program The decision to pursue an MBA is a defining moment in the life of high potential executives looking to enhance their expertise without interrupting their careers. Learn how the Columbia Business School Executive MBA programâ€™s innovative curriculum, collaborative learning environment outstanding faculty willProgram give The Columbia Business Schooland Executive MBA you cutting-edge ideas and practices and take your career to the next level. The decision to pursue an MBA is a defining moment in the life of high potential executives looking to enhance their expertise interrupting their careers. Visit us www.gsb.columbia.edu/emba or callwithout us at 212.854.1711 Learn how the Columbia Business School Executive MBA programâ€™s innovative curriculum, collaborative learning environment and outstanding faculty will give you cutting-edge ideas and practices and take your career to the next level. Visit us www.gsb.columbia.edu/emba or call us at 212.854.1711
The Keys to
Alexandra Skinner talks to Dr Francis Petit and Mary Kate Donato »
Fordham GBA Today
In recent decades, the trend for enrolment in MBA studies has been directly influenced by economic flux. Has Fordham observed this relationship and how has it affected your MBA offering?
The general rule of thumb is that if the economy is weak, more professionals flock to graduate programmes, particularly to MBA programmes, to ride out the economic situation. On the other hand, if the economy is strong and robust, fewer professionals enroll in MBA programmes so as to not miss out on professional work opportunities. In addition, for MBA and Executive MBA programmes, weak economies also bring on less tuition reimbursement. Overall, while this model can be applied to all business schools, including Fordham’s Graduate School of Business Administration (Fordham GBA), what Fordham has to its advantage is its wonderful location within the Lincoln Centre area in New York City. Our city, by and large, is an attractive destination for international students wishing to study in the financial capital of the world. It is also a vibrant, opportunity-rich city for our part-time students. With that said, our cumulative enrolments within our diverse portfolio of MBA and MS programmes have historically always remained strong regardless of the economic conditions. Our location and position as the Jesuit University of New York City along with our spirited students and graduates have all attributed to this occurrence.
(a) With the increasing percentage of Generation Y students embarking on MBA programme, schools have needed to adapt their programme or face the possibility of looking stale. Do you feel that your MBA programme have evolved in line with the expectations of potential students?
The MBA and MS programmes at Fordham GBA are continually updated with the changing and evolving market needs. Our Dean,
Dr David Gautschi, is also wanting to make additional changes to the MBA programme in 2012. Generation Y students, of course, provide opportunities and challenges for business schools. They are technology savvy, they expect personalisation and they also expect to be heard. These are all positives, as it creates not only better student services but, more importantly, increased collaboration and engagement. There is so much intellectual and professional capital within the hallways of Fordham GBA. Generation Y students enhance these elements, creating a better ‘MBA experience’ for all stakeholders.
(b) You have launched four new master’s degree programmes. Kindly expand upon this, the motivation behind the new offerings and the appetite thus far for these programme.
The MBA market, by and large, is finite. An MBA is a generalist qualification targeted at professionals with, in most cases, some work experience who are looking to advance in the areas of strategy and management within organisations across all industries. Whilst this demographic may seem large, it is still finite, but there are other markets that can be effectively served by the Fordham Business Faculty. These segments include the ‘pre-experienced’ market wanting to obtain graduate business education, as well as functional specialists, such as those in investor relations and taxation, who seek MS programmes. Our overall goal is to effectively serve multiple segments while keeping the Fordham MBA as our flagship programme. The initial response to these new MS programmes has been very positive, and we anticipate increasing growth and momentum.
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Over the last year we have continually highlighted the decline in admission standards across the board, which is somewhat disconcerting. However, you appear to be bucking the aforementioned trend. What impact has this had on the volume and quality of applications you have been receiving?
In order to maintain student enrolment volume, business schools sometimes lower their academic standards to reach their quotas. This can occur when a decrease in demand is apparent in the MBA market. At Fordham this has never been an issue. Our portfolio has always been diverse, offering MBA and MS programmes, and with the new MS programmes we will be increasingly selective with our MBA admissions.
You offer the Fordham Accelerator for Business programme (FAB), designed to assist young entrepreneurs in launching a business. To what extent has the programme acted as a catalyst in the development of the local economy?
Our portfolio has always been diverse, offering MBA and MS programmes, and with the new MS programmes we will be increasingly selective with our MBA admissions.
To what extent are you liaising with local and national businesses in order to understand the ROI expectations of employers and how much influence do these businesses have on the structure of your MBA offering?
The ROI is an increasingly important indicator for prospective MBA students and their organisations prior to enrolment. This is a natural occurrence given the financial and time investment required to obtain an MBA. There have been various studies generated by the Executive MBA Council and other governing bodies on ROI. What I have seen is that, upon completing a programme, the issue of ROI becomes secondary and even tertiary for many students and companies. The reason for this is that the MBA, in itself, profoundly changes MBA and EMBA students in relation to their perspective, outlook, confidence and their views on creating, delivering and sustaining value. Some outreach has been made to companies regarding ROI, especially with EMBA recruiting. However, with the dwindling corporate financial sponsorship across all MBA programmes, our goal is to also communicate the Fordham MBA and EMBA value proposition to the end user; the student. Our goal is to get them excited about the Graduate School of Business Administration at Fordham University and our unique, collaborative and vibrant community. We want to let them know what we are all about and discover, most importantly, if Fordham is the right fit for them. This allows our students to think on a different level about ROI.
As you know, the FAB programme has recently launched and is a pre-incubation programme designed to help prepare young entrepreneurs to launch a business. The programme is designed to provide participants with experience â€˜starting upâ€™ a business, and allows them to work directly with faculty and community coaches. The overall goal of this three-module programme is to impact business and economic development in New York City, and the programme is open to the whole Fordham community. The initial feedback to this launch has been extremely positive and it is set to gain strong momentum.
Short courses have long been popular with executives and employers and most business schools recognise this and cater accordingly. You have had a great deal of success in this area; however, do you have any plans to cater to businesses seeking a bespoke solution for their executives?
In terms of open enrollment programmes, the Fordham Graduate School of Business Administration has limited offerings. We do offer The Fordham Management Institute: Highlights of the MBA Executive Course which allows professionals and executives the opportunity to obtain the needed business content so that they can apply it to their careers immediately. Overall, since the open enrolment executive education market has not been growing as of late, we have not been expanding our offerings. We do, however, have various new faculty-in-residence and these individuals have provided unique short executive courses to the Fordham and business community. One such faculty member is Professor Jonathan Story, who has lectured on business and geopolitics.
Professor Story will also be offering a short executive course entitled Doing Business in Europe, which will be offered in London in 2012 and will be open to current students as well as EMBA alumni. This will be part of the Executive Certificate Programme offered in the EMBA programme. A second faculty member is Professor Peter Pace, who served as the 16th Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, who lectures on leadership and strategy. Additional short lectures with prominent global scholars are forthcoming.
There is an increasing demand for entrepreneurship, the lifeblood of the economy, in the MBA curriculum. How much emphasis do you place upon this important dynamic?
Entrepreneurship at Fordham is definitely on the growth side. Dr David Gautschi is putting resources into entrepreneurship, as seen with the development of the FAB programme and the momentum that has. I think that one of the things that plagues organisations is developing an innovative mindset. Most organisations don’t have it. We have CEOs whose average lifespan is six years and who have to report earnings every 90 days, so it’s very difficult to be innovative
and entrepreneurial. In terms of developing the mindset, certainly on the EMBA programme, the goal is to develop a strategic leader. The programme has a global strategy and a management development focus. We look at how to create, deliver and sustain value. Obviously, being entrepreneurial and innovative is all about value and it’s an indirect theme in the programme.
When selecting an MBA programme provider, faculty, reputation and curriculum are obviously key factors. However, how important are the people that an applicant meets when visiting a business school, be they alumni, students or staff members, in the decision making process?
The community is the key ingredient for a business school. This includes faculty, staff, current students and graduates. It is so important for prospective students to feel whether a particular school is the right fit for them, and they can tell this straight away through the individuals they encounter. Speaking with a specific programme director, member of the faculty or current student can and should have a big impact on the decision-making process of a prospective student, and it certainly does within Fordham’s EMBA programme.
Fordham will continue to establish new international partnerships, increase faculty scholarship, and maintain a continuous dialogue on the societal value of business.
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MBA hiring and starting salaries have been increasing. Are you able to talk about the success Fordham graduates have enjoyed in the job market of late?
There was a career fair in September for our current MBA students. There were over 20 companies represented and it was very well attended by our students. What this shows is that with companies paying less and less towards fees, students are demanding more and more career services. This is especially true of EMBA programmes. In the past, when companies were fully sponsoring these programmes, universities were not involved in career services because they didn’t want to negatively impact their relationship with a company. Now we have a different focus; a concept of career coaching, working on the relationship between the coach and the students and the advice that’s given, but also the process of putting these executives in networking situations where opportunities can arise. Overall, what we see are students who demand more career management activities as they are paying more out of pocket. I think schools are working to build on this and build their offerings, and it will be interesting to see the direction that it will go. It’s more about development of the person and finding out who they are, and
not so much a focus for a particular job, or ROI on their salary. This means that when they go out into the career world, we feel that we’ve created a strong and rounded person. Going to school full-time is a risk and an unknown. It’s an employers’ market and having a job is a precious thing. Anyone who is unemployed can vouch for that - even if it’s just an interim job, a job is certainly a job. However, even just 15 years ago it was an MBA students’ market; graduates were getting signing bonuses as the big banks were worried that they were going to lose people to the dot-coms, but obviously it runs in cycles. Our students are prepared for their role and their expectations have been managed. This is part of career management.
The Big Issues Impacting the MBA Landscape in 2011
Next year, the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) will incorporate a new section on integrated reasoning, designed to test the advanced reasoning and analytical skills that students will be required to apply in classrooms. Do you think this will further assist business schools in the screening of candidates?
We look at how to create, deliver and sustain value. Obviously, being entrepreneurial and innovative is all about value and it’s an indirect theme in the programme.
The GMAT has always been a useful tool in determining if a prospective student can do well academically in business school. In fact, if you score well on the exam, you should be able to do well academically within an MBA programme. However, the GMAT, like all other market products, must continue to innovate or it will be left behind. Therefore, a new section on integrated reasoning can only be a good thing. It should be noted that the GMAT system, in some ways, is under threat. An increasing amount of EMBA programmes, though Fordham is not among these, no longer require the GMATs for admission. In addition, there are some who argue that doing well in business school and in one’s career also requires desire and enthusiasm, which cannot be measured, at least for now, by a standardised exam. There are others who argue that emotional, social and spiritual intelligence are increasingly important factors in career trajectories, alongside academic intelligence. With that said, the GMATs are very important in the admissions screening process, but there are other factors that must also be taken into consideration.
In trying to produce effective managers and the business leaders of the future, ethical, social and environmental concerns have been high on the list of many business schools. To what extent has Fordham integrated the aforesaid points into its MBA offering and how important is the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit – to today’s high potential managers?
In addition to offering a mandatory business ethics course to our EMBA students, the programme
Speaking with a specific programme director, member of the faculty or current student can and should have a big impact on the decision-making process of a prospective student, and it certainly does within Fordham’s EMBA programme. launched a Professional and Personal Development Initiative (PPDI) within the Jesuit tradition of Fordham University in 2010. The PPDI focuses on the development of the entire individual beyond the curriculum. In addition to this, our EMBA students not only have access to a career coach, but also experience a wellness programme alongside social skills training. Overall, today’s leaders must be personally ‘centred’ in order to effectively lead on all fronts. This centering is in the form of balance, social responsibility and sustainability. Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York City and our PPDI programme prepares leaders who are sensitive to their colleagues and the environment around them, in addition to the bottom line. Dr David Gautschi has launched the Fordham Consortium on the Societal Value of Business, which focuses on the purpose and role of business within the greater good of society. The consortium is a continuous dialogue, with three meetings per year, spread across the globe. Members of the consortium include Fordham faculty, professionals in business, government officials, military personnel, religious leaders and musicians, amongst others.
Fordham continues to evolve. What can you tell us about the next 12-18 months?
This is an exciting time for Fordham GBA. Dr David Gautschi is leading our institution and creating momentum around Fordham. Within the next 12-18 months we will be launching new programmes at both degree and executive education levels. Fordham will continue to establish new international partnerships, increase faculty scholarship, and maintain a continuous dialogue on the societal value of business.
BIOGRAPHY ★ Dr Francis Petit is the Associate Dean for Executive MBA Programs at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business Administration. He also serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Marketing at Fordham.
★ Mary Kate Donato is Program Associate for Fordham’s Executive MBA programs.
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A Fresh Perspective in the Alexandra Skinner speaks to Robert Krampf, Laurie Walker and Michael Mayo »
We have a focus on keeping the curriculum current, fresh and relevant to demands today and in the future.
Kent State University Today
In recent decades, the trend for enrolment in MBA studies has been directly influenced by economic flux. Has Kent State University (KSU) observed this relationship and how has it affected your MBA offering? RK: We felt the impact of the economy with the
August 2011 class. It was a tough recruiting year, and our numbers were down a little. We normally like to have 25-30 in a class and we had 21 this year. However, the previous year, when the economy was in downturn, we had 33 in the class. We admitted more than we wanted thinking that at least three people would turn us down. However, all 33 accepted and so we had a larger class than anticipated and the recruiting was easier. In order to respond to economic flux, we try to make our programme a little more unique. We offer a professional development module, and this is something that no one else in this area is doing. We’re also using technology to differentiate ourselves from the competition and to try to counter any potential decrease in application numbers. LW: We wanted to look at what the reasons for
the decrease were, as we were still getting a good number of prospective students at the information sessions. We found that the predominant reason for the decline was the employer being unable to reimburse at a level that the individual could afford. It wasn’t that we didn’t have enough interest in the programme; instead it was more
about cost. However, this is also an area in which we feel that we are very competitive, so our fees are another area of differentiation for us.
With the increasing percentage of Generation Y students embarking on MBA programmes, schools have needed to adapt their programmes or face the possibility of looking stale. Do you feel that your MBA programmes have evolved in line with the expectations of potential students? LW: We have just been reviewed a study called
‘The College of 2020: Students’, conducted by Chronicle Research Service, with a focus on keeping the curriculum current and fresh and relevant to demands today and in the future. We’re also trying to keep up-to-date in terms of the technology that the students are using, particularly with the online elements that we’ve introduced to the healthcare MBA. We’re now looking for student feedback to see if we should be introducing some of the same technology into the corporate programme, and we’re constantly looking at technologies that can work in this way. We frequently look at the structure of the classes, and often provide the lectures online so that the homework is done in class. This works particularly well for the healthcare MBA. However, we also want to make sure that we maintain personal contact. With this in mind, if you were to look at a spectrum that has the traditional classroom at one end and the fully online course at the other, we see the healthcare
specialisation a little further towards the online side and the corporate a little more towards the traditional classroom. We’re considering moving the corporate further towards the online, and we’re conducting a survey with current students to look at how they feel about this. The corporate programme is currently set up as seven meetings, with the middle one being online, but we acknowledge that learning styles change with technology and so this may change.
To what extent are you liaising with local and national businesses in order to understand the ROI expectations of employers and how much influence do these businesses have on the structure of your MBA offering? RK: We offer the executive MBA (EMBA) pro-
gramme in-house to Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) and they have been a partner in education with us for quite a while. Of the 24 participants that completed the programme five years ago, 22 of them are still with the firm, and all of them have received a promotion since they graduated. This tells us that the programme does provide a good ROI for firms. An ROI concept is very relevant. We have been looking at it from both the student and the company side, and we would like to get hard data on both of those. One of the reasons that I wanted to do the programme with B&W is because ROI is a topic that everyone is focussed on. We’re accredited by AACSB and it’s an issue there, it’s an issue to companies and it’s an issue to the individuals. We certainly feel that, because we are a lower-priced programme providing high quality delivery, it is likely that the return on investment is good. We are looking at other ways to improve ROI. We’re starting a new concept called ‘Lunch and Learn’. We will take our professors into companies, such as B&W, and they will spend an hour lecturing on various topics. We’re hoping that this will not only help to recruit students, but that it will also allow firms to see how good our faculty is. If they know that students are learning from great professors they will be able to see that the return will be high.
Value for Money
Your cohorts are relatively small, thus ensuring students receive the one-toone help and support they need. Whilst this is very impressive and, of course, ensures that you are able to continue to attract high potential middle managers, given the price point attached to your full-time and parttime programmes, have you considered increasing your intake? RK: We would like to have more than 21. Our
goal in the corporate programme would be a maximum of 30 and in healthcare a maximum
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of 25, and this is where we’ll stay. We believe that these are the right sizes of cohorts to work with; it leads to greater quality of classroom experience and you get to know the students better. LW: The number of students in the healthcare programme is a little lower, and there are two main reasons for this. Firstly, it is still quite a new programme for us and so is not yet as well known as the corporate programme. The second reason is that we predominantly have students with a business background coming into our corporate programme. However, those enrolling on the healthcare MBA tend to have a clinical background and so a lot of the concepts on the course are new to them. We want to make sure that we are able to spend adequate time with them. RK: The online component is greater with the healthcare programme so, although the content of the two programmes is almost identical, there is a different format of delivery. With healthcare, there are on-site meetings once a month with online in-between. With the corporate programme it’s every Saturday for seven weeks with the middle Saturday being delivered online. Laurie came on board when we were looking to introduce the healthcare MBA. She did research not only on whether we should do the programme, but on how it should be delivered. She held focus groups with students and used a steering committee to help in the design.
Of the 24 participants that completed the programme five years ago, 22 of them are still with the firm, and all of them have received a promotion since they graduated. We were primarily focussed on delivery, and one of the things that the steering committee told us was that the format we were using for the corporate would not work for healthcare as people in the industry often work on weekends. Based on this we decided on a Thursday evening and all day Friday and Saturday once a month. As we found out very quickly, online takes a lot more time to design and deliver and there is more faculty and student interaction during the period in-between on-site classes. We started the first class with 20 and the faculty fed back that this was the right amount and that anymore would be difficult to manage.
Given the quality of your faculty and the international exposure your students enjoy, how are you able to maintain such competitive pricing? RK: Firstly, our faculty work very hard. We pay on an overload basis; this
is not part of their teaching load. This is discretionary money to them meaning, we can keep the price down a little bit. Secondly, with the MBA programme no one has the right to teach, and we will change a faculty member quickly if they are not delivering in the classroom. Students have to learn; there has to be value, and there has to be good quality teaching. There is a prestige that has begun to develop in teaching in the EMBA. Faculty want to teach, but they also know that the requirements and the expectations are high. Some shy away from it because they don’t want to be under that pressure whilst others say that it’s what they want to do. I recently spoke at the MBA subcommittee, a committee on all of the college’s MBA programmes, and I had 10 minutes to talk about what was happening on the EMBA programme. Whilst I was speaking I could feel that I had the full attention of the room. Everybody was interested in hearing about the EMBA.
We are setting ourselves a fairly high standard. We don’t just want to be out there seeing what healthcare is like internationally; we want to know where the best prevailing administrative practices are taking place. KSU’s EMBA for Healthcare Professionals
Your healthcare MBA has gone from strength to strength. To what do you attribute this success? LW: We started the programme when the
healthcare reform bill was passing, and so it was a very timely launch for that first cohort. Our convenient online format is a strength for the programme that we continue to improve. The concept of integrating healthcare into all courses though team teaching by professors and guest speakers with corporate healthcare experience has also been a strong point.
You offer an optional international study trip upon completion of the programme. Am I correct in thinking that this is something you have added recently and what was the motivation behind this? MM: The International Business Excursion is
a first for the healthcare programme. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has a big focus on
looking at systems and the strengthening of them and we wanted to reflect that. When we were looking at planning the trip we were, in a sense, trying to find out who the design studios in healthcare were, who was at the frontier of the field, and what the business implications for both were. As we look at healthcare, and the trip itself, we are setting ourselves a fairly high standard. We don’t just want to be out there seeing what healthcare is like internationally; we want to know where the best prevailing administrative practices are taking place. We went to the WHO to see how they bring best practice forward and pragmatically deal with healthcare legalities so that we can find a design system for developing countries. This will be a teaching point for our students. We are now speaking to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. They are involved with the top 30 economies and are a policy-making research group. One of the areas that they look at is healthcare and healthcare value in particular; what value is and how to
get a return on investment. All of our executive students are in administrative positions, and this is a very timely issue and probably an issue that will be with us for a long time. We will be looking at how to make the healthcare industry responsive, efficient, and at the same time, quality oriented.
What benefits are students able to glean from the experience?
We hope that, as with other international situations, it will provide a compare and contrast around issues that are important to the students and give them perspective. All of the students will be required to conduct an interview on their own. They will need to find someone at the WHO, or a non-governmental firm, and speak to them about an issue of personal or professional interest. The ideal would be that they find someone who could be a collaborator at some time in the future. We’ll have 14 people on the trip, which will make for fantastic discussion. There will be a debriefing session afterward so that students can share their experiences.
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KSU’s Alumni Network You have an alumni network of over 1,100 EMBA graduates employed throughout the world. Can we also presume from the aforementioned figure that students are given significant support in terms of career resources and placement? RK: In terms of career resources, our major
effort is with Michael Duchon who is a career coach with numerous certifications. We’re not a placement organisation; people aren’t coming to us wanting to switch jobs or without job. That’s not our role. We really want students to stay with the company that they’re with, but if they want to move on to get a better job or higher pay and they personally benefit, then that’s great.
KSU continues to evolve. What can you tell us about the next 12-18 months?
LW: We want to continue with the coaching
and professional development parts of the programme and see how well they are received. We have been providing online math resources that we’re expecting feedback on soon, and we will be offering it for the healthcare programme prior to its commencement to get the students started. It will be interactive, explaining how to solve a problem step-by-step, and will be supplemented by text and video. One of the ideas that we have talked about is whether it may be advantageous for us to move
There is a prestige that has begun to develop in teaching in the EMBA. Faculty want to teach, but they also know that the requirements and the expectations are high. to a new campus. We have a regional centre in Twinsburg that is right at the intersection of two major freeways. We talked to them early on to make sure that the rooms are what EMBAs need, and now we’re speaking to them about moving there for our next corporate cohort. We will be surveying our current students to see how they would have felt about it and to see if it would be advantageous. It would be a big move for us and so it must be a positive move. RK: If you look at the interstate road structure all of the roads go to Twinsburg, so we could attract people from Pittsburgh, Erie, Cleveland, Akron and Toledo. If we wanted to expand our market, then it could be a good idea. The MBA Plus is the newest concept that we would like to introduce, and is something I’ve been working on for about a year. The concept is to bring students back, graduates from our programmes as well as those from other colleges and business schools, and offer classes in specialised areas. Some students have expressed that they would like more development in leadership or enterprise resource planning (ERP). These may
be offered on weekends, or over a week for something more detailed, and the student will do the session on campus, get credit hours for doing so and receive a specialisation in the subject. Other departments in the college have expressed some interest in risk management and supply chain management, so these would be specialisations that are good for graduates outside of the business school.
BIOGRAPHY ★ Robert Krampf, Ph.D. is the Academic Director of Executive Programmes at Kent State University.
★ Laurie Walker is the Programme Director of Executive MBA Programmes at Kent State University.
★ Michael Mayo, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Director of the Global Management Centre at Kent State University.
European MBA Review
European MBA Review
Toasting MBA Success in Beautiful Reims Alexandra Skinner speaks to Raymond Ouellet »
The RMS MBA offering consists of an International MBA (IMBA) and Executive MBA (EMBA), which you offer in partnership with Rouen Business School. Please can you give a brief overview of each programme?
The IMBA takes place at RMS. It’s a 12 to 18 month full-time programme targeted at middle managers with three to five years work experience. The programme consists of core courses, electives, a business plan project and is taught in English. The EMBA is 18 months and targets middle managers and executives with five to 10 years work experience. It is a part-time programme and students meet once a month for three days. The programme consists of seminars, two to three study tours and is taught in French and English.
You have the ‘triple crown’ of accreditations from AMBA, EQUIS and the AACSB, something that less than one per cent of management schools can lay claim to. What does this mean for your students and how does this enhance your qualification?
The triple accreditation becomes part of the set of criteria that students use to evaluate a programme. The fact that we have achieved this puts us in a different space to other business schools, and our students are telling us that they have chosen RMS because, along with our price, ranking and location, we have the triple accreditation.
The accreditations also show that we have reached a level of professionalism, seriousness and attention to detail in our programme, and are similar to a quality standard that is typical for the top-ranked business schools around the world.
RMS has four core values; academic excellence, professional relevance, an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, and respect for oneself, for others and for the world. Please can you explain how you bring these into the classroom? ❯ Academic Excellence: We want to have faculty that are at the leading edge of their discipline, whether they are PhDs or not, as well as faculty who have business experience and are not just academics. This is one of the big distinctions that we make with our MBAs. ❯ Professional Relevance: All of our students have been accepted because they have professional experience, and this is an important ingredient of an MBA. In addition, we have professionals who come in as guest speakers to express their experiences, opinions and ideas about business to students. ❯ Innovative and Entrepreneurial Spirit: Both programmes have a business plan project. In the EMBA this is an individual plan that each participant must
develop and present. It can be a start up business, a project that is related to taking over another business, or it could involve working with an entrepreneurial organisation in Reims that needs business guidance. We try to put our participants in touch with each other in the incubator in order to work together in creating a business plan. ❯ Respect: This touches on an MBA oath – being ethical and moral. In the IMBA and EMBA these are already values that are expressed by the group, and when we ask them to establish values for their own cohort, invariably they’ll include honesty and respect for others.
RMS and the Global Market
A key focus for the school is global responsibility, and you support the UN Global Compact on sustainable development. How much emphasis do you place on this dynamic, and how is it realised in the MBA programme?
We include a course on sustainable development in the IMBA - it’s held at RMS and so we have a little more flexibility with the curriculum. In the EMBA it’s a little more restrained, so when we hold our study tours we ask the organisers to include something about sustainable development and each country’s approach to it to allow participants to debate and compare what’s
Reims Management School (RMS) MBA
The work environment is much more competitive for students graduating now, and so we try to give them more help in the form of workshops and high levels of coaching. happening in France and in their own companies with what’s happening in the places that we visit. Where possible, we try to undertake sustainability activities. Two years ago we had a group that was extremely interested in the subject and so they organised a conference and the full-time MBA programme sponsored it. We also have an event called the VIP day that happens once a year. This is sponsored in part by the City of Reims and is a networking and workshop event designed to bring graduate students back to Reims to reconnect with the city. Last year the emphasis was on sustainable development and what some of our graduates were doing in that field. The RMS faculty, who focus on sustainable development, don’t want to simply include it as a course on the MBAs as it becomes too isolated. What they’re trying to do instead is to have sustainable thinking in all of the subjects taught on the programme.
and Rouen, and so students need to be able to access Paris easily and regularly. For the new programme beginning in March we have changed from three study trips to two, and we have also changed the locations. We wanted to make sure that we were doing something in a BRIC country and we decided upon India and Brazil. Each trip will be one week long and will take place in August 2012.
You include a career guidance component on the RMS MBA and provide students with coaching and workshops in this area. How important is the provision of career development services to the modern MBA student?
Primarily, these choices have come from the fact that, even just five years ago, we had a much higher percentage of French students on the programme, and it was a way for them to learn outside of France. So originally we were looking at where French students would like to go to study, and so we settled on North America and Spain. More recently we have extended this to China and Taiwan, and also into emerging markets such as South America and South Africa. We have 14 nationalities that are typically in our programme, and so the overseas options change when you have a different mix of students and will vary depending on their motivations.
At RMS we’ve always worked with our international career department and career services and over the years have started to include coaching and workshops. Career development is becoming more important to students, particularly with the financial situation as it is. Students want to know about the guarantees of work upon completion, and this is one of the questions that has become much more prevalent in the last three to five years. The work environment is much more competitive for students graduating now and so we try to give them more help in the form of workshops, high levels of coaching, the development of interview techniques and motivational letter writing. Once we’re comfortable that their CV is up to standard and that their interview techniques are strong, we will help to organise meetings with headhunters and recruiters for them. Our career services are being provided primarily for the IMBA. However, we’re now seeing in the EMBA that there are some people being made redundant during the programme, or those who have gained a new perspective or motivation that is beyond their current work and realise that it is unlikely that they will receive promotion in their organisation and so start to look outside. Because of this, our EMBA students are becoming more interested in career development activities as well. We will put a 360-degree appraisal into place with our executives next year so that they’ll have a good idea of who they are and what their leadership qualities are.
With the EMBA, the internationalisation happens primarily with the faculty and through the study tours. On the EMBA, typically, 90 per cent of students are French; the programme takes place at the Paris Executive Campus, a joint venture entity of executive education between RMS
There are a few factors here. The first is that we look closely at the profile of the student who is coming in, the second is the quality of the teaching that they receive, and the third is what we do
The IMBA offers students the opportunity to spend the second semester abroad with one of your partner institutions in the USA, Spain, Mexico, Asia or South Africa. Please can you explain the thinking behind each of these strategic partnerships?
The EMBA also offers an international element, with international study trips to Brazil and India. Please can you tell our readers more about the purpose of each of these trips?
Graduates of the RMS MBA enjoy great success in the employment market with 93 per cent of students finding work within four months of completing the programme and 95 per cent receiving promotion. To what do you attribute this success?
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We want to continue to provide a distinctive and differentiated product. There are so many MBAs in France and in Europe that you have to keep on updating and have an exciting offering. to help them in the employment market. I think that these three things together are a good measure of the drivers of success. We prepare students mentally from the beginning. We want them to recognise that things could be difficult and so they will need to work harder. I personally feel obliged to tell students about how much work will be involved in the process, and staff and students work together to make things happen.
The Alumni Network
The RMS-network has 23,000 members of which 1,700 are MBA graduates. How important are the alumni from a support and networking standpoint?
The alumni are all part of the support mechanism. In the IMBA, candidates contact alumni to find out what their experience at RMS was like. In locations where we may not have someone from our admissions staff going, we will ask someone from our alumni to attend an MBA fair and they’ll be the face of the institution for the MBA programme. We will also get them involved as students, and so even before they leave they become ambassadors for us. Internationally, we have RMS-networks organised into ‘tribus’, little tribes, in each location. Some of them are headed by an MBA graduate, others are headed by someone from another part of RMS, but everyone is involved in that community if they choose to be. These
individuals then become part of a reinforcing mechanism for candidates as well as graduates. In the IMBA we bring in graduates who have established positions and are doing very well to talk about their experience. We will have a mini conference, and that will also provide an opportunity to network and share. With the EMBA we hold information sessions, and as we are mainly recruiting in France we will invite two to three EMBA alumni to be spokespeople during the two-hour event. So they’ll do a presentation about themselves, about what they went through in terms of the MBA, and we’ll ask them to speak about a specific aspect such as a study tour. They will then be available at the end of the information session to answer any of the candidates questions.
RMS and the City of Reims came together in 2006 to create the Reims MBA VIP Club. Please can you kindly expand on the annual Conference and Networking Day for our readers?
Each year we get money from the city of Reims to organise a conference around a theme that would be interesting for those returning to the city. This year the title of the event is ‘From Blue to Bloom’ and is about helping you to thrive in the crisis on both an individual and a business level. It’s taking the approach of thinking about solutions rather than problems. We’ve invited two speakers from the UK that I have met who
do this; they bring people out of their comfort zones and get them thinking about creative ways of dealing with the crisis. There will also be networking sessions for those people who are in attendance and mini events that take place that are almost like network dating. We will then have a gala evening with a big dinner and champagne reception. We have over 100 people coming back to us this year, which is a great turnout. We want to encourage the connection with Reims.
The Next Step
What can we expect from RMS over the next twelve to eighteen months?
One of the great things that we’re developing to start next summer will be the Global Immersion Courses (GICs). We have developed four GICs, which are intended to expose those coming to RMS to something that is particular to our location and areas of expertise. The courses are two weeks long, providing a mixture of cultural events and academic exposure, for which participants receive ECT credits. One course is Decision Making in the EU, where you visit the four EU capitals, Strasburg, Luxemburg, Brussels and Frankfurt. Another course is Marketing and Managing Place: Champagne - the wine, the landscape, and the history, where you visit producers, sellers and you do wine tasting. Then you have a course on Understanding the European Green mindset, looking at the EU approach to sustainable development. The last course is Innovation and Entrepreneurship Across Cultures and here participants get to visit incubators on the topic. We’ve redesigned the EMBA, so it’s now a bilingual programme starting in March instead of May, and there are two study tours instead of three with the hope of having an English track as well. With the IMBA, there has also been a bit of a redesign and rethink. This year we’re introducing for the first time a study tour in a European country, which will be The Hague in Holland. This will provide the full-time students with the opportunity to do consulting work with companies in The Hague and to mix, again, a little bit of culture and history with business. We want to continue to provide a distinctive and differentiated product. There are so many MBAs in France and in Europe that you have to keep on updating and have an exciting offering, and we will stay focussed on this.
BIOGRAPHY ★ Raymond Ouellet is the MBA Programme Director and Associate Professor of Marketing and Strategy Management at Reims Management School.
Progressive Academia in the
Amadeus Finlay speaks to Alan Jenkins, Ashok Som, Beate Baldwin, Denis Morisset, Françoise Rey and Jeanine Picard » ESSEC Global MBA
A number of academic commentators have stressed the importance of holistic MBA programmes, i.e. those which manage to incorporate all of the essential elements of international business practice, differences and similarities. Do you feel that the ESSEC Global MBA has achieved this balance?
The challenge is to offer a unique, contemporary and relevant programme that not only engages the student but offers them something that little bit special. AS: I do indeed believe we have balanced the
needs for essential course criteria as well as including more focused elements of MBA learning. To understand this, the Global MBA has five main pillars:
❯ Absorption: students undertake the necessary core and elective courses that will guide them along their chosen career path.
❯ Networking: participants interact with international leaders and industry-experienced professionals from across the board. ❯ Integration: classroom activity is combined with field-based projects on the Singapore campus and emerging markets.
❯ Implementation: students undertake projects related to societal values. ❯ Capstone Seminar: students reflect on the course and consider frontier issues.
Kindly expand upon the inclusion of the Capstone Seminar in the programme. AS: The Capstone Seminar is the result of con-
certed planning at ESSEC, providing students with the chance to consolidate what they have learned, reflecting upon the programme as a whole. It is a three week programme built
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around the five pillars of the MBA that gives students the chance to interact with the course for one final time, allowing them to gain feedback and discuss matters with the faculty. They have the opportunity to integrate what they have learned with strategies for moving forward. An essential, integrative part of the ESSEC MBA programme, the Capstone Seminar allows students to understand where they have come from and where they are going, it is a gathering point for a host of ideas that helps students to move onto the next step.
While English is currently the worldâ€™s leading business language, has the imminent rise of Mandarin raised any questions concerning how the course is taught in the future? AS: An interesting question. What concerns
ESSEC is finding a central point of communication for all students. On our Singapore campus we have compulsory Mandarin courses, allowing our students to benefit from the nature of Asian business.
ESSEC claims that its Global MBA makes it stand out from others in the field. What do you believe makes this so? AS: What makes the course so unique are the
values and strengths that ESSEC Business School has infused within the programme;
The Capstone Seminar allows students to understand where they have come from and where they are going, it is a gathering point for a host of ideas that helps students to move onto the next step. values that have been upheld for the past 105 years. For example, we believe that an MBA should encourage participants to think and act differently, promoting engagement with the subjects and concepts covered in a more compelling fashion than might occur elsewhere. To this end, ESSEC students analyse, absorb and conclude problems from a range of different angles from every side of the spectrum. We also have a keen focus on emerging markets, which is one of our big differentiators.
Kindly expand upon the â€˜dual approachâ€™ method of teaching.
AS: Alongside classroom-theory learning we also encourage practical interaction in the field. The important point is that our approach is unique, utilising long-established connections with business by inviting professionals into the classroom to discuss their industry experience.
MBA in International Luxury Brand Management
As the only sector-specific MBA in International Luxury Brand Management, do you feel there is a sense of global pressure placed upon ESSEC given that the institution leads the way in this field? DM: Of course. The pressure is to keep improv-
ing but, given that we are the only sector-specific programme in the field, not only do we have international scrutiny from rival institutions, but also competition in the form of modules from more general courses outside ESSEC. We also realise that for students with specific career goals it is worth offering a focused programme.
What was the thinking behind launching this innovative programme?
DM: An interesting story. We launched the programme over 15 years ago and a great deal
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Therefore, one of our objectives is to make the transition process for new students as simple as. We aim to provide the industry with the talent it needs, and we take a great deal of pride in providing our students with the tools they need in order to work in this field. We are also concerned with the identification of emerging markets and the important players of the future. In terms of the faculty, we have gained a number of professors with significant industryspecific knowledge who have conducted a great deal of research and studied the field in depth. At the same time, we have to be careful to balance the academic side with the needs and nature of professional business.
ESSEC Executive MBA
What led to ESSEC uniting with Mannheim in order to deliver the EMBA?
AJ: Back in 2002/3 the two schools were
already enjoying a notable relationship due to student exchanges and bit by bit the realisation dawned that such a connection with an external institution, especially the number one school in Germany, would be a very important bond to nurture due to critical mass. There were also a number of crossovers with Franco-German enterprises at the time and so it was seen as a logical step to create a real alliance and not remain solely as an exchange arrangement.
With such intense rivalry in the EMBA field, what do you believe makes the ESSEC/Mannheim programme stand out from the rest? BB: As Alan astutely pointed out, the partnership
has changed since then. The luxury brand sector was far less professional and attractive when we began. Thus, it is not so much ‘what was’ the thinking, more, ‘what is’ as we are now dealing with a bigger market attracting a lot more talent and involving a lot more sales and international positioning. The industry also demands specific personnel who have the creative mind and passion required to operate effectively within this sector. As a result, we were keen to align our school with these developments in order to offer a focused and tailored programme that fits the rational and mind-set of individuals committed to the luxury brand sector.
Kindly discuss your partnerships with top-level brands and institutions.
DM: We began with the big French companies, L’Oreal and Chanel, as well as leading American firms, for example, Tiffany and Polo Ralph Lauren. However, with our connections with industry
leaders such as Gucci, we have also managed to build a strong connection with the Italian market. We are thus able to enjoy key industry figures joining in with our programme and engaging with the students on a one-on-one basis. We also introduce our participants to leading internet companies within the sector. By the same token we work with big companies in the Middle East and Hong Kong, allowing us to develop a truly global approach to our programme and its branding. At the end of the day, this market is more global than ever and we will follow our partners wherever they develop their brands.
What does ESSEC hope to achieve with the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management for both the students and the faculty alike? DM: Around 60 per cent of our students come
from very different backgrounds and, consequently, the integration process takes time.
with Mannheim Business School is an important one that has been carefully developed. We are able to recruit and enhance the programme together, thus allowing us to share key responsibilities. Not that we are suggesting that we are the only ones to create an alliance but, very often it doesn’t go beyond superficial notions or the exchange of students. The second element of the partnership with Mannheim, which is very exciting, is the merging of two economies which allows for a most engaging mix between family-owned companies and big, international companies.
Is there any truth in the conviction that the EMBA is a tired and over-subscribed programme needing to be scrapped or promptly restructured? AJ: To take that point of view would be plausible
but cynical. Naturally, with the market becoming increasingly more competitive due to the growing Far Eastern market and alliances between individual institutions, some EMBA programmes need to be overhauled and restructured. The main issue to contend with in the field of the EMBA is that the root of all programmes is essentially the same; a classical plinth on which all things
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Mixing different cultures, and not only from a nationalist perspective, allows for a much richer tapestry of different approaches, understanding and structure.
must be constructed. The challenge is to offer a unique, contemporary and relevant programme that not only engages the student but offers them something that little bit special. This is why we continue to review and update the programme.
What credentials and processes does ESSEC possess that allows you to promote the EMBA programme as having a ‘unique team-centred approach to learning’? AJ: When the programme was constructed in
1995, the core concept of a ‘community of learning’ was developed. While this may sound a little pompous, the idea is simple in that, you get more from the learning experience through sharing the experiences garnered from individual careers, work-gained knowledge and other influential incidences. What we offer are tangible mechanisms for group work and project-based learning, all based on ideas of structured group activity and interaction. Through these group experiences we hope to develop a new approach to learning, the community learning concept. As a result, we feel that participants will gain more from sharing.
Kindly discuss the place of the everpopular buzz term, ‘corporate social responsibility’, within the school’s EMBA. BB: It requires the capacity to have a global view
and develop leadership abilities, especially within the strict parameters put in place by national and international regulations. We thus stress the importance of this within all areas of our projects as it is a constant and critical theme to address.
Return on Investment
Kindly explain the ROI expectations a typical corporation has from an executive MBA programme. AJ: They expect several things from an EMBA.
They expect that the person coming out of the programme will have gained skills and experiences through all of the different functions of the course and will have greater analytical capacity. They should also expect that the people who have gone through the programme will have matured as individuals and be able to progress with capabilities that go beyond the age boundary definitions of the student, thus able to assume more classical leadership roles within their companies. Finally, they will also come out feeling developed, not only academically, but as an individual.
AS: This is a concept we adapted from the
American model, based on what students invest, how they progress and how they transfer their knowledge into the working environment once they have graduated. With this philosophy, participants will understand that when they leave ESSEC, not only do they have a strong grasp of current business principals, but how to utilise and apply them in the future.
An MBA graduate that performs well can anticipate certain opportunities. However, what can graduates typically expect from ESSEC’s MBA programmes, in terms of ROI? FR: The value of a programme like an MBA can
easily be measured in nominative terms, but this does not allude to the value such a qualification holds for the student. In the ESSEC programme a student can expect to gain relevant knowledge, self-confidence and broader world views, as well as learning how to balance a career with learning. Our fundamental student driving force across all programmes is to promote participants to ask ‘why am I here?’; ‘what are my abilities?’ We encourage self-exploration, curiosity and questioning, and when this is placed alongside the academic quality of the ESSEC programme and the unique experiences gained in a city such as Paris, the return on investment is undeniably high.
How much emphasis should be placed upon the return that one obtains from a lifetime of networking with a group of smart, successful professionals as found in - and connected to - the institution? FR: From the very beginning we set in motion
a sequence of relationships and associations with the student body and faculty in addition to the ESSEC Alumni Association, composed of over 37,000 alumni worldwide. We stress the importance of networking within the institution because it instils a concept of service to other individuals. Thus, by placing all of our students together, they will discover the importance of embracing difference and becoming flexible within these constraints. One of the biggest criticisms we have with a lot of managers is that they have become entrapped in predetermined securities and are unable to see beyond personal comforts. Thus, we train our students to move beyond their comforts and certainties in order to be open to new challenges, not only today but, in the future. As a result, our students are able to form new and progressive concepts of business, learn what is important in, and how to work with, emerging markets and how to establish lasting relationships. It is because of this that we place such emphasis on the Immersion Project in order to encourage alternative and free thinking from the beginning.
Improving oneâ€™s knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) is certainly a motivating factor for MBA candidates. However, in your opinion, is KSA acquisition second to career development? FR: I believe that the future belongs to the edu-
cated and, as a result, the economy will demand a greater number of workers with higher levels of education than ever before. Knowledge is, therefore, necessary, but one must be careful to question â€˜knowledgeâ€™ and in turn challenge curiosity. Managers and leaders must be encouraged to think outside the box, even if they have been in the industry for decades, as it is very easy to become institutionalised by predetermined ideas. Over the past few years we have had a number of economic crises, a discovery of an already booming Asian economy and a change in markets, especially in Africa and South America. Students must, therefore, be able to discern what is happening around them while being able to insert their knowledge, skills and abilities into a blossoming career in order to advance; the two are not mutually exclusive. We encourage our participants to look at the world with curiosity and crave further learning. The ultimate objective is to encourage them to think differently, encourage corporate social responsibility and refine their roles in the workplace.
Do you foresee the MBA admissions process becoming more simplified over the coming years? FR: The process itself will not become simplified,
only evolve, but it is worth stressing that what is important to us is the interview and this is something that is certainly not going to change. Only in a face-to-face meeting can the candidate, as well as the faculty, gain an understanding of mutual requirements, personality and motivation. What we demand at ESSEC are motivated participants who will not only critically evaluate themselves, but their entire business environment. Only through an interview can this be ascertained.
We encourage self-exploration, curiosity and questioning, and when this is placed alongside the academic quality of the ESSEC programme and the unique experiences gained in a city such as Paris, the return on investment is undeniably high. CEO
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How much emphasis do you place upon face-to-face and telephonic interviews?
In relation to ESSEC’s student body, how important is diversity?
FR: We have an obvious preference for face-toface communication, but ESSEC also embraces video-conferencing as this also allows the respective parties to engage more intimately as well as allowing both to observe and respond to mutual body language. The telephone is not as strong as these other media.
FR: This is something that ESSEC believes is of critical importance. We have a historical commitment to diversity and are proud to promote that we were one of the first schools in the early 70s to offer places to international students as well as local graduates entering our main programme. Mixing different cultures, and not only from a nationalist perspective, allows for a much richer tapestry of different approaches, understanding and structure. Whether an engineer or historian, from France or America, male or female, students and faculty can build, develop and blossom more colourfully than through a restricted or mono campus. Reiterating the point above, vis-à-vis our commitment to diversity, we were also forerunners in offering MBA programmes to females and have established a specialist programme for entrepreneurial women focusing on the tenants of entrepreneurship in a range of areas. Through all of these avenues, as I highlighted earlier, we can help achieve and reinforce the flexibility so treasured at EESEC.
Given that the business of hospitality management is so diverse, are students able to choose from a wide array of management specialisms and, if so, what might these be? JP. About five years ago we introduced five
concentrations into the MBA; e-commerce, realestate, entrepreneurship, general management of hotels and luxury brand management. Each of these identifies and isolates essential parts of the
Whether an engineer or historian, from France or America, male or female, students and faculty can build, develop and blossom more colourfully than through a restricted or mono-campus. industry, luxury is more marketing, e-commerce is more distribution and so on. All of the aforementioned areas are critical as we need to show students what jobs are available within the sector.
Is the programme more theory based or action oriented?
JP: As it is a specialist MBA, obviously it is very centrally based on the hospitality business, composed of a lot field projects, assimilations and detailed hands-on activities.
Students learn to work in groups very early on in your programme. How does this assist them throughout the degree? JP: By placing them in a team learning envi-
ronment early on we prepare them to adopt and
comprehend the transferable skills necessary to succeed in the workplace.
Looking to the Future
You continue to innovate, what can we expect from ESSEC over the next 12-18 months? FR: We will increase our focus on Asia, espe-
cially given the development of ESSEC’s Singapore campus. Participants will be able to move fluidly between the campuses in order to complete their programme, all the while learning and developing further unique skills. It is in this area in particular that we are going to develop over the coming two years.
BIOGRAPHY ★ Alan Jenkins is the Academic Director of the Executive MBA programme.
★ Ashok Som is the Associate Dean and Programme Director of the Global MBA programme. ★ Beate Baldwin is the Program Director of the ESSEC & MANNHEIM Executive MBA. ★ Denis Morisset is the Executive Director of the MBA in International Luxury Brand Management.
★ Françoise Rey is the Deputy Director General of Groupe ESSEC and the Dean of Graduate programmes.
★ Jeanine Picard is the Co-Director of the MBA in Hospitality Management.
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The ENPC MBA
The Journey Continues
Alexandra Skinner talks to Dr Tawfik Jelassi and Alon Rozen »
It is always possible to teach international business from one location, but it is a completely different experience to spend several weeks in prime business locations such as Paris, Philadelphia, Shanghai and Beijing.
You have launched a new MBA specialisation in Enterprise Risk Management with the Ecole des Mines and will be launching an Executive MBA in Aviation Management with Airbus, ENAC (civil aviation) and Tsinghua University (in Beijing). Kindly expand upon this for our readers. AR: We are quite excited about both of these pro-
grammes for different reasons. They are both part of our strategy to foster new corporate-academic partnerships for growth. In the case of the MBA with a specialisation in Enterprise Risk Management (ERM MBA), launched with the Ecole des Mines and several Fortune 500 corporate partners, this is quite revolutionary. Two of the top French ‘Grandes Ecoles’ are teaming up to offer a truly unique new programme which mixes the ENPC School of International Management’s core MBA programmes, taught by professors from around the world, with specialised electives in various aspects of risk management which are led by professors, industry specialists and researchers from the Ecole de Mine’s Centre for Research on Risk and Crises (CRC). This is a wonderful example of ‘co-opetition’ among traditional rivals, and the expression of a new MBA programme model in which leading international faculty, industry specialists and local researchers come together to create a unique offering. The programme is one year long and includes a study trip to the Sophia Antipolis industrial park and the CRC laboratory
in the south of France, as well as a “value chain + supply chain” risk management-oriented study trip to China. The programme launched in September 2011 and, despite the late launch date and limited word-of-mouth marketing, we immediately received inquiries from Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, which confirms the pertinence and attractiveness of the offer. The Executive MBA Aviation and Aeronautics Management (EMBA-A) will be launched in 2012 and is another project that we are extremely excited about. The programme was developed following a request by Airbus to design a tailored program for its growing cadre of middle and top executives in China. In order to design an appropriate executive programme, we worked with France’s Ecole Nationale of Civil Aviation (ENAC), which is a grande ecole that focuses on aviation and aeronautics management as well as a top local partner. As Airbus is headquartered in Beijing, our search naturally turned to Tsinghua University. While four-party negotiations are never easy, we have been able to put together an incredible two-year programme which will be training high potential Chinese and expat executive managers in both fundamental MBA skills and skills specific to aviation and aeronautics management for years to come. The whole process is similar to the “MBA+specialization” strategy we generally apply in which we identify a partner school and expert professors for their expertise and of our program
are the most common recipients of employer financing, are able to ‘apply on Monday what they learnt on Sunday’, often resulting in new responsibilities or promotion during the course of their EMBA studies. We are now seeing high potentials being sent to our EMBA from further and further afield. For example, Saint Gobain is now sending a high potential from the Ukraine in order to prepare him for taking over the top executive spot in their local operations by the end of the EMBA programme. While others are coming from far afield as Dubai or even Mumbai, traveling to Paris one weekend each month over two years.
Over the last year we have continually highlighted the decline in admission standards across the board, which is somewhat disconcerting. What impact has this had on the volume and quality of applications you have been receiving? AR: Because ENPC has such a good reputa-
offerings. In fact, following the concretization of the Airbus program, we used the same strategy to rapidly develop an EMBA-A in Morocco, again with the ENAC as our international partner and locally with the Moroccan Airport Authority (ONDA) and the Mohammed VI International Academy of Civil Aviation. This program will also launch in 2012. Finally, we have had so much corporate interest in these new Executive MBA in Aviation Management programs that we are considering adding it to our portfolio of specialisations in Paris for our full-time MBA program.
To what extent are you liaising with local and national businesses in order to understand the ROI expectations of employers? AR: This is something that we are doing more and
more of. As with the ERM MBA and top French multinationals and our EMBA-A with Airbus, we are increasingly developing programmes and curricula both with and for corporate partners directly. We have recently expanded our
Academic Advisory Council to include more members of industry from around the world and are in the process of creating a Corporate Advisory Board. We want to get more direct corporate input on how to keep evolving our programmes to best meet the expectations of corporate recruiters. In parallel, we are pursuing research projects with top corporate partners to help them and us gain further insight into key industries. We are now working to complete a year-long research project with Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) on the subject of Megatrends, which focuses on the evolution of the ICT sector, deep potential mutations in education, demographically-driven changes across developed and developing economies as well as the revolution brewing in a world in which people and objects are increasingly connected 24x7. Truly fascinating stuff! In relation to ROI, the return is more often than not a quick win-win proposition for employer and employee alike. EMBA participants, who
tion as a Grande Ecole in terms of engineering and the quality of our student body, especially in France, we have found that there is often a self-selecting process where people don’t feel that they are ‘ENPC worthy’. On the other hand, internationally, many are surprised to see a business school tied to an engineering school. This means that in France we have to work hard at showing people that the mother school is not the engineering school and that we’re looking for different criteria and are open to a wider range of students. While abroad we need to explain a bit more that we are looking for a wide range of professionals and that engineers only represent 30% of our student body. As the MBA market really took off in the 1990s, the numbers of MBAs offered proliferated and now we’re seeing the possible results of this supply-side saturation. On the demand side, young professionals know that an MBA can be a career accelerator and a key to management opportunities. That said, as generation Y (and now even generation Z) prospects are a little bit impatient in respect to career progression, there has been a tendency to try to apply for MBAs earlier and earlier. This may be dragging down admission standards elsewhere, however the ENPC MBA is accredited by AMBA and one of their key criteria is that all MBA participants have a minimum of three years of professional experience. In fact, our MBA participants typically have 6-8 years of professional experience, which rise to 8-13 for our Executive MBA. While a lot of professionals are looking to take their MBAs earlier, there is actually more and more room to do an MBA later too. As the financial crisis has seen many middle managers of a certain age losing their jobs, we now see many turning to an MBA as a lever to reboot their career or to refresh their skill sets for a rapidly-changing employment landscape.
European MBA Review
When selecting an MBA programme provider, faculty, reputation and curriculum are obviously key factors. However, how important are the people that an applicant meets when visiting a business school, be they alumni, students or staff members, in the decision making process? AR: I hope that we’re special in this area as we’re a
smaller school than our main competitors such as HEC and INSEAD, and one of the things to come out of this is that our curriculum and approach are perceived to stress the human dimension and a more one-on-one approach. We try to ensure this from the very first contact with the School. This way you really get to know people. Our Director of Marketing, Francoise Blanchet, very often gets into a career counselling type of conversation with our prospects as they are often in a careertransition phase of their lives. They want to know if this is the right thing for them to do now, if an MBA is a good investment for them, what kind of time and resource investment an MBA requires and what ROI they can expect. Very quickly you get into a discussion on life goals, objectives and balancing your professional and private lives. We like applicants to get the full view, and so we put them in touch with students in the programme or alumni with a similar background in terms of industry, background or nationality, so that they can get a participants perspective which resonates with them. We invite them to sit in on classes, meet the staff and faculty, talk to students and alumni. Usually it’s an ongoing discussion that goes on for a month or so. Those who are able to will visit us at the school but, because the MBA is so international, we also hold Skype interviews and try to find local alumni to meet with them where possible. We try to cater to individual requirements whilst at the same time getting to know the person. Once you get into the admissions process there are very few surprises for the prospect as they’ve had the discussions and the contact, so they know what they’re getting into. The side benefit is that by the time a candidate applies, both parties have a good idea of how good a fit they are with the School so the process is quite quick.
MBA hiring and starting salaries have been increasing. Are you able to talk about the success ENPC graduates have enjoyed in the job market of late? AR: As salary is a big concern for most pros-
pects let’s start by saying that on average our graduates have seen a 30% salary increase in the first post-MBA employment. That said, there are several non-monetary forms of ROI for our graduates that are as interesting but more difficult to quantify that we call geographical, horizontal and vertical mobility. The first refers to those participants who choose to do an MBA in order to increase their international mobility and land a
job outside of their home country – like landing a dream job in France for example. Others look to do an MBA in order to change sectors as they have been doing the same thing for some time and need a credible means of changing directions. The MBA opens many such doors. Finally, many prospects are looking to boost them vertically up the management career ladder to increasing responsibilities. We see the highest boost in salary in the latter group but probably more satisfaction from the first two. For EMBA students, who work during the two-year programme, promotion opportunities are very often put on the table after year one with negotiations regarding salary increase, new responsibilities and more managerial responsibilities coming in year two. The ‘international study trip’ has become part and parcel of most MBA offerings. However, the international exposure that the Tri-Continent MBA affords ENPC’s students is exceptional. Kindly expand upon the aforementioned offering. TJ: This is a really unique format as this is a fulltime MBA and it’s global. Students are with us in Paris from September to December and we teach them the foundation courses in business and management during the first semester. The cohort then moves to Philadelphia from January to June. Here they have the elective courses and they undertake their MBA master thesis. In July and August the students spend six weeks in Asia with three weeks normally in China and three weeks in Japan - in China we have a campus in Shanghai and in Japan our partner school has a campus in Tokyo. So, the tri-continent equation represents Europe, North America and Asia. I think that for someone who really wants to undertake an MBA with a strong focus on international business, there is no better programme than the ENPC Tri-Continent MBA. It is always possible to teach international business from one location, but it is a completely different experience to spend several weeks in prime business locations such as Paris, Philadelphia, Shanghai and Beijing. When our students are in China and Japan they take part in lectures on how to do business in those locations, they have the opportunity to meet with business leaders in global headquarters and to network with local alumni.
This summer you launched the ENPC MBA Paris social media campaign. To what extent has this helped you connect with new, existing and potential students and has this had any impact on application volumes? AR: After including social media in our strate-
gic marketing plan we started by hiring a social media specialist as an intern for six months to verify the potential of a web 2.0 strategy. Intuitively it was attractive but we did not know
Actually, we feel a bit like the Timberland of management schools in the sense that we have been walking the walk of corporate social responsibility (CSR), ethics and sustainability since our inception, but we have never really talked about it.
BIOGRAPHY ★ Dr Tawﬁk Jelassi is the Dean of ENPC School of International Management. ★ Alon Rozen is the Assistant Dean at ENPC School of International Management as well as a Visiting Professor of Marketing & Management.
Next year, the Graduate Management Admission Test will incorporate a new section on integrated reasoning, designed to test the advanced reasoning and analytical skills that students will be required to apply in classrooms. Do you think this will further assist business schools in the screening of candidates? AR: The difficulty with changing the GMAT,
how it would translate in terms of recruitment, image and engagement of both participants and alumni. Based on the encouraging success of the campaigns that we were doing across Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, and Twitter we decided to make this a permanent position and Liviana Sala is now heading up this area. In addition to organic social campaigns such as ‘like’ campaigns on Facebook or +1’s on Google+, we’ve been working on deepening the connections with and among prospects, alumni, fans and friends. We’ve also done some paid advertising (pay-perclick) campaigns with LinkedIn, Facebook and Google with results that are encouraging. We’re a School which stresses e-Business, technology management and innovation so we need to be credible in the social media arena. That said, beyond the technology, it’s very important for us to ‘keep it personal’. We don’t have a PR firm doing it for us – it’s real people answering real questions and with no fake personas or those kinds of games being played. We’re a small school with a high quality program and we’re trying to get that message out in a human way. On the web we’re not trying to sound different than we are, just trying to let people know who we are and what we stand for while inviting them to speak to or interact with us if they want to know more.
even for the better, is that it makes it difficult to compare scores over time. For example, how will the new 700 compare to yesterday’s 700? However, I think that they’ve done a good job in adding this new component, trying to make scores align over time and this is definitely a key MBA skill. Our take on GMAT is that high scores are rarely ‘false positives’. However, as education becomes increasingly global there is a greater risk of ‘false negatives’. There are many talented people in the market for whom English isn’t their mother tongue, and with the pressure of an exam, particularly in another language, scores may not reflect the quality of the candidate. If someone is coming from a native English-speaking culture, the GMAT is pretty representative but, when someone is coming from another culture, the GMAT is less credible in weeding out the good from the bad. At the ENPC we’ve always used our internal tests in our recruitment process. Interestingly, in light of the GMAT changes, is that our tests have always included an integrated reasoning test, which has been our fall back method for testing applicants. With integrated reasoning we present a situation to someone and ask them what they think about it, what the options could be, what they might have done (or done differently), what recommendations they would make. The test doesn’t stop at their written response; we then have a discussion about it at our admissions interview to also verify their ability to contextualize their reasoning. With the sheer amount of reading and processing of information that you need to do in an MBA, we would be doing a disservice to accept someone who may struggle with English. In some cases, otherwise extremely talented candidates are encouraged to take a year to improve their English before re-applying. That said, as a school that stresses cultural diversity, we don’t look only for students who speak with a perfect accent or have flawless grammar.
In trying to produce effective managers and the business leaders of the future, ethical, social and environmental concerns have been high on the list of many business schools. To what extent has ENPC integrated the aforesaid points into its MBA offering and how important is the triple bottom line - people, planet and profit - to today’s high potential managers? AR: Actually, we feel a bit like the Timberland
of management schools in the sense that we have been walking the walk of corporate social responsibility (CSR), ethics and sustainability since our inception, but we have never really talked about it. Now that our competitors have started doing the same, we find it odd that they are talking about it as much as they do. The founder of the school, Dame Celia Russo, coined the school’s slogan “in business to make a better world” 25 years ago, and CSR, a term no-one really knew much about at the time, has been a compulsory core course in our MBA since 1988. Talk about visionary! In addition to these important issues, another key aspect we repeatedly stress throughout our programmes is multicultural sensitivity and multiple perspectives in an increasingly global business world. Our professors come from all corners of the globe and we ask them to use cases and articles from all of the continents to ensure that no one culture or perspective is unduly emphasised. Add to that a student body that counts 20 nationalities among our 45 MBA participants this year and you can see how ENPC’s traditional emphasis on diversity continues to express itself today.
ENPC continues to evolve. What can you tell us about the next 12-18 months?
AR: In addition to the new Aviation and Management EMBA being launched in 2012, we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ENPC MBA programme in July; we’re holding a worldwide alumni event with our graduates from China, Casablanca, Abu Dhabi, India, Buenos Aires and Japan. ENPC has always had an entrepreneurial spirit of continually launching new ideas. There is always something in the works and that makes it an exciting place to work and be a part of. The education market is changing so quickly that if you don’t constantly have developments in the pipeline, you can become outdated very quickly. We feel that we have a responsibility to keep innovating. You can expect a lot from ENPC, but shhh; it’s still a secret. However, we promise to share any scoops with the readers of CEO Magazine first (or at least immediately after we publish the official press releases). We invite readers to stay tuned as there are some interesting developments in corporate education on the horizon…
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An Incubator of Entrepreneurship and Graduate Success Alexandra Skinner talks to João Duque and Jorge Landeiro de Vaz »
Introduction You are the oldest school of economics and business administration in Portugal, and are currently celebrating your centenary year.
(a). What do you consider to be ISEG’s biggest contribution to the domestic and international business community over the last 100 years? JD: The main contribution that ISEG has made
to the domestic business community is that we have remarkable alumni that we are very proud of. We actually educated all of the major decision makers in Portugal, not only those related to big enterprises but, ministers and policy makers who are responsible for the main economic decisions in Portugal. We are proud to have educated these key decision makers. We have two alumni who are in very distinguished positions, Vítor Constâncio, Vice-President of the European Central Bank, and Aníbal António Cavaco, the President of the Republic who was also Portugal’s Prime Minister from 1985 to 1995, he is also an exprofessor of the school.
If you look at the biggest firms in Portugal, it’s easy to find CEOs that are graduates of the school. For example, Ricardo Salgado, the CEO of Banco Espírito Santo (BES), a highly regarded family bank based in Lisbon, is an alumnus and member of the school’s committee, which is a board that I am president of. This is the main board of the school and they select the president by election - it’s an international congress. The board has a chairman, António de Almeida, who is also chairman for Energias de Portugal (EDP) and an alumnus of ours. There is no other school in Portugal in that can match our background in these terms. In relation to the international business community, the school is also proud to have educated a lot of decision makers from Portuguese speaking countries, in particular Mozambique, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe. This is a big responsibility. Over the last 15 years we have begun to include the European perspective, and we have created co-operations with EU universities in order to facilitate student exchanges.
We do not teach students to be the best in their organisations, we teach them to make their organisations the best.
(b). How did ISEG commemorate this special year in the university’s history?
JD: On the day that commemorated the first
century of our existence, we held a big celebration. We invited all of the alumni, the president of the republic was present, and we held special academic sessions in our auditorium, and at the end of the day we had a big traditional gala dinner. This was just the start of the celebrations. The school was created as a result of another school splitting into four - one for commerce and one for industry, teaching at middle and higher education levels. It’s the anniversary of the commerce school that we are celebrating.
European MBA Review
ISEG operates around seven core values: integrity, individual freedom, search for excellence, solidarity, communication and reciprocity, efficiency and good governance. Please can you expand on these for our readers? JD: These are not only words for us. At the start
of each academic year I welcome all of our students formally, just over 2000 this year, and each time I tell them how we express each of our core values practically. ❯ Integrity: This is very important for us. We put this word into practice by not tolerating cheating. Students must be themselves and not give us an impression that isn’t true, as it will come back to them strongly later on. If they are unable to do this here, where they have absolute freedom to express themselves and show their personality, they will never be able to. ❯ Individual Freedom: If I have a motive for this school it would be freedom to teach and freedom to learn. One of the big characteristics of the school is that we can be clearly distinguished from other top schools in Portugal through this freedom. We are not a new liberal school of thought or a new Keynesian school of thought. We cannot be pigeonholed as we want to be all of them and we teach all of them. At ISEG we have representatives of all of these schools of thought and we tolerate them all. It’s one of our big characteristics, faculty have a curriculum to follow but, they have the freedom to teach using their techniques and ideas and the students have the freedom to question, criticise and discuss the teachings. ❯ Search for Excellence: We try to push our teachers to publish peer review papers and we are quite proud of our results. We are proud of being the school that is leading the way in publications, not only in absolute number but also in percapita number, and in terms of references made to our published papers. We also search for excellence in pedagogical terms. We deliver a questionnaire for each course at the end of the semester and students complete them. The average of the school is approximately 4.0 out of 5.0 for undergraduate and master degrees and 4.1 for postgraduate executive programmes. As an average, this is a very good result. ❯ Solidarity: We have a saying which is ‘we do not teach students to be the best in their organisations, we teach them to make their organisations the best’. This is very important to us and we try to incentivise students to work on projects
The MBA is designed to address the challenges faced by executives.
in groups and, as such, a small part of the grading of each of the students is based on their group work. ❯ Communication and Reciprocity: This is where we try to communicate our thoughts and decisions to the school and hear their comments in return. We have a Facebook webpage where students can post their feedback, and sometimes this will involve criticisms. We get a lot of information about how we are doing this way, and we try to accommodate students’ suggestions in order to improve. ❯ Efficiency and Good Governance: We are a state-owned school, and so our budget is funded 50 per cent by the government’s budget. This means that we have to take very good care of the money that we receive. We are very proud of our results - we’re profitable and I believe that this is sustainable. It is a question of keeping on the right track.
The ISEG MBA offering
The ISEG MBA is a part-time programme accredited by AMBA. Please can you outline your value proposition for our readers? JD: We have high selection standards. Our
students are selected mainly because of work experience, and this is perhaps the most important factor for us. We want a mature group, and our students have an average of seven to eight years’ experience. Our students are engineers, economists, lawyers, and military professionals. We are very proud of our community and they bring a lot of richness to the programme. We participate alongside our students in all of the initiatives of the MBA programme. They give a lot of enthusiasm, and we like to give the same in return. We have a reputation for being a leading school in the field of business and economics. JLV: We have a good school, a good MBA and
our faculty are highly qualified. We have a commitment to social responsibility and we prioritise
We believe that we can deliver an excellent education at an affordable price, and this is what people are looking for. It’s a question of social responsibility.
good practice and don’t take advantage of our institutional position. We are a public school so we are committed to good practice, high quality teaching, and strong programmes. Our programme is competitive not only because of the price, but also because of several other components such as our leading accreditation from AMBA, which is very important to us, and our strong international connections and focus. In Angola, 40 per cent of people in high positions have graduated from ISEG, and we enjoy similar successes in Mozambique and Brazil. The school and the board are committed to continuing the exceptional work of teaching and research in management, and the training of highly qualified managers. Our commitment to our students is that the directors, faculty members and school support services will do their best to provide and share their knowledge, experience, reputation and friendship. We are friends with all of our students, and this is a culture. Students know that our doors are always open and that they can come to us about any aspect of their studies or lives. All of the team believes this. We are dedicated to continuing ISEG’s century long journey; forming leaders in the best countries. We have absolute commitment to the future where competitiveness and efficiency, precision and ethics constitute the requirement for progress and justice. We practice these things every day.
European MBA Review
Q We went as 27 students and returned as 27 entrepreneurs.
You offer The Silicone Valley Programme in partnership with The University of San Francisco, during which students spend a week at the campus and receive a certificate alongside their MBA credits. Please can you explain the reasoning for the trip and the benefits that prospective students can expect from this exchange? JLV: This is a qualified programme, so there
are hard skills, but what differentiates our focus on entrepreneurship in the third semester. We believe in the importance of this skill, and so when they come to do their business plan here they have to prepare their business project to be ready to present in San Francisco on the Silicone Valley trip. When we introduced the immersion programme in 2010 we chose Silicone Valley because it is home to many of the world’s largest technology firms. It’s a great place of innovation and entrepreneurship and we want our students to experience that environment. Students visit a corporate venture fund and the Plug and Play Centre. This is a key feature. The Plug and Play Centre is an incubator where people present business ideas to venture capitalists, last year there were 32 people presenting to 60 VCs. It’s fantastic for our students to hear these presentations and it really empowers them. There was an article about the trip in the Portuguese press and one of the students was quoted as saying ‘We went as 27 students and returned as 27 entrepreneurs’. This really is true.
A key focus of the programme is personal development, and you offer Leadership and Team Building in association with the Portuguese Air Force (FAP), and a Management Simulator (Global Management Challenge). Please can you give a brief overview of each to our readers? JLV: The leadership and team building pro-
gramme is held at the beginning of the MBA and gives students an opportunity to use the weekend to integrate quickly and to bond with each other. They take part in lots of teambuilding exercises. For example, there is a paintballing exercise, and students have to protect their position using teamwork and strategy. Leadership is also important here. This gives students the chance to meet their cohort outside of a classroom environment and see them from a different perspective. Studies show that in a classroom people typically interact with those sitting next to them. However, on the leadership and teambuilding weekend the teams are chosen by the Air Force and the groups change and have different leaders for each activity. For the management simulator, each team is composed like a board of directors for a business, with a CFO, CEO a Marketing Director and so on. The group have to make strategic management decisions, which they input into a computer
programme, and the outcomes of their decisions are shown as a stock market value. There are two phases – in the first phase they compete inside the MBA and in the second phase they compete with students from 40 countries. It’s a fantastic competition and a very interesting initiative. It really gets students thinking about what it’s like to run a business.
Today, our graduates are in prominent positions in national and international market sectors.
You offer the opportunity for students to transfer their MBA credits into a Masters in Management. Is the purpose behind this to offer a dual qualification? JLV: The MBA is a very important programme
for us. Its roots are in the Masters in Management (MIM) and so it’s very academic in the first year. We had always maintained a strong focus on the final thesis, and for a significant number of years it was compulsory to finish the programme in order to get the MBA diploma. However, when we were accredited by AMBA, we came to the conclusion that we didn’t need a thesis and so we split up the programme into the MBA, which is the curricular side of the programme in management, and if students want to continue with their studying further and complete a thesis then they can also get an MIM. All of the credits taken in the MBA are transferred to the MIM in order for them to fulfil the requirements.
Given the quality of your faculty and the international exposure your students enjoy, how are you able to maintain such competitive pricing? JLV: I believe that we offer one of the best
value MBAs in Portugal. We believe that we can deliver an excellent education at an affordable price, and this is what people are looking for. It’s a question of social responsibility. We have some programmes that can clearly accommodate a higher price, and it is acceptable in the market, but as the future is uncertain it is important for us to offer good value. We believe that it is our responsibility to care of the education of Portuguese professionals.
The Next Step
What can we expect from ISEG over the next twelve to eighteen months?
JLV: Portugal is facing big challenges at the
moment, but ISEG continues to lead and is not suffering from the crisis. In fact, we had more students in 2011 than in 2010. The main challenge is to maintain our presence in the market and try to develop it over the next 12 to 18 months. We are optimistic and we have good reason to be; we are in a strong position and we have full occupation in our programme, with 39 students on the 28th edition. We feel that we have really consolidated our MBA in the market, but we want to continue to develop and improve. We will introduce a new International MBA (IMBA), this is a strategic
decision - It’s a good time for us and we’re ready for a new challenge. The new IMBA will be offered to Portuguese language cultures, such as Angola, Mozambique and Brazil. Our MBA really adds value, and we have more than 500 graduates of Masters of Business Administration over 28 years. Today, our graduates are in prominent positions in national and international market sectors. The MBA is designed to address the challenges faced by executives and to reconcile a professional and personal life with the flexible parameters of a part-time programme. We will continue to push and promote this philosophy.
BIOGRAPHY ★ João Duque is President and Professor of Finance at ISEG. ★ Jorge Landeiro de Vaz is the MBA Director at ISEG.
An innovative full-time 1.5 year MBA Program, including:
• One semester of courses in New York City at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs • A residential stay along the “Energy Living Lab” track A Unique MBA program worldwide, developed to help create a new generation of highly skilled executives in the renewable energies and energy-related industries.
Application rounds until Jan 15 (Phase 1), March 15 (Phase 2) and June 15 (Phase 3) Contacts: Adam Standring email@example.com +351 21 790 3032
It’s amazing the exposure to top executives and academia in NYC and Lisbon in this unique MBA Ana Almeida The Energy MBA 2010/2011
Portugal provides us with an innovative energy sector and this semester at Columbia University has far exceeded my expectations Silas harbo The Energy MBA 2010/2011
Application form at www.ibs.iscte.pt/en
Course taught entirely in English (72 ECTS - European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System)
The energy MBA
Alexandra Skinner talks to Pedro Falcão »
THE ENERGY MBA AT THE HEART OF PORTUGAL’S Introduction
You offer The Energy MBA at ISCTE. What was your vision for the programme when you set out and to what extent have you realised this vision?
There are two main reasons behind the creation of the Energy MBA at ISCTE. Firstly, Portugal has been in the spotlight with regards to renewable energies for some time and is continually advancing in the field. Secondly, the MBA Director, Professor Manuel Pinho, is a former minister of the economy. He invested heavily in renewable energies and had some responsibilities in the EU in this area. The combination of being a business school in a country known for its strong position in renewable energies, and having a Director with the knowhow and great international contacts in
We want people with professional experience and so we value the quality of their experience, but we also look at their potential. the field, meant that it made sense to take advantage and create an energy MBA. We really felt that instead of doing an international MBA, which is offered by hundreds of other schools, we should create something for which we could be better and different to other business schools in the world. Manuel Pinho had very good contacts with Columbia University, and he is a Professor there during the first semester of the year. This helped to create the exchange with Columbia, and our
students go there for the final semester of the programme. This is a very important relationship for us. Portugal is well known for energy and tourism, but not for business education, so we wanted to create a connection with one of the best universities in the world in order to give us credibility abroad. Columbia University brought us the credibility that we were looking for, but also the knowhow and classes that were relevant for our students.
European MBA Review
❯ Entrepreneurship: We were the first school in Portugal to create a centre for entrepreneurship (Audax). This is a part of the school and one of their responsibilities is to develop executive education in this area. They provide consultancy services to small and medium sized companies, and they also have a venture capital investment fund for start-up firms. We were also the first school in Portugal to have a post-graduate programme in entrepreneurship. ❯ Excellence: There are always things we can improve and, as such, we commit significant resources in this connection. We are continuously striving. ❯ Social Responsibility and Supporting: We are doing several things here, including a pilot in a less well-off suburb of Lisbon where students helped people to create their own micro companies. This was done in partnership with the local authority and, as the pilot was successful, it will be rolled out to other areas.
In relation to students, we look for both quality and potential. We want people with professional experience and so we value the quality of their experience, but we also look at their potential. This year our students are aged between 25 and 37 and this covers a full range of student profiles; technical professionals who have worked in the industry for several years, experienced managers from the sector, individuals who have consulted with energy firms, or those who have no experience in the energy sector at all. This brings a broad perspective to the classroom.
ISCTE operates around four core values: business community, entrepreneurship, excellence and social responsibility and supporting. Please can you expand on these for our readers? ❯ Business Community: The business school itself belongs to the university, but the executive education part of the university is run by INDEG, an organisation consisting of ISCTE and nine large corporate entities. This was created in 1989 and is the first partnership of its kind in Portugal. This is a sign of our long-term connections with the business community.
We have created protocols with several firms where our students can go and do their final project and work with them to create a business plan. This could be based upon something that the firm would like to do, or it could be looking at how they can make more money out of their existing infrastructures. They must give management input to these organisations. One of the characteristics of our school is that we have an open door policy. It’s easy to talk with the professors, and it’s not difficult to talk with the dean, or the programme directors.
The Energy MBA Offering
Your MBA is offered in partnership with Columbia University in New York, where students spend one semester of the programme. Please can you explain the reasoning behind this and the role that Columbia University plays in the programme?
When our students go to Columbia University they have elective courses and the school credits these. Our students stay there for the full semester as normal Columbia students. They are not in a special class, and the professor probably wouldn’t know that they are not Columbia students. They are treated just like anyone else there. Each one of them has the option to choose the courses that they wish to take. The main electives that they have are all energy and sustainability related. One that all of them are taking, and that I believe has been a success there, is Manuel Pinho’s course on International Energy Policy. You’ve built a residential component at the Energy Living Lab in Portugal into your MBA offering. Kindly expand upon this.
This set of trips unfolds over a two week period and is a mix of live examples of energy and presentations given by people who work in those areas to enable students to see in practice how the things that they’ve studied work. The great thing is that we have almost everything in Portugal and so we are able to do a tour. The places that the students visit include a wind farm, a large factory that builds the blades and motors for wind turbines, a company that produces cables for energy for telecommunications - as we also like to look at the infrastructure that supports energy networks – the largest solar plant in the world, the grid management centre for Portugal, an oil refinery – so that students can see traditional sources of energy – a presentation with an institute that works on wave energy, a biomass centre and a dam.
Students undertake a Personal Development Programme and a Creativity Program as part of the MBA. Please can you explain what this entails, and how important are these types of programmes to the modern executive?
The Personal Development Programme focuses mainly on soft skills, the preparation of contact with companies post-graduation, and recruitment and selection. Students have one-to-one workshops and sessions on presentation skills, communication, preparing and running meetings, CV creation and job interview preparation.
We really felt that instead of doing an international MBA, which is offered by hundreds of other schools, we should create something for which we could be better and different to other business schools in the world. The programme is designed to enhance confidence in these areas. The Creativity Program helps students think and approach issues and problems differently, with new perspectives, providing them with valuable creativity skills. This year both programmes will be held in mid-January in a period without any other classes. This is done to ensure that students are totally focussed and immersed in it. If students have other projects or exams at the same time they tend not to prioritise personal development as they don’t receive a grade for the programme. We could grade the programme, but that would come with some disadvantages. With behavioural and soft skill issues, it’s important for students to feel free to try out new ways of behaving. If students are not being graded then they can run more risks instead of being conservative. They can learn from their mistakes and push boundaries. The focus isn’t just on getting the grade, but more about the learning from experience.
ISCTE and the Business World
To what extent do you liaise with local and national businesses in order to understand the ROI expectations of employers and how much influence do these businesses have on the structure of your MBA offering?
The school has good contacts with the corporate world, both with companies directly and with the main recruiters in Portugal. We have a career services department that interacts with companies, as well as the alumni association who also bring connections from the corporate world. Our school advisory board includes board members of very large companies, and the Executive MBA also has its own advisory board, consisting of people from executive search firms and large and medium sized companies, so we try to get feedback from all of these sources. We have some faculty that are professionally qualified and some of them recruit from our
school. We try to incorporate their feedback on new trends as well as on the students that they recruit from us. For example, a few years ago they identified that our graduate students did not have strong soft skills. Based on this feedback, we created compulsory and elective courses in these areas for our undergraduates.
Almost 100 per cent of ISCTE Business School graduates find employment soon after leaving. To what do you attribute this success?
We are recognised as a top business school in Portugal and having a reputation in the market is key. Good relationships with the corporate world are also important. As I mentioned, we have faculty that have worked, and are still working, in businesses outside of the school, and the alumni network and career services also do a very good job in maintaining connections, as do the advisory boards. It is important for us to understand business requirements. The supporting value that we talked about is also essential here. We will help them with contacts that we have in order to put them in touch with the right people. In our undergraduate programmes students have a big corporate assignment where they have to do a very detailed business plan for a project that they would like to undertake. It is a landmark of our school to prepare students for the practical world by putting them in hands-on situations. This differentiates graduating ISCTE students from others because they are more readily able to put into practice what they have learnt. They have begun to understand some of the difficulties that you have when you go out to work. In work situations, when someone asks you to do something, they don’t give you all of the
Again, here you can see that the connection with the business and corporate world is clearly in ISCTE’s DNA, and in this programme we feel it’s very important to have people coming from the corporate world to share their knowhow and practical experience with our students. data and assumptions, you have to go and find the data and, if you can’t, then you have to make estimations. So we prepare students well for real life so that when they go out to work they don’t expect all of the information to be given to them. These are some of the key success factors behind the employability of our students.
Next year, the Graduate Management Admission Test will incorporate a new section on integrated reasoning, designed to test the advanced reasoning and analytical skills that students will be required to apply in classrooms. Do you think this will further assist business schools in the screening of candidates?
It’s important for GMAT to be different and look different. It is without doubt a good exam, but I think that it has an image, for many, of simply being an English and maths exam. However, it’s not as simple as that. I think that the test can be a little too focussed and narrow and so the inclusion of integrated reasoning will give a better idea of peoples’ capabilities and analytical thinking, and it will also prove that they aren’t just an English and math exam. We will have to
see how it will work and if it will be done well, which I’m sure it will be, but this is an important move for them. The GMAT also has competition from GRE. Competition is always good, and so it’s natural for them to try to improve in certain areas. It’s good for schools too as they can run the risk of being too focussed on GMAT scores in deciding upon someone’s selection. This is easy to do as the information is there; the scores are fact and are easily comparable. Interviews, on-the-other-hand, may be conducted by different people and so are hard to compare on the same basis. The GMAT is easy and comfortable for someone to use to make a decision between applicants. The GMAT also has an advantage over essay applications, as when you ask for essays you cannot be sure that they have been written by the applicant. With the GMAT, you know it’s the applicant. All of the application process, apart from the TOEFL, GMAT or GRE exams, can be done by someone else, even recommendation letters. The more independent data that you get, the easier it is for you to make a decision. Because of this, it is perhaps to be expected for schools to give test results, such as the GMAT, more weight. So it’s important that the tests become wider in their analysis of the student.
In trying to produce effective managers and the business leaders of the future, ethical, social and environmental concerns have been high on the list of many business schools. To what extent has ISCTE integrated the aforesaid points into its MBA offering and how important is the triple bottom line - people, planet and profit - to today’s high potential managers?
We believe that the school, and the university overall, should set an example for students. In terms of courses, it’s something that we try to include in the programmes as it is key for managers to have these concerns in mind. More and more we have to prepare undergraduate, masters’ and executive education students to deal with these important issues. Ethics is a concern and we include it, not just through the inclusion of an ethics course but, through relating it to other subjects on the programme such as accounting and finance or marketing. Ethics is in the learning goals of all of our programmes. We want students to be faced with ethical dilemmas so that they can discuss them and learn how to react to them. It is an underlying theme across most of our programmes.
The Next Step
What can we expect from ISCTE over the next twelve to eighteen months?
The Executive MBA has been around since 2004, so it’s a mature programme and a local programme geared to managers in Portugal. It was accredited very quickly because we were innovative with our course and really researched what managers required. So we differentiated ourselves from other courses in Portugal. In terms of the Energy MBA, we expect it to be a leading programme internationally. This means that we have to be constantly aware of new developments in the field that we may need to integrate into the programme. We have to pay attention to the market and trends in order to evolve, and to be prepared to do so quickly. An area that we intend to grow is the inclusion of top executives from the industry teaching on the course. Last year this included the CEO of EDP, one of the largest companies in the world in wind energy, the CEO of REN, the electricity and gas network company that manages the grid in Portugal and is expanding into other countries, the former number one for BP in Portugal, the president of the
BIOGRAPHY ★ Pedro Falcão is the MBA Programmes Director at ISCTE.
competition authority in Portugal, and a UN advisor to the president on CO2 emissions. We want to continue to differentiate further, and we currently have a module on Energy and Politics that is taught by a very well known lawyer in Portugal who is also a former politician. Most energy related decisions have political implications, which can be complicated. We want to make sure that our students understand these politics and complications, and so we try to open their minds so that they can see that these aren’t just rash decisions; you can’t just do something because it looks profitable. Again, here you can see that the connection with the business and corporate world is clearly in ISCTE’s DNA, and
in this programme we feel it’s very important to have people coming from the corporate world to share their knowhow and practical experience with our students. Over the next 12 to 18 months we hope to get more and more exposure internationally as students finish the programme and spread the word. Manuel Pinho’s connections and international contacts with many energy related companies will also help to slowly but surely spread the word to get more international students and exposure. It will be key for us to see the successes that the first edition of the Energy MBA enjoy in the employment market and we feel very positive about this.
“Don’t learn how to do things right only. Learn how to do the right things.” Prof. Peter Lorange
The Lorange Executive MBA. Heavy on practice, so you learn how to solve reallife problems. Modular, so you can maintain your full-time job. And partnering with top academics only, so you learn from the best. Get more information or apply now: Phone +41 44 728 99 44, www.lorange.org
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Shaping the Ethically of the Future Alexandra Skinner talks to Prof. Ari-Pekka Hameri, Prof. Guido Palazzo and Isabelle Chappuis »
Introduction – Getting to know HEC Lausanne
You are celebrating your centennial this year. What do you consider to be HEC Lausanne’s biggest contribution to the domestic and international business community over this period?
What we have achieved in our Executive MBA is something that has continually improved, both educationally and research-wise, throughout the last 100 years and particularly within the last 20. The University of Lausanne Business School has become one of the flagships in Switzerland, not only in research but also in education, across all levels, from Bachelor programmes through to PhDs. In the last decade our location has become highly internationalised. As a result, we have transformed from a more local and national business school to one that is now highly recognised on an international level.
You offer several specialisations in your Executive MBA programme. Kindly expand upon this and the partnerships you have forged in order to extend your postgraduate offering.
PROF. GUIDO PALAZZO TEACHING THE IMPORTANCE OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.
We have been offering an MBA programme at Lausanne for over 30 years. This has always been a highly recognised local MBA and has slowly become more international. In 2005 the demand for the full-time MBA wasn’t large enough and so we revamped the whole programme and changed the format to that of an Executive MBA. We decided to build on our strengths, which are finance, and strategy, and created an Executive MBA with a specialisation in management and corporate finance. The format that we chose was thoroughly analysed through a market study and
HEC Lausanne MBA
competitor analysis so that we could be sure we were meeting market demands. Partnering with Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) was a natural decision as they are world renowned and located close by. They already had a Master in Management of Technology. Thus, adding a specialisation in technology management to our Executive MBA was the best way to share expertise. A few years ago we identified the demand for healthcare management. We have Lausanne University Hospital, a very well renowned teaching university hospital that belongs to the Faculty of Biology and Medicine here at Lausanne. Along the Lake Geneva there are more than 750 companies that are active in the field of healthcare and, as such, this area is known as Health Valley. This was undeniably a market that we needed to address so we involved the Institute of Health, Economics and Management at HEC Lausanne which in turn created the modules and chose the content for the healthcare specialisation. This means that, today, our Executive MBA students – besides getting a strong and classical MBA foundation – can choose whether they wish to specialise in finance, technology or healthcare. To offer an international experience to our students, we also organise study tours. We have a partnership with Bocconi University in Milan, where we send the finance students for a week to undertake various modules that we don’t offer in Lausanne. The students who choose the healthcare specialisation go to ESSEC in Paris, also for a week.
Can you talk to us about the learning environment you have created for your students?
We have dedicated classrooms in a building that we had made in 2006. The classes are small, with a maximum of 30 students per specialisation. This year we have about 70 students in total in our three different specialisations – finance, technology and healthcare. We try to ensure that there is a great deal of diversity in the class so, when we have, for instance, 70 applications for 30 places in our finance specialisation. We make selections based on academic ISABELLE CHAPPUIS , ADMINSITRATIVE DIRECTOR, ENSURES THE QUALITY OF THE CURRICULUM AND A STRICT CANDIDATES SELECTION.
background, nationality, age and sex in order to create a diverse classroom which really enhances the learning environment. We choose professors based on their ability to teach executives. Most of our professors come from HEC Lausanne. We have set up the Centre for Teaching Support so that if professors wish to improve their teaching we can coach them. One of the things that the students learn very quickly is that this isn’t about someone teaching them theory; it’s more about discussions, the students challenging each other, and the professors, on what they say and think and making comparisons between sometimes contradictory ideas in order to form their own opinions. They learn to think for themselves and to use the professors as a sounding board for their own positions. This gives them a broad understanding of business and society in general.
We have transformed from a more local and national business school to one that is now highly recognised on an international level.
Selecting the right programme and the right school is not easy but in order for the student get the most out of the programme and experience, it’s a decision they must get right. With this in mind, are potential students able to test-drive your postgraduate value proposition before applying, i.e. are they able to visit the facilities and attend classes?
We hold three information sessions a year where prospective students can find out about the content and format of the MBA. The professors give taster lectures so that they can get a feel for what it would be like to study with us. The alumni and current students also attend and share their experiences, objectives and the impact that the programme has had on their careers, and there is an open forum at the end of the session for questions and answers. Throughout the year we receive enquiries from people who would like to meet with us to talk about the possibility of studying on the Executive MBA. We arrange meetings with them to look through their CVs, discuss whether the MBA is a good option for them and, in particular, whether our MBA would be the right choice. We attend international fairs based in Switzerland where we are able to showcase our offering and meet with interested candidates. Upon request we can always put prospective students in touch with a member of the alumni or one of our current students. Potential students can also come in and join one of the lectures with the current students to get a feeling for the atmosphere. We aim to be as transparent as possible so that people can really get a good idea of the product that we are offering. This enables us to get the best from students as they know what we will expect from them and what we will offer in return. What we look for in a student is someone who qualifies, but also someone who has a spark and motivation. It is definitely about finding the right fit for both parties. For many candidates it is important that the school and the program have been accredited. The school is EQUIS and the Executive MBA programme is AMBA accredited.
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To what extent have you changed programme structures, formats and requirements in order to appeal to today’s MBA candidates?
The obvious major change was when we moved from the French, full-time programme to the part-time, fully English Executive MBA. However, the programme changes continuously. We aim to have a global impact on the student. When students begin the Executive MBA their objectives are often career-based; they want to reach the next level, get a promotion and gain more responsibility within their firms. However, as they progress, they realise that they also want to change something in their lives, and so we also aim to make a personal impact. In order to aid students in reaching their career objectives we adapt modules, drop some, add others and change professors. This is based on the module evaluations that are made post-completion and are discussed with the professors and the directors of the programme. We have student feedback sessions twice a year. These are open discussions where we find out what they liked and what should be changed. As these students are all middle managers, they represent the current marketplace and whatever they tell us is a good representation of what the market needs. By doing this we are able to focus our programme in a way that allows it to have a real impact on the students’ careers. Throughout the module we have an underlying theme of ethics and responsible management. We also offer personal development modules, which are more closely linked to self-confidence and we find that the students really benefit from this.
You have been successful in forging alliances with local business. To what extent do these relationships enhance the programmes you offer and benefit the students you service?
We have several official partners to match specific strengths of our programme; for corporate finance we partner with BCV - Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, then we have strategy and sustainability with Nestlé Nescafé and Nespresso, and finally leadership with Egon Zehnder International. There are many other companies that take part in the modules, but the aforementioned
the MBA but, after completion, they like to maintain the network that they have built. The alumni are used to organising professional and social events. The credibility of any MBA programme depends upon what the alumni say about it and so it becomes a critical source of information for future students. The alumni are independent, but we have a fantastic relationship with them and regularly hold meetings so that they know what we are doing. If our alumni are happy with their experience and are enjoying success in their careers, then that is a great validation for us. When someone is interested in our programme, the best way for them to get information about it is to talk to those who are currently studying and those who have completed the course. The alumni are credible in the eyes of their peers and so this is a pivotal relationship for us.
The credibility of any MBA programme depends upon what the alumni say about it.
You promote cultural diversity. Kindly break down the geographic makeup of your students and faculty.
provide content and support us. It’s a symbiotic relationship; many of our professors do consulting for local companies and so they are able to bring in high profile guest speakers to share specific knowledge. There is very strong involvement from local companies in the programme. Today, for example, they have gone to visit an online retailer set up by a former student, and in the next fortnight they are taking part in a conference lead by the CEO of a Swiss ethical textiles success story. We always aim to put the students in contact with local leaders.
How important is your alumni network in relation to the support it provides to new and existing students?
In an MBA programme the alumni are very important. During the 15 months that they are studying, students are completely immersed in
Corporate Social Responsibility
HEC Lausanne is widely recognized for its endeavours in the field of CSR. Can you talk to us about the thinking behind the publication HEC Lausanne’s professors authored entitled Responsible Management Practices for the 21st Century?
As we were planning and preparing the activities that we wanted to take place in conjunction with our centennial year, we began to consider what the relevant topic of the next 100 years would be. We decided that this will be responsibility management and so chose it as the reference topic for
CLASS OF 2011 – STATISTICS
Education Management / Economics
35-39 yrs Swiss 50%
>39 yrs 41%
29-34 yrs 32%
Sciences / Natural Sciences
HEC Lausanne MBA
all of the activities in this celebration year. The book is one of these activities. There are many publications about corporate responsibility, but the unique thing about this book is that it is the only one that has been written solely by a complete faculty. About 30 professors from our school have contributed, writing about corporate social responsibility (CSR) from their own individual perspectives in relation to their specialisation, reaching from supply-chain management to marketing or cost accounting.
You have also recently published a new CSR label. Again, can you talk to us about the thinking behind this and the industry sectors that were examined?
This label was motivated by two main challenges. Firstly, if you are focusing on CSR you are quite often asked who the good and bad performers are. Secondly, if you look at the landscape of measurement tools that exist, they are very often biased as they rely on corporate data or, they are overengineered as they ask hundreds of questions. The idea behind the new method used in the pilot study was to see whether you could evaluate the performance of corporations by asking a handful of questions. We tested the method by applying it to four industries: computers, pharmaceuticals, coffee and cocoa. We chose these industries because there are firms in each of them that have their headquarters in Switzerland or even at the Lake Geneva and because all of the industries has been highly disputed in terms of CSR. The criteria we chose include, for instance, whether or not the firms use a demanding standard to deal with the problem. They might use their own standards, follow local law, or build their programmes on the ambitious standards of multinational initiatives, such as the Fair Labor Association or the Forest Stewardship Council. These are highly demanding requirements that must be met in order to put the specification systems into practice. We also look at honesty; whether the firms talk about the problems they have or drown the readers of their CSR reports in pictures of happy children. The unique thing about this method is that it is following the supply chain. It is about the story that the product they sell tells and all of the steps that it takes along the journey from raw material to consumer.
To what extent is CSR embraced within the context of the MBA programmes you offer?
The students apply CSR related methods to case studies so that they can examine and train themselves in understanding the degree of responsibility within a company. In order to get CSR into the programme we hold an introductory week where all of the students come together
to discuss the challenges that real-world companies face. These companies come with problems that are on the interface of strategy and corporate responsibility and our students discuss solutions with experts from the industry. We believe that it is important to have corporate responsibility as a topic on the Executive MBA in order for students to get a broader understanding of their role in society, and not just with regards to their current position within their workplace. As a result, we decided to introduce this module regardless of whether or not the students asked for it. Today, we clearly see that our students see the need for a broader understanding of management and they are very happy with our focus on CSR.
Globalisation of Business
Given the competitive demands placed upon corporations today, and increasing globalisation – both of which require business leaders to be flexible and manage workforces and internal structures that cross cultural and political lines – have you redefined your MBA offering?
The Business Ethics module, for instance, is completely built on the idea of globalisation. It starts with a long session on globalisation, drawing conclusions for the role of corporations and managers in the new context of the 21st century. We have also introduced a module called Leading Cultural and Organisational Change, and this is linked to increases in globalisation. With
all modules, case studies have been adapted to the dynamics of globalisation. Moreover, to meet the needs of current times, we are also introducing a module concerning social media and related technologies.
To what extent are your students exposed to different business practices and cultures?
In the Business Ethics module we do case studies on Iran, Africa and Pakistan so that students are exposed to situations that aren’t European. Alongside this, the majority of students have worked abroad at some point so, although they are working and studying here, they bring with them the experience that they have gathered from various countries and share them with the rest of the cohort. The diversity of the class is crucial in aiding this and is something that we consider during the selection process.
What does the future hold for HEC Lausanne over the next twelve to eighteen months?
From a programme point of view, one of our aims is to see whether we want to enter the Financial Times Rankings and how we qualify there. It’s foreseen that we will also grow in size with the new healthcare specialisation; we will change the buildings, so there will be physical changes and investment in the campus area in EPFL as well HEC Lausanne.
★ Ari-Pekka Hameri is Professor of Operations Management at the University of Lausanne. His research interests are in operations and supply chain management. He is the academic director of the Executive MBA programme.
★ Guido Palazzo is professor of business ethics at the University of Lausanne and visiting fellow at the Universities of Nottingham and Oxford. He is the vice-director of the Executive MBA programme.
★ As Administrative Director of the Executive MBA programme, Isabelle Chappuis leads the operations team, selects the candidates and regularly revises the curriculum together with professors. She holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of St.Gallen (HSG), Switzerland.
Esmé Christie talks to Peter Lorange »
Today’s (Executive) MBA
As the competition for students between business schools increases, the number of credits required to obtain an MBA seems to be in decline. Is this diluting the experience and benefit students derive from the aforementioned qualification?
With some MBA programmes the number of credits required does appear to be in decline. However, the key is to focus on what is really required to create a top class Executive MBA (EMBA). The number of classes and teaching days that we offer are in line with our competitors but, for us, what matters is that our EMBA offering is truly relevant for the executives of the future. We offer a fantastically innovative programme that is highly modularised to allow participants to continue with their careers whilst studying.
these requirements. If the student is young and doesn’t fully know what they want then, yes, it could be a threat to the integrity of business education to have excessive student dictate. For me, however, the ‘students as customers’ metaphor is a vital, positive factor because we have students with greater business insight and experience.
Would it be fair to say that there has been a fundamental shift from teaching functional skills such as finance and accountancy to producing graduates who are more rounded in terms of their professional and personal skills?
There has been a fundamental shift in this direction. However, I would go beyond that and say that we are very much focusing on eclectic skills - seeing things as a collective unit and seeing the bigger picture. Many of the functional skills that
We offer a fantastically innovative programme that is highly modularised to allow participants to continue with their careers whilst studying. Many people enroll on MBA programmes in order to change careers, for example, historians, archaeologists or even priests who want to make the transition into business. This is not whom we cater for. We cater more for people who are in business and are looking for an EMBA qualification to enhance their business and career opportunities.
Some say that the greatest threat to the integrity of business education is the “students as customers” metaphor. Do you concur with this?
I don’t agree that the idea of ‘students as customers’ is a problem. On the contrary, we should be developing programmes that are pertinent for the students as customers. Our students know what they need as customers, as typically they are older and have more experience, and we must meet
are taught tend to be rather basic, and students can study them alone through a combination of books and virtual learning. For example, students can study basic finance and accounting prior to coming here, and then we can deal with the integration of this, and other topics, into a collective unit in the classroom. The entire approach is augmented by focusing on projects such as re-branding a business, as they typically require eclectic, cross-functional skills.
Return on Investment
An MBA graduate that performs well can anticipate certain opportunities. However, what can graduates typically expect from your EMBA programme, in terms of ROI?
The real question here is what the student can expect in terms of new opportunities, and this
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goes back to the point that students have not come here to change careers. The EMBA can help students to accelerate and solidify their careers. Many companies are downsizing as a result of the current economic climate - if you have a meaningful EMBA and a true view, then you’re in a much better position to remain in the organisation. We believe that the EMBA helps participants to do better in their companies and to be more relevant so that, in the end, they can achieve more challenging roles and receive better pay. I don’t agree with the thinking of those who undertake an EMBA simply to get a better salary. This is the problem with many of the people who take an MBA and it can be destructive, as they return to their former employees and expect to be treated as demigods, and they expect new titles. We, on the contrary, are saying that pay rise and promotion are natural developments as you become a better member of your team, and by being a better member you will, eventually, acquire a better a position. However, it is not a divine right!
How much emphasis should be placed upon the return that one obtains from a lifetime of networking with a group of smart, successful professionals?
Through our alumni organisation our students are able to meet with other students from very good companies. We offer a network for our alumni to stay in
touch, and the importance of this network cannot be over-emphasised. Our students tend to be from the German part of Switzerland and from Germany, as well as from other parts of the world and, when they enroll here, they know that they are becoming part of a powerful network.
Improving one’s knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) is certainly a motivating factor for MBA candidates. However, in your opinion, is KSA acquisition second to career progression?
Improving one’s knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) is critical for career progression and this is exactly what we try to provide our students with – a relevant KSA experience. I would be worried if a person achieved career progression without strong KSA, and simply due to the fact that they have a piece of paper from a business school. This is certainly not the case when it comes to our students.
The modern business world is becoming increasingly focused on the value of Corporate Social Responsibility. What is Lorange’s perspective on this essential element of contemporary business?
Personally, I believe that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is part of every programme. If you consider finance, for example, you need to ask yourself; “Can I give out dividends without ‘milking’ the company so much that it might
result in job losses?” or, “Can I promote human resource management in a way that might imply that people get fired as they become older?” or even, “Can I deal with organisational redesign and outsourcing in such a way that I turn my back on loyal employees in Switzerland by outsourcing say, to India, to save costs?” My answer to all of these is no. We have to build social responsibility into all topic areas. I would say that we are touching on this critical issue in every course that we offer. One of the things we are working very hard on is the Zurich Living Case. These are typically projects where the students work on recommendations concerning strategic issues for real-life companies, and they present their ideas to senior management or the president of the firm. Social responsibility is very prevalent in those presentations. We have a very honest and realistic view towards CSR.
Do you foresee the MBA admissions process becoming more simplified over the coming years?
This is less of an issue for us than for many other schools, as we recruit candidates who tend to be older and already have good jobs. Why would any potential participant come to us if their employer did not consider the investment in us, as a school, worthwhile? The fact that the employer financially backs that person by paying all or part of their tuition fees means more to us than the formal admissions criteria.
It’s interesting to see that when senior executives are taken out of the classical mould of what they traditionally know as learning, they often learn more. We intend to use more of these unorthodox, but indispensable, techniques.
It is important, of course, that our EMBAs have a good Bachelor’s degree, or exceptional practical experience, and it is also important that they pass the GMAT. However, we are not looking for ‘Einsteins’, but for people who are seen by their employers to be worthwhile investing in.
Some would propose that the accepted wisdom is that campus based learning provides a more focussed environment for the facilitation of university education. For executive education in the early 21st century, where business requires strategic flexibility and innovation, is this a fit perspective?
It’s important that business executives are taken away from their jobs to come here and study, and I think that it’s good that they recognise that at this institution learning for them means light, beauty and space. However, it becomes a problem if they are away from work for too long. It is imperative that they take their experiences from those short periods of time back to their jobs so that they are always, intellectually, close to their work. In that sense, yes, a campus is useful, and what we have here - the lake, the view, the beauty - does seem to be more conducive to this kind of learning. Our students are enthusiastic and they enjoy themselves when they are here.
BIOGRAPHY ★ Peter Lorange is the President of the Lorange Institute of Business Zurich.
Would it be fair to say that admission into a leading business school is attainable for anyone with a compelling background?
I can only speak for myself but, I would say that most people who get admitted here have a good business or public sector track record. This makes it likely that they will benefit from being here. We make room on the programme for highly qualified people who should be accepted, especially when the firms that they work for back them financially.
leadership lessons from all angles, and it has been highly appreciated. It’s interesting to see that when senior executives are taken out of the classical mould of what they traditionally know as learning, they often learn more. We intend to use more of these unorthodox, but indispensable, techniques.
Over the next 12 to 18 months, what can new and existing students expect, in terms of programme innovations, from the Lorange Institute of Business Zurich?
There are four key things that I would like to mention here – our plans to focus more on Asia, expanding on sustainability, expanding on the role of the board, and looking more at new ways of teaching. One of the innovations we seem to have in hand now is the engagement of a tenpiece, classical orchestra. They are observed by a group of senior executives who then have to conduct the orchestra themselves. The musicians, without ridiculing them, give the executives constructive feedback, but it does not end there! The executives are then required to compose something that will be played by the orchestra. In doing this, one really sees how hard it is to be a leader when trying to implement innovation. What we do touches upon generalised,
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Setting the Alexandra Skinner talks to Mike Gilbert and Gino Franco
Your on-campus MBA programme is accredited by the Chartered Management Institute. What does this mean and how does it enhance the qualification?
We try to link, where possible, what we do to professional bodies or programmes and it was evident that we didn’t have a professional link for the MBA. We approached the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) to determine whether we could get our MBA accredited and provide students with a route to Chartered Management status. We went through a validation process to ensure the quality of the programme and we now have an MBA that is not only benchmarked with higher education standards but also with professional management standards. This means that our students can now say that they have reached an academic, benchmarked status that is currently recognised in the UK and will be, in the long-term, internationally. We have just finalised accreditation and are now known as an Approved Centre. From November we will become an Integrated Centre. This will allow us to verify all of the work that is going through the process and to
offer our recommendation for candidates to move to Chartered Management status. What really makes us distinctive as an institution is the degree of employer engagement that we have. A key benchmark for employer engagement with an academic qualification is recognition from a relevant professional body. Therefore, CMI status for an MBA programme is fantastic. There is another very significant added synergy which gets to the core of what we are about as a business school and a university; transferable skills that people actually use. This is a key element of the MBA programme that is undertaken at the end of the course and something that the CMI look for. This isn’t a dissertation, which many MBAs have, but a Business Impact Report. As the name suggests, this isn’t just a project or mini dissertation that’s done in the student’s place of work. It is something that also demonstrates the positive impact that they have made in their place of work. What we do is create graduates, whether they are undergraduates or postgraduates, who can make a positive contribution straight away.
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Finally, management experience is a key criteria for entry on to the Derby MBA. Work experience is essential to the teaching and learning strategy as students make an active contribution to the learning process – and this is critical to the MBA.
You offer a full-time, part-time and online study option, which is the most popular and why?
At the moment the most popular is the part-time option. However, with the research that we have undertaken looking at the various modes of study, we have seen that online study is progressing year on year in terms of numbers and we anticipate that within the next two years it will overtake both full-time and part-time combined. One of the reasons for this is the increase in international students who are choosing the online study option. We also have a professional entry route, so if you come to us with another professional qualification, such as from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, you get an advanced standing on the MBA. This gives you the option to do fewer modules as you will have already met some of the MBA learning outcomes at the right level through your professional study. Bearing in mind that we have received CMI accreditation quite recently, one of the other reasons that the part-time option is so popular is that we have a reputation that has been built up over the years, particularly within the East Midlands, of creating graduates that can actually apply their skills effectively and concurrently in their workplace. It’s not an ivory tower qualification, it has a very practical focus. This is the fourth university business school that I have worked in and I have never seen an MBA with so many sponsored students, even in the wake of the financial constraints that we’ve had over the past few years. So the regional economy has the utmost confidence in us. We have some very big players regionally and we actively work with them.
How does the online study option differ, if at all, in terms of curriculum, cost and time?
It doesn’t; what we have created is the ‘Derby MBA’ so that regardless of your mode of study there will be comparability in terms of the learning experience. We didn’t want to create something different for a different route of study. As far as we are concerned, you are a University of Derby student, regardless of your mode of study.
In terms of student support, as well as having structural systems in place that the students recognise and value, we operate an open door policy, and this includes our online students too. Million+, the university think-tank, did a piece of research recently and the University of Derby was top of the table for student support. As you go through your MBA and you’re pushed for time you want to know that a support mechanism is in place and that it’s accessible, and this is what we provide. This is one of the reasons that our students act as evangelists for us – they talk about our programme and the way that we support them and this generates significant interest in the MBA.
It’s not an ivory tower qualification; it has a very practical focus. With the online MBA we’ve implemented certain technology that allows things to happen in real-time, so studying online is not just about achieving a static ‘learning repository’ but an active experience that students share with one another and, of course, their tutors. We integrate our online students with our campus students through video conferencing, seminars and lectures. This allows the online students to feel engaged with the rest of the cohort through discussion boards, blogs and wikis. We are currently in the process of bringing all of our study materials together under one technical platform. This will allow the student, regardless of their mode of study, access to that material. The mode of study will be clearly labelled, but it’s another frame of reference. If you are a University of Derby student you will have access to the materials used for each option and be able to choose from them. We see this as a big added value advantage. Instead of the students on different routes wondering what they may be missing out on, they will be able to view it all and see that there is great comparability in the learning experience. As the online students get involved with full and part-time students it helps them to share the different levels of experience and understanding within the cohort. At the end of the day learning is a shared experience. It allows students to see that a lot of the workings, challenges and opportunities that they experience within an organisation are not as unique as they thought they were and that there are a lot of similarities in experiences. Our number one passion is the quality of the student experience. Secondly, we listen to people. The teaching staff on the MBA have not come from traditional academic backgrounds, but from industry. We each have practical experiences and so we understand the complexity of the problems students experience and how they manifest
What really makes us distinctive as an institution is the degree of employer engagement that we have. themselves in real-life circumstances. This gives us a level of empathy because we appreciate where the problems or frustrations are coming from. We can relate our experiences, which is fantastic, not only for opening up the relationship with the student but also for cementing it. The student feels that they are being listened to and that, alongside their peer group, the tutor is also validating their feelings. This is critical and allows students to feel more comfortable in asking questions. In a more formal environment students may be reticent and hope that someone asks the question. A key part of the MBA learning experience, as distinct from other management programmes, is learning from the peer group – hence the work experience requirement.
You’ve built a residential component into your MBA offering. Kindly expand upon this.
There is a real purpose to the Residential. It is about the underpinning aspects of good management communications, involving decision-making, planning and analysis, and it really does work. It is used as part of a module on the programme. For many students, early in the programme, there is still a degree of uncertainty. One of the mechanisms that we use to break down barriers and get them talking is to take them on the Residential. Currently we take them out to an executive rural retreat where we give them a series of practical challenges. The exercise itself isn’t important; it’s the thinking behind it, the problem solving, the decision-making, and the reflection. Reflection has become a key part of the MBA; it’s used in order to get these managers and potential senior managers of the future to stop and look at themselves, to understand what they are doing, how they’re doing it and how they’re communicating. We find that, despite being only a weekend, it makes such a difference to the student when they go back into the classroom the following week. Now, where the communication with each other had previously been a bit tentative, they’re talking to each other, discussing what they do and how they do it. A residential element is useful for any type and any level of academic, but it’s critical for the MBA because, again, it’s about people sharing their experiences. What the residential aspect does is help people to get to know one another so that it becomes easier to share experiences and views. One of the clear advantages is that it builds up a social and support network. As well as making friends from it, every single student will at some point experience difficulty, whether it be a family issue or a work issue, and it’s very helpful to know that other people have experienced the same thing.
The Derby MBA is about the individual, and the individual being able to make wise decisions.
To what extent do you liaise with local and national businesses in order to understand the ROI expectations of employers and how much influence do these businesses have on the structure of your MBA offering?
We have constant interaction with a range of businesses, professional institutions and skills councils. We also have University of Derby Corporate, which is the business-facing element of the University. This enables us to customise something to the exact requirement of a company so that it is completely bespoke. This could involve off-the-shelf modules, 100 per cent
workplace based learning, an existing whole programme such as the MBA, or a combination of all of these. We have a history of producing graduates who can stand on their own two feet and make an immediate contribution to the workplace. This, importantly, isn’t after they’ve graduated; it’s during their study. All of the assessments on the MBA are geared towards the company the student is working for. This means that they are able to make a contribution from day one.
Our number one passion is the quality of the student experience. With regards to return on investment, we ask our students to create a business case. If a student is approaching their organisation for sponsorship they will need to be convinced as to why they should sponsor them to do an MBA. We have a template that we use with students to take them through the initial stages of the plan. Beyond this they have to stop and look at it and start building their own business case and justification for why they should be sponsored by the organisation. The undertaking of this indirectly leads them ultimately into the Business Impact Study; you can begin to see the individual having an impact in the way that they’re changing what they’re doing. We also have an innovative module in the MBA called Developing Skills for Business Leaders. This focuses on enabling people to develop some form of impact. We could deliver the latest thinking on HR, marketing or financial strategy, but the key element is to look at how the individual is then going to take that knowledge and apply it at work. What skills do they already have that will enable them to do this; what skills do they need to develop? Ultimately, the module is geared towards the strengths, weaknesses and
individual goals of the student, and this helps to facilitate them reaching a stage where they can make an impact with what they have learnt on the MBA.
Many schools have witnessed an increase in the number of self-funded MBA applicants. Is this something you’ve experienced at Derby, or are local businesses quite supportive when it comes to corporate funding etc?
Only in small numbers, but nothing significant. A high proportion of both our online and part-time MBA students are sponsored. This demonstrates how highly regarded we are in the business community. The businesses that we have relationships with are confident that they will get a return on investment for supporting members of their staff through our MBA programme.
The level of work experience required by a growing number of schools appears to be in decline. Whilst this may boost enrolment, what impact does this have on the quality of one’s programme?
We focus on peer-support and this is often the best learning tool that the students have. We hold the diverse nature of the MBA group very dearly, regardless of age, gender or religion, and we encourage the different dynamics. It is a critical part of the learning experience as it encourages the individual’s perceptions to be broken down. If you haven’t got any work experience you cannot enrol on the MBA as you would be unable to participate in the learning experience. Management experience is critical to the teaching and learning strategy as students make an active contribution to the learning experience using their work knowledge. We value diversity, but there are minimum standards that we adhere to. It’s not just about the number of years in a job, it’s also about the quality of the experience and that you have had work experience in a management capacity. We’re interested in the authenticity rather than just the numbers. There is pressure on business schools, particularly from a financial point of view, to accept students who don’t have any experience, but doing so is a zero sum gain. What we are very much focussed on at Derby, alongside the qualification, is the development of self. The Derby MBA is about the individual, and the individual being able to make wise decisions. Business doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and nor does management. It is impacted upon, and it impacts on the economy, society, culture, morals, ethics and, of course, the natural environment. This is what we want our graduates to think about; it’s about where they fit into the bigger picture and not just money.
We have a history of producing graduates who can stand on their own two feet and make an immediate contribution to the workplace. This would very much depend on the student’s objective. MBAs, because of the bad press, are sometimes perceived as a cash-cow and indeed a primary motivation for study may be a salary increase. This might be a genuine objective for some. However, others may want a career, or want to change the orientation of their career, or perhaps move from the public sector to the private sector. It’s about finding out what the MBA can do for you as an individual. Branding is hugely important but, it isn’t about buying a brand, it’s about you. If you are buying a brand, that is the product. However, the product of our business
school is not an MBA, it’s a graduate. The evidence of this is that they have the MBA after their name. Some potential students come in with an idea of what they want to do. However, during conversation we may find that the best advice is that perhaps this isn’t the right programme for them. There may be a different qualification that they should be doing to help them achieve their personal objectives. It’s not just about a student approaching us to do the MBA and us enrolling them, it’s about discovering whether there is a fit. If you can’t see the fit, or they don’t
Sadly, not all programmes are created equal; therefore, programme selection is incredibly important. What do potential students need to consider when identifying, assessing and selecting an MBA programme?
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know what their objectives are, it’s much harder to get them to where they want to be. Once we can get them to understand what these goals are and create a picture of themselves, we can lead, direct and support to get them to the stage where they understand their reasons for being an MBA. It’s about individuals and customisation, and this is what our students’ value, sometimes more than anything else.
Given the competitive demands placed upon corporations today, and increasing globalisation – both of which require business leaders to be flexible and manage workforces and internal structurves that cross cultural and political lines – have you redefined your MBA offering?
We have, in terms of content, theory and knowledge, but also in how we integrate different cohorts. For example, a student may be working for a small firm in Derby whose customers and suppliers are all local. They may wonder what the relevance of globalisation is for them. It only takes five minutes of looking at the components of their product to find out that ‘x’ comes from China or ‘y’ comes from India. They then realise that what happens in these locations will have a significant effect if you cannot get the resource and, as a result, are unable to manufacture anything. We are a chain; even if you don’t have direct contact with international organisations there will be a knock-on effect that will affect them very quickly, either positively or negatively. Redefining the MBA is therefore absolutely critical. We haven’t just redefined these things; we’ve also looked at globalisation, ethics, impact, action, and skills. The MBA has been completely redesigned and we are now coming to the end of the first year of what we have called the ‘New MBA’. The online component has also been redesigned in line with the on-campus one. This links very much to the reason why we are seeing an increase in the international online provision; it’s because it has more of a global feel to it.
What can we expect from Derby over the next twelve to eighteen months?
There will be two key things to look out for; significant expansion of the online distance learning option and the use of the new technology that is embedded into it. The focus will also be on the aforementioned comparability of the learning experience, no matter the mode of study, to ensure that all students have an excellent experience and a challenging experience. This will be alongside the integration between the students. The plan is to record all of our lectures and guest seminars. We want students to have access to everything and for them to pick and choose the bits that we believe to be the most relevant to their learning.
BIOGRAPHIES ★ Mike Gilbert is overall programme leader for the MBA, with a speciﬁc responsibility for ensuring that everyone studying the programme through the University of Derby (whether oncampus, off-campus, or online) has a comparable learning experience. Mike was the key driver in ensuring that the MBA gained accreditation by the CMI and is the internal veriﬁer for all MBA candidates wishing to apply for Chartered Manager status. Mike is particularly interested in equality in the workplace and managing an internationally diverse workforce. ★ Gino Franco is the programme leader of the part-time MBA programme. Gino is also a senior lecturer in purchasing and logistics and teaches on postgraduate and in-company programmes.
MBA with CMI accredited Chartered Manager status • Start in January or September • Combine work with learning – study part time or online
Find out more at our open day Saturday 4 February
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NOT YOUR AVERAGE Alexandra Skinner talks to Susan Balint » MBA Trends
In recent decades, the trend for enrolment in MBA studies has been directly influenced by economic flux. Has Westminster Business School (WBS) observed this relationship and how has it affected your MBA offering?
In this competitive environment student recruitment has certainly been impacted by the recent economic crisis. Companies have increasingly withdrawn scholarships and so this has affected student numbers. The positive side of this is that it has meant that we have had to work harder to ensure that our offerings are more suited to the requirements of individual students, and we believe that we have done this by focusing on bridging the gap between theory and practice. We give students the confidence, the mental models and the decision-making processes to be able to be effective, inspirational leaders.
With the increasing percentage of Generation Y students embarking on MBA programmes, schools have needed to adapt their programmes or face the
possibility of looking stale. Has the WBS MBA evolved with the expectations of potential students?
I would say Generation Y are not the real drivers for us. All of our existing MBA students are very busy senior executives with high expectations of our programme. We obviously have high expectations for our programme as well, so we constantly make sure that it is relevant to the challenges that our students will be facing in their future business lives. The first thing that we have done is to make a more integrated programme. In practice this means that in bringing disciplines together, we are recognising in reality, business problems are seldom single-issue items. What this translates into on the programme is team teaching, where you have more than one professor in a classroom at any point in time, and the cohort take more of an overview and look at problems holistically. It’s very much part of the teaching that you would expect on an MBA, where you look at things from a broad perspective rather than getting involved at a lower operational level.
In terms of improving the MBA, we’ve looked at the whole programme and re-engineered it. We’ve looked at the alumni networks, we are giving one-to-one advice to students on careers, moving away from general advice and sometimes bringing in a consultant to do this. We’re talking now, of course, quite seriously about the modes and means of delivery. We’re moving away from the traditional approach, which was a Tuesday and Thursday night and alternate Saturdays, into something where people have blocks of time away from work, and a greater choice of electives. We’re very much following, in a sense, the market trend for people wanting a greater variety of modules, such as innovation and entrepreneurship, and moving away from the generic modules. So it really is a refreshed programme.
International Study We previously touched upon the international study trip you offer which, as you might expect, has piqued the interest of some of our readers. You mentioned that you offer students a number of different destinations from which to choose.
(a) Can you expand upon the options students are given and why you have chosen the destinations in question?
Westminster Business School MBA
We always look at the balance between student numbers and the quality of teaching and learning. For us, having small cohorts is an essential part of our pedagogy and our whole approach to delivering the MBA. We offer this as we believe that we are a global MBA and that understanding business globally, different cultures and ways of doing business, is an important element of our MBA philosophy.
(c) As part of your Social Corporate Entrepreneurship (SCE) module, your students go to Kampala, Uganda, for two weeks where they work as management consultants with local charities. Whilst this is a tremendous opportunity and, as we touched upon last time, sharpens the focus of the student in relation to CSR, is this offered in conjunction with the aforementioned international study trip?
MBA... The international study trip is an important part of our programme. Business is now global, and we believe that it’s important that all of our students get first hand experience of what it really means to do business in a foreign country. The purpose of the trip is to challenge stereotypes, to really make sure that all of our students realise that the Western way of doing business is not universal. Therefore we look for global destinations. This year the international study trip took place in Moscow and China. In China we went to the powerhouse region of Guangdong. Here we were looking at the implications of doing business with BRIC countries. We also undertook a study trip to Copenhagen. The focus here was on innovation, as Denmark is renowned for the innovation of its industry. The final destination for 2011 was America. We had trips to both Washington and Baltimore. This was focussed more on the students from the public sector, with the emphasis on how to lobby governments and deal with a more commercial public sector than we currently have in the UK.
(b) Is the international study trip built into the cost of the programme, or are students expected to pay for this separately and, if so, what is the cost attached to this?
The cost of the trip is included in the course fees.
It’s a separate trip as the SCE module is an elective. The thinking behind this module is two-fold. Firstly, it’s part of the international strategy. It’s the idea that students will get exposed to a different environment, one that they can’t read about in a book. They actually go out and undertake two weeks of charity work in Kampala on a social issue. However, beyond that, it’s about establishing long-term relationships in Africa. We’re trying to move away from the traditional AngloSaxon model of capitalism, which is about profit maximisation and capital markets, and give the student a more rounded education where they are getting away from economic imperatives being the driving force and actually thinking about social problems. Here, with an MBA graduate, you are going beyond salary levels and careers and looking for the global citizen. The idea of being exposed to social problems in Africa, working there and establishing long-term relationships, starts to create a broad-based personality and begins to change people in a very positive way.
Value for Money
Your cohorts are very small, thus ensuring students receive the one-toone help and support they need. Whilst this is very impressive and, of course, ensures that you are able to continue to attract high potential middle managers, given the price point attached to your full-time and parttime programmes, have you considered increasing your intake?
We always look at the balance between student numbers and the quality of teaching and learning. For us, having small cohorts is an essential part of our pedagogy and our whole approach to delivering the MBA. The MBA has a real emphasis on faculty and students being peers. Mutual learning and the exchange of ideas is so important, and we found that we can only really do that with comparatively small cohort sizes. We are potentially looking to increase our student numbers, but we would still split the cohort into small subgroups so as not to dilute the classroom experience.
(d) Would it be fair to say that you offer your students greater exposure to international business and cultures than the majority of programme providers operating within the MBA arena?
Obviously the international global emphasis is an important part of our programme. We emphasise it more than some, but I think that you will find that this is an element of most leading MBA programmes.
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learning through debate and discussion, and we like potential students to experience this.
With difficulty, but we are a business school and we teach our students to be able to deliver high quality products and services at a lower cost, so we have to practice what we preach. The whole premise of The University of Westminster, since its inception when Quintin Hogg set up the then Regent Street Polytechnic in the 1890s, has been on providing high quality, low cost education for relevant students. So we are really just continuing with that philosophy. It also helps that we are part of one of the largest business schools in London, therefore, a number of the overheads can be dispersed over a wide subject base.
Given the quality of your faculty and the international exposure your students enjoy, how are you able to maintain such competitive pricing?
Test Driving the Programme
Putting together a shortlist of business schools you would like to apply to is not easy with so much choice. With this in mind, do you allow potential students to sit in on lectures and meet with the students and alumni?
We believe that our current students and alumni are some of our greatest ambassadors. They know the quality of the teaching and learning experience that they have received here, and they also see how it has benefitted them in their work environments. We always encourage our potential students to meet and speak with our students and alumni. We also give demonstration lectures so that they can see our teaching approach. I say lectures, but with our teaching style we don’t give the traditional one hour or 90 minute lectures. Our teaching approach is very interactive, it’s
Last year you mentioned that you were trying to start a consortium MBA in order maximise the learning opportunities available to your students. Has any headway been made in this area and to what extent have you continued to grow external partnerships?
We are making headway into what we relate to as a BRIC consortium MBA. This would enable students to spend six weeks, or even a semester, at one of our partner institutions in China or Russia. We are also now looking for partners in South America. However, the wheels of academia turn a little slower than the wheels of business and the formal arrangements for these are still underway. In the meantime, we are offering students the opportunity to undertake modules in conjunction with students at our partner institutions, and we will work and learn together to promote our philosophy of global business and global learning.
You are redeveloping parts of the campus. Can you expand upon the reasons behind this and what this will mean for WBS students in the future?
If you come to our Marylebone campus, you will see that it is an award winning 1970s campus. While over the years improvements have been made, we recognise that the teaching space could
be made more suitable for the demands of current pedagogical approaches. We are happy to announce that the university has invested a substantial amount of money in redeveloping the campus. With this, we will be creating highest specification, state-of-the-art teaching and social spaces in order to meet the demands and expectations of all of our students.
BIOGRAPHY ★ Dr Susan Balint is a Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management and Director of the MBA programme at the University of Westminster Westminster Business School. Susan holds a BSc (Hons) in Engineering Science from Durham University, an MBA from Glasgow University and a PhD from Paisley University.
We are happy to announce that the university has invested a substantial amount of money in redeveloping the campus. With this, we will be creating highest specification, state-of-the-art teaching and social spaces in order to meet the demands and expectations of all of our students.
FIA International MBA in Brazil Make all the right connections in a high growth market and accelerate your career.
FIA Business School FIA Business School has the only Brazilian MBA program consistently ranked since 2005 among the best in the world by the Financial Times of London. Our Executive MBA alumni obtain the top 20 salaries in the world and are considered as the best qualified students and faculty in Latin America. Located in São Paulo, the business capital of Brazil, FIA offers MBAs entirely in English with an unique combination of world class theory and an immersion in Brazil’s most dynamic business center. The courses include:
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• Full-time International MBA — one year, in a multicultural class with 10 nationalities. • Part-time International MBA — a two year program in a multicultural class. • Americas MBA — four schools, one year part-time in Brazil, immersions in the USA, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. • International Executive MBA — a traditional 18 month program for senior executives with classes in China, India, USA and Europe.
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DEVELOPING THE BUSINESS LEADERS OF THE FUTURE Alexandra Skinner talks to Zeynep Canli » Introduction
To what extent are you changing programme structures, formats and requirements in order to appeal to today’s MBA candidates?
We change them constantly. Sometimes these can be major changes, such as when we reduced the programme from two years to one year, but we also continually update the curriculum. This is not only done on the academic side, but also taking into consideration the overall expectation of students. For example, this year we added coaching as a module in order to help students better understand themselves and to discover the best career path for them.
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To what extent do you liaise with local and national businesses in order to understand the ROI expectations of employers and how much influence do these businesses have on the structure of your MBA offering?
We are constantly in touch with local companies. This could be indirectly, such as through our executive education programmes, or directly. When we go to businesses to talk to them about their executive education needs, we also learn about their expectations for the MBA programmes and the Executive MBA (EMBA). We try to incorporate both types of feedback into our academic curriculum. The age group of the typical Executive MBA class is always going to be higher than that of the full-time and is normally geared to middle managers.
With this in mind, kindly define the age group of your existing EMBA cohort?
The range varies, though the average age is 34 and the average work experience is 10 years. We try to push this as much as possible as we’d like to have more experienced students in the class as it creates a better learning experience for everyone. We do, of course, have more mature students as well as younger students.
students without work experience and the MBA is for students with a few years work experience. The demand for both has been very good.
(b). Could this be considered a preMBA programme?
It’s not a pre-MBA programme. If you have an MIM, you can start your management career without doing an MBA. However, what you may decide to do years later is an EMBA instead.
You offer a limited number of scholarships. To what extent has this bolstered the quality of your intake and, generally speaking, what do you look for in an applicant?
What impact does this have on the collective learning experience and the networking opportunities attached?
So, while we don’t envisage new programmes or major additions to our current offerings, we would like to make sure that our programme portfolio is up-to-date, expanded and delivered with superior quality.
We like our students to have solid work experience. The examples that those with more experience bring to the classroom, and the experiences that they have had during their careers, really help to create good class discussions. The more experience you have, the more initiative and responsibility you can take. You bring that with you into the classroom and you are able to see not just one perspective, but also the managerial perspective. In 2010 you launched the Masters in International Management programme for managers with less work experience.
(a). What was the motivation behind this and what has the demand been like?
We became part of the Global Alliance of Management Education (CEMS) network in order to implement our Masters in International Management (MIM) programme. CEMS consists of 16 universities and more than 50 organisations, so it’s a completely international and very prestigious programme. Only one university is selected from each country and, to that extent, we are very proud to be part of the network. The CEMS MIM is targeted towards students without work experience. They graduate from, in our case, a four-year undergraduate programme and they can then apply to enrol on our Masters in International Business programme. The way that we have positioned it is that the MIM is for
It’s a challenge for us, in the Turkish market, to attract qualified people with work experience as many of our competitors do not require work experience for their MBA programmes and so students are not used to this requirement. They often don’t want to leave their jobs to pursue a fulltime MBA. However, we explain to students that the MBA is built upon work experience, and we use the scholarships to attract strong candidates. In the past we offered scholarships based on academic performance, so to those students with high Graduate Management Administration Test (GMAT) or high Grade Point Average (GPA) scores. Now, however, we consider work experience to be more important and so we only consider those students with work experience. Obviously we do take the GMAT and GPA scores into consideration, but we look at a combination of the three areas with the individual’s work experience carrying the most weight.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Last year we discussed your commitment to CSR, the way in which you have integrated it into your EMBA offering and your partnerships with PRME – Principles for Responsible Management Education – and the United Nations Development Programme. To what extent have you built upon the aforementioned alliances and have you any plans to strengthen the CSR aspect of your MBA value proposition?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an essential component of our MBA programme, and we have integrated it as part of our Leadership and Development Programme.
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We have created a strategic alliance with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Turkey and experts from the UNDP come and teach in our classes. We have also integrated CSR into our entrepreneurship class. Here, students are required to undertake a project where they come up with a business idea. The major requirement for the project is that the business idea must be profitable, but it must also contribute to the bottom of the pyramid, so to speak. We call this our New Venture Development Course and it is mandatory for all MBA students. To this extent, CSR is certainly in the
Globalisation of Business
Given the competitive demands placed upon corporations today, and increasing globalisation – both of which require business leaders to be flexible and manage workforces and internal structures that cross cultural and political lines – have you redefined your executive MBA programme?
We continuously update our EMBA programme. In fact, we really have a fantastic programme there is very good demand for it and student satisfaction is high. However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t try to develop it further. Every year we renew our curriculum. The faculty look at it and sometimes change the emphasis from one course to another. For example, we recently increased the credit of the law classes. The reasoning behind this was that as you become more experienced you require more leadership skills and need to be more informed about the legal system, as opposed to more functional areas that you may already have expertise in. Next year we are introducing Government and Society as a new course within the EMBA. This will focus on the importance of businesses having a relationship with the government. We like to draw attention to other areas of business that are of growing importance alongside the core modules. We continue to have a very solid programme in functional areas such as marketing, finance and accounting, but we also update the curriculum based on changing demands.
The main focus is to continue to do what we are doing, but to an even higher standard. curriculum and is emphasised through the leadership programme with guest speakers. We recently started a new programme where we teach and consult for free. We offer this in co-operation with the Municipality of Şirnak Province and Novartis; it’s is a global programme offering teaching guidance to patient groups. We like to include our alumni in our CSR initiatives, so we asked them if they would like to volunteer and teach on these ‘executive education’ programmes. The response has been very positive. We obviously have faculty members but, in collaboration with them, our alumni graduates teach as well as part of our own CSR initiative. Aside from the aforementioned, we admit students to the MBA based on the CSR criterion by looking at the extent to which they commit to the rules of responsible management. We emphasise this in our interviews.
How much exposure are students given to international business?
The MIM is a global course with the emphasis on having graduates that are capable of living
and doing business in any country once the have graduated. However, whilst we emphasise the global nature of business in our core MBA programme, for example in the marketing and finance modules, we do offer specialised electives focussing on international business. In the case of our EMBA this comes in the form of a structured programme. It is not an elective and all of the students go through the same curriculum. Alongside this, the majority of our faculty are non-Turkish, dual citizens or have lived in a global context, so they bring a global perspective into the classroom.
What does the future hold for KU over the next twelve to eighteen months?
The main focus is to continue to do what we are doing, but to an even higher standard. We have emphasised executive education a lot over the last few years and we are keen to have more international collaborations in the executive education arena. We also want to increase the size of our MBA programme. So, while we don’t envisage new programmes or major additions to our current offerings, we would like to make sure that our programme portfolio is up-to-date, expanded and delivered with superior quality.
BIOGRAPHY ★ Zeynep Canli is the Director of the Graduate School of Business at Koç University and Associate Dean for the College of Administrative Sciences and Economics.
European MBA Review
Blazing the Graduate Trail in Poland Alexandra Skinner talks to Dr Zuzanna Kalisiak » Getting to Know the Polish Open University
You started the Polish Open University with your late husband, Dr Hab. Jerzy Kalisiak. What was your vision for the school when you set out and to what extent have you realized this vision?
When we started POU we had a very clear vision and mission and we knew what we wanted to achieve. It just happened that my husband, in the early 70s, spent a year in Philadelphia at the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, and I joined him there for six months. During this time he was writing his book and I was undertaking my PhD. For us, this was an introduction to an entirely different education system. We came from a very traditional system where professors were listened to. At Wharton we could see that in academia you can discuss and share your observations and research, and that you can argue without constraint. This was a big
discovery for us. In 1973 my husband developed the concept of ‘How a Modern Business School Should Look’ and it was his dream to set up such a school in Poland. Of course, in the 1970s, and even the 80s, this wasn’t possible and so we had to wait. In the early 1980s I had an offer to work in Geneva for the United Nations (UN). The offer was totally unexpected and was, in fact, a result of me being in Philadelphia seven years previously. Whilst I was in Philadelphia I enrolled on a seminar in econometrics. Professor Lawrence Klein, a great economist who was undertaking a lot of projects, ran the seminar. When I got the offer to work for the UN as a trade and development expert, I was asked who could recommend me for the post and I said Professor Lawrence Klein. At that time I didn’t know that he was the Chief Consultant to the UN and I got the role without an interview. It was a shock for many of those in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as they couldn’t understand why this person who
wasn’t a member of a communist party, and didn’t have an important role, could get such a job. So, I went to Geneva and my husband took unpaid leave and joined me with my children. What I observed was that there was some sort of constraint in the people who were coming there to study from different countries. I was trying to find out why, because actually the level of education in many countries was very good, so as far as substance was concerned, people were prepared. The issue was what we were able to do with the substance. The knowledge alone is not sufficient, rather it is about creativity, imagination and innovation. In real life, you have to apply what you know and do things with it to make an impact. Towards the end of the 1980s the situation in Poland was changing, and my husband said that this was the moment and that we had to start. I resigned from my well-paid job in the UN to do something where, at least at the beginning, I was getting no remuneration. Now, when I look back, I think we must have been crazy! However you have to be a little bit crazy, but know what you are doing at the same time. You need to take considered risks.
Academiaâ€™s Success Story in Poland
This is your 20th anniversary and you have achieved a great deal over the last two decades. What do you consider to be the keys to your success?
I think that achievements donâ€™t necessarily mean success. It depends on what you are measuring. Itâ€™s about a starting point. We had a vision and mission, but we needed money to start, and the right environment to see what would come out of this activity. We also really we needed a partner to help and support us in the process. The vision was very vague and we needed to do something much more complete. We had quite a few delegates from many countries, from France, the US and Great Britain who represented different educational institutions that were looking to create a partnership. We received an offer from the delegates at Thames Valley College, now known as University of West London, to develop the project and submit it for funding and, if the project got accepted, to move forward and collaborate together. By combining our vision with something that already existed in the UK we were able to work together to develop something new. From the very first model that we worked on we decided that the key would be for students to be at the centre instead of professors. At the time, there was no expertise in Poland. We had some great economists in the area of
central-planned economy, but this is not the same as knowing about the market economy. Within the projects we developed books for students. Our colleagues in the UK wrote these, but then we translated and adapted them to meet local needs. We looked at how the whole system was operating in the UK and we tried to adapt it to our Polish market. So, from the beginning, our focus was on the needs of students and employers, and this was our primary consideration in setting up learning outcomes and developing the strategy for assessment with the University of West London. We sent our teachers for training in the UK, and through this very close working relationship we were able to develop something that worked here that was very different to the traditional system. The partnership also allowed us to accredit the programme in the UK so that students could benefit from a dual degree. So here the focus was on trying to develop the institution and the expertise amongst teachers, as well as developing the system. I think that in Polish education, where professors are at the centre of the system, deciding what to teach and how to check the effectiveness of the programme, the focus is very different. In creating this new environment, we established a mechanism where the knowledge and experience could be used to develop students and bring good results. The system is one of the great keys to our success.
In relation to your EMBA programme, over the past year you have had more graduates passing through your programme than any other university in Poland. To what do attribute this achievement?
There are a few reasons. The majority of EMBAs offered in Poland are typical international programmes where, very often, the faculty is flown in from different places and so they have no real link to the situation in Poland. However, our focus has been on developing and upgrading everything whilst taking into consideration where we are. We are internationalising the programme more and more by encouraging more exchange between our students in Poland and our partners, such as Oxford Brooks University in the UK. I believe that we are better prepared to offer the EMBA in the way that it should be. In going through this process the content in our programme became more integrated between the different fields. This is a key feature of our EMBA.
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When we talk to employers they always compliment us on the fact that the graduates that go through our programme come out much better prepared to tackle real-life problems.
POU was the first business school in Poland to be accredited by AMBA. Will you be pursuing additional accreditations?
Yes, in the future, of course. I believe that accreditation brings you a new perspective. It’s not just to be monitored and checked, it gives some feedback as to what the programme’s about, how it’s doing and how it can be changed.
You have created the MBA Club. Can you talk to me about the function of the club and who it services?
The club is actually most active in Krakow. For many years there was a big group of students who were meeting regularly there, but I think that the formula has to be changed. In Poland there are differences between regions, and so we feel that a platform should be created to enable better exchange among our three campuses. It would also allow exchange between our students and those at Oxford Brooks University.
I think that we really need to find a new incentive and motivation for people to use the club, and if we were to present the benefits of this exchange, and I’m convinced it’s there, then the club can really add value to students and graduates. Poland is a country where a club, such as this, plays a very special role in society. The Polish have different values, and more and more business people and managers are seeing the benefit of being associated with a group. I think that the MBA class would benefit from participating in these developments.
Moving with the Times
In recent decades, the trend for enrolment in MBA studies has been directly influenced by economic flux. Has the Polish Open University (POU) observed this relationship and how has it affected your MBA offering?
In Poland we are still benefiting from European funds. For instance, last year, we received a grant
to offer our MBA programme to managers in small and medium size enterprises – expanding MBA opportunities to an underrepresented group. As a result, the number of candidate applications increased enormously. With an MBA there is real value in the programme, however, the value is not recognised by many medium-sized companies in Poland. What this grant indicates is that people are keen to do the MBA, but very often cannot afford the tuition fees. The fee is comparably low compared to UK fees. However, if we look at average salaries and the relationship between them and the cost of living in Poland, it’s relatively high. There is a future for the MBA in Poland. It is not that the demand for the programme is decreasing, but more that, perhaps, there needs to be an adjustment in the price point.
With the increasing percentage of Generation Y students embarking on MBA programmes, schools have needed to adapt their programmes or face the possibility of looking stale. Do you feel that your MBA programmes have evolved in line with the expectations of potential students?
We work very closely with Oxford Brooks University to constantly develop and change the programme. Aside from this, the process of accreditation also provides a mechanism to change the content of the MBA. The last accreditation
What can new and existing students expect from POU over the next 12-18 months?
took place in 2008, and following this we changed many things in the programme and the new additions were rolled out in September. We are in an environment where management programmes and non-accredited MBA programmes in Poland offer modules, for example, marketing, finance, strategy and human resource management. We feel that we are ahead of this and are integrating content. We are much more focussed on resolving the problem than teaching the fields. For instance, a new module that we introduced has been titled ‘Developing the Value of a Company’ instead of the traditional ‘Finance Strategy’. This shows how the course content, and other areas that are considered to be a learning outcome, have changed. I think that, in going through this process, we are ahead of many of our competitors’ offerings. When we talk to employers they always compliment us on the fact that the graduates that go through our programme come out much better prepared to tackle real-life problems.
To what extent are you liaising with local and national businesses in order to understand the ROI expectations of employers and how much influence do these businesses have on the structure of your MBA offering?
We are regularly in touch with local companies, especially in Krakow and Wroclaw. In Wroclaw, for instance, we work with local authorities in developing their strategy, and we invite them to comment on the developments that are taking place in the school. A regular topic for discussion
BIOGRAPHY ★ Dr Zuzanna Kalisiak is the President of the Polish Open University.
is about whether programmes are too theoretical and not practical enough. For example, if you ask a student what should be changed, very often they have no clear view. Overturning this problem requires us to develop and maintain long-term relationships with companies – we need to be up-to-date with what is happening with them and vice versa. By simply exchanging information, something new comes out of it. There is always some inspiration and it’s a question of picking something and implementing it. In business there is no straightforward answer. You need to be open minded and sensitive and you have to listen to people. It requires you to try not to abandon the issue, but to instead feel what is needed. You must be brave enough to try new things. We try to instil this attitude in our students.
The focus for us will be to make better use of technology. The MBA is face-to-face, but we have more and more students on other programmes that are using e-learning. We are increasingly making more use of video conferencing amongst the staff across the three campuses and I think that this could also be used by students and graduates for networking as well as to provide a new environment for discussion. One of the most difficult things to do within a university is to create a sense of society. I think that we have achieved in this area, but mainly with undergraduate programmes. We are trying to increase interaction between the MBA students and graduates, and students from different sites are working on projects together using these methods. However, it’s important to maintain face-to-face interaction, and so there needs to be a well-balanced blend.
Value for Money
Your cohorts are relatively small, thus ensuring students receive the one-to-one help and support they need. Whilst this is very impressive and, of course, ensures that you are able to continue to attract high potential middle managers, given the price point attached to your offering, have you considered increasing your intake?
With our student-centric approach and the quality of teaching that we offer we are not considering changing the size of the cohort. We currently teach the programme entirely in Polish, though there are workshops in English, and if we have an exchange with the students from Oxford Brooks University then the delivery is in English. However, with the growing number of foreign students, we may consider increasing the delivery in English, and this would have an impact on the situation.
LEMNISCAAT SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
Lemniscaat School of Management offers executive MBA and DBA programs to experienced managers and professionals. Lemniscaat is fully accredited by the NVAO, the Dutch accreditation organisation. Programs are specially designed for speciďŹ c market segments but, at the same time, follow the AMBA standards. Programs use professors from different institutes in order to offer the best knowledge available. Our mission is to bring science into practice. Consequently, all of our business cases come from speciďŹ c market segments. Currently, we offer four programs: Cross Media, Health Management, Service Management and Strategic Human Resource Management.
Lemniscaat is a core business of Conclusion. Conclusion is an independent private company with 1,400 employees. It is the most versatile provider of business services in the Netherlands in four disciplines: Human Capital, Communication, Organisation and Technology. Conclusion provides consultancy and managed services and outsources professionals.
www.lemniscaat.org Lemniscaat School of Management | Herculesplein 80 | 3584 AA UTRECHT | The Netherlands T +31 30 219 39 61 | F +31 30 219 38 99 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
: GFKM USINESS AND WHERE B ACADEMIA MEET
Alexandra Skinner talks to Andrzej Popadiuk » Introduction
Your MBA is offered in partnership with the University of Gdansk and is validated by RSM Erasmus University and IAE Aix-en-Provence Graduate School of Management. Please can you explain the reasoning behind this and the role that these institutions play in the programme?
The Gdansk Foundation for Management Development was established in 1990, just after the major political and economical changes in Poland. GFKM was one of the first management development centres in the Polish market, and the Executive MBA (EMBA) programme that launched in 1991 was among the first offered in this part of Europe. Since the very beginning our ambition was for GFKM to gain international recognition in both business and academic communities. The University of Gdansk is a progressive school with strong European orientation.
In relation to RSM Erasmus University and IAE Aix-en-Provence, RSM has a strong reputation for being one of the most international business schools in the world and IAE Aix-en-Provence was the first French public university to have a graduate school of management. Both RSM and IAE are EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA accredited, and so participation by these institutions in our MBA ensures that the programme meets high international standards.
You have been accredited by the Association of Management Education FORUM in Poland as well as CEEMAN International Quality Accreditation. What does this mean and how does it enhance the qualification?
FORUM and CEEMAN apply a similar set of criteria to those of EQUIS and EPAS when evaluating business schools and management
The intended learning outcome of an MBA programme is, in a nutshell, to create a visionary leader with sound managerial acumen and a global mindset. programmes. GFKM has recently been reaccredited by both organisations. The accreditation process is naturally a strong stimulus for self-reflection and development. Having an accreditation is also an important marketing tool, differentiating the programme and the school. As you may know, there are approximately 80 open EMBA programmes available in Poland. FORUM monitors and publishes a rating of these programmes. The GFKM MBA is classified in the highest “Champions Class” together with programmes offered by four other schools.
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Maintaining the reputation of being the best, or even one of the best, management development centres will require an extra effort in all aspects of our activities.
From your experience is the MBA gaining popularity or is the demand decreasing?
In Poland the demand for MBA programmes is still increasing and this trend is set to continue for the next few years. An MBA is widely recognised as an important professional degree. The reputation of a particular programme and the institution issuing the diploma are often decisive factors for future students. It is also becoming more and more important for companies assessing job candidates holding an MBA diploma. In this respect, the GFKM MBA diploma has a very good standing.
Many schools have witnessed an increase in the number of selffunded MBA applicants. Is this something youâ€™ve experienced at GFKM, or are local businesses quite supportive when it comes to corporate funding etc?
This is indeed a worldwide phenomenon and is also true for our open programmes. About 50 per cent of participants finance the programme themselves, compared to 30 per cent five years ago. However, at the same time we are now being approached more and more by companies to provide a corporate MBA for their top managers and high potentials.
Enrolment and Programme Selection
The level of work experience required by a growing number of schools appears to be in decline. Whilst this may boost enrolment, what impact does this have on the quality of oneâ€™s programme?
The average age of our candidates is 32 in Gdansk and 38 in Warsaw. The MBA diploma used to be seen as a springboard to a promotion, but more recently it has become a prerequisite for a managerial career. In addition, the percentage of graduates of master studies is relatively high in Poland. ForÂ these reasons, young managers tend to embark on EMBA programmes early on during their careers. Despite this, the quality of the programme is a priority. Thus we have maintained, and to some extent increased, the admission criteria. This includes a minimum of three to four years, depending on the programme, of managerial experience. Our candidates more than likely realise that there are no concessions in this respect and, therefore, we are very fortunate with the calibre of applicants.
GFKM - MBA GFKM GRADUATION 2011
You offer in-company training courses that cover some of the MBA topics. With this in mind, to what extent do you liaise with local and national businesses in order to understand the ROI expectations of employers and how much influence do these businesses have on the structure of your MBA offering?
GFKM being a management development centre rather than an academic institution is very strongly rooted in the business environment. In-company courses and consultancy amount to 60 per cent of GFKM activity. GFKM trainers, coaches and consultants spend most of their time working with, and inside, companies, and so GFKM managers and personnel have on-going contact with CEOs, HR directors and functional managers. The GFKM Advisory Council consists of CEOs from leading companies in Poland, and we are a member of international, national and
local business associations. Our mission is to support companies and organisations through the provision of high-quality training and consulting. This can only be made possible if we are thoroughly committed to business issues, understand business needs and anticipate our clients’ business challenges. At the same time we manage to keep a fine balance between the ‘practical value’ and ‘academic depth and rigour’ of our programmes. There is a strong synergy between the MBA and in-company training: we keep high standards of teaching on in-company courses and bring the practical mindset into the MBA programme. It is important to note that GFKM is the only management training company in Poland offering an MBA and, from a different perspective, is the only non-academic organisation offering an MBA. We attribute the success of GFKM partly to this unique competence of combining the key elements of both business and academic worlds.
Do you maintain relations with your alumni and does GFKM offer alumni the possibility to continue their executive education after completion of the programme?
All of our graduates are invited to participate in the activities of the MBA GFKM Alumni Club. There are over 1000 managers, often CEOs and directors of big Polish and multinational companies, holding a GFKM MBA diploma. This creates a unique networking opportunity. Our alumni have the opportunity to continue their education through a portfolio of dedicated courses intended for MBAs in the form of a Post-MBA Certificate in strategic project management, strategic financial management and strategic leadership. These 12-day courses provide managers with a very profound and up-to-date knowledge on the aforementioned business areas. Post-MBA Certificate programmes are popular in the USA, and we will be one of the first to offer these programmes in Europe. Our partners in these programmes are TSM Business School in Holland and SBS in Switzerland. The first edition is offered exclusively to GFKM MBA alumni. The relationships with our MBA graduates also often extend to their organisations. Quite frequently MBA participants and alumni are also clients on our in-company courses. We estimate that in-company training or consulting is delivered to about 30 per cent of the companies represented on the MBA on the basis of participants’ recommendation.
This very much depends upon the motivation and expectations of a candidate. If we assume that the value of knowledge and the value of the diploma are both important, then a clear set of criteria should be evaluated: ❯ The school’s profile: experience, reputation and quality of international relations, ❯ The programme’s profile: generic or specialised, academic or practical, ❯ The participants’ profile: required experience, managerial level, acceptance rate and size of the group,
ARTUS COURT: MBA GRADUATION VENUE
❯ The quality of teaching: faculty, methodology and venue, ❯ The prestige of the diploma: recognition in the business community and career reports, ❯ The logistics of the programme: location, duration and the frequency of sessions, ❯ The cost of the programme.
Accreditations, rankings and other available information may also be helpful, but the word-of-mouth opinion among CEOs, HR directors and managers is equally important when selecting a programme. An MBA is an investment and so, often, the alumni are the best source of recommendation on whether a programme has brought them an expected return on investment.
GFKM and the International Market You offer an MBA student exchange project with Corvinus School of Management in Hungary. Kindly expand upon the aforementioned offering and your relationship with the School. Corvinus is a very reputable university and we are very proud to have had an EMBA students exchange project with them. Both groups of students were very pleased with this exchange and we hope to continue this relationship in the future. Next year we plan to begin an exchange with the Baltic Management Institute in Vilnius. MBA students very rightly expect this international component in their programme.
Sadly, not all programmes are created equal; therefore, programme selection is incredibly important. What do potential students need to consider when identifying, assessing and selecting an MBA programme?
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Apart from exchange schemes we also talk to business schools in countries where MBA programmes are less popular. Our experience may be helpful in promoting and launching MBAs in these markets. We already deliver an MBA in Kaliningrad together with Kaliningrad State Technical University, with sessions held in both Kaliningrad and Gdansk.
Yes, the programme is regularly updated to reflect current and anticipated changes and challenges faced by business leaders. Courses on global business, corporate social responsibility, virtuous leadership, managing business in turbulent times and cross-cultural management have been introduced or extended in the last three years to reflect this. We have also significantly extended courses on soft skills, such as coaching, transformational leadership and change management. Our colleagues at RSM and IAE suggested this to us, and it has been a very good and timely recommendation. In addition to the core curriculum, MBA participants are offered a range of elective subjects.
Given the competitive demands placed upon corporations today, and increasing globalisation – both of which require business leaders to be flexible and manage workforces and internal structures that cross cultural and political lines – have you redefined your MBA offering?
In Poland the demand for MBA programmes is still increasing and this trend is set to continue for the next few years.
The list of these subjects is also continuously updated to address the most current business issues. MBA students may also participate in additional meetings with guest speakers who are often prominent business leaders. The fact that GFKM works on a daily basis with corporate clients allows us to ‘feel’ the business. Being a training company rather than an academic institution makes it easier to introduce ‘just-in-time’ modifications to the curriculum. The intended learning outcome of an MBA programme is, in a nutshell, to create a visionary leader with sound managerial acumen and a global mindset. GFKM organises the Central European session of global OneMBA studies for over 100 managers of transnational corporations from 14 countries worldwide. Please can you tell our readers a bit more about this? This was a very exciting project that we were involved in as the RSM Erasmus University partner school for five years. As you may know, the OneMBA programme includes sessions delivered on five continents. A European session was hosted by RSM in Rotterdam and partly by GFKM in Gdansk. During the sessions in Gdansk managers had an opportunity to better understand CEE economies, visit leading
Being a training company rather than an academic institution makes it easier to introduce ‘just-in-time’ modifications to the curriculum. Polish firms, meet the most prominent figures in our region and see unique places of interest. We were very pleased that these sessions were among those most appreciated by OneMBA students.
The Next Step
What can we expect from GFKM over the next 12 to 18 months?
We envisage that the expectations of our clients will continue to increase. There are 2,500 training firms in Poland and hundreds of thousands in Europe, many of which deliver high quality education and training. Maintaining the reputation of being the best, or even one of the best, management development centres will require an extra effort in all aspects of our activities. We will continue to regularly revise and adjust our offer. There are over 100 training courses in the GFKM offering, including MBA, post-graduate and professional programmes, short courses, in-company training, consulting and coaching.
We intend to maintain the width of the offer, but it will be regularly updated with more sophisticated, specialised programmes. We will also seek recognition in new markets. So far GFKM has been delivering open and in-company courses for clients in 14 countries. We also wish to establish new relationships with business schools in order to deliver joint programmes, faculty and student exchanges. In the short-term, GFKM will soon move to offices in the newly developed business centre in Gdansk. In my opinion it will be an important practical and symbolic moment. GFKM is celebrating its first 20 years with a sense of achievement, and this opens up a new period looking forward to the future. To quote yet another well know saying, “only those companies who undertake continuous transformations may survive and succeed”. Through all of this, one thing will remain constant – we will follow our mission of helping our clients achieve success.
BIOGRAPHY ★ Andrzej Popadiuk is a Member of the Board for GFKM.
Comment RSM and GFKM have been cooperating for more than 10 years. Initially the focus was on the MBA programme but, gradually, the scope of cooperation has widened. In order to cooperate fruitfully, the relationship should add value for both sides. It also helps a lot when all parties enjoy working together. In the case of RSM and GFKM, both conditions are fulfilled beyond any doubt. GFKM is highly professional, knows the market, and knows how to deliver. I expect GFKM to grow further in the future and I am sure that RSM will wholeheartedly support this development. Prof. Jaap Spronk Academic Dean MBA Programmes Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
IAE Aix-en-Provence Graduate School of Management cooperates with GFKM within the Executive MBA programmes. As a validating partner our role is to monitor the conformity of the programmes with international standards. We share the opinion that reaching and maintaining a position in the leading league is a continuous process and that external observation helps the organisation maintain the highest quality. GFKM MBA programmes receive consistently high scores for the quality of teaching and the practical value of the course. At the same time the management and faculty of GFKM are open to new ideas that may provide even more value for the participating managers and their businesses. Alain Ged IAE Aix-en-Provence Graduate School of Management
Your International Partner Executive MBA • Advanced Management Program • Post-MBA Certificates Postgraduate and Professional Programs • Corporate courses Who will benefit:
Executives: inspiring business ideas for profitable growth HR Departments: stimulating leadership through focus and commitment Corporate Academies: delivering innovative educational solutions for genuine results International Business Schools: discovering new frontiers, pushing the boundaries
Gdańsk Foundation for Management Development 68 Pomorska St., 80–343 Gdansk, Poland T: +48 602 783 666, +48 58 558 58 58 ext. 317 e-mail: email@example.com
A Value-Added Network MBA in the
of the Netherlands
Alexandra Skinner speaks to Dr Steef Peters » Introduction
You are not a traditional business school. Kindly expand upon this.
The whole idea behind Lemniscaat is that, in fact, it is a value-added network. We are connecting students’ demands in particular areas to professors who have knowledge in those areas. We do this within the structure that is officially allowed by the Association of MBAs (AMBA), which is also being used here in the Netherlands for
What we do at Lemniscaat is look at an environment that is changing rapidly and go to the companies that are involved in that change. accreditation. AMBA asked me how we recruit our professors and were amazed to hear that in fact we don’t have any. We have no employees at Lemniscaat – we run a purely network operation. We were founded in 1996 and we have about 160 alumni. We are small, but growing and very specific. We decided to operate under a network format as we feel, from visiting various schools,
that content has no value anymore. If you want to learn about any subject, you can go to YouTube and read Mintzberg or Porter or any other researcher or professor. I tell my students from the outset of the programme that I will not be teaching them anything about Mintzberg. I ask them to go to YouTube and read about it themselves. I will then show them how to apply the knowledge in practice. The rest isn’t necessary; you don’t need to buy Mintzberg’s book anymore. This way of thinking is moving faster and faster, and means that the knowledge that the professors have, in most cases, is not really adding value anymore. What I decided to do was to find the best professor in a particular subject and pay them a little more to lecture on our MBA. That’s the whole idea behind Lemniscaat and is why we can be very flexible. I have no costs – my only costs are when a professor lectures. This also means that I can work with small groups, as my overheads are very small. I pay only based on delivery of service. Because of this structure, professors really enjoy coming to lecture on the MBA. The professors that we use are at the edge of innovation in their areas, so other business schools have not seen their teachings.
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We often get questions about management development programmes. For example, with our EMBA in Cross Media, institutions often approach us saying that they have a problem as their managers’ understanding is based on the old style, but that they now have new media and social media and their managers don’t understand that everything can be connected. So we are approached to make a programme to help them understand what is going on in these businesses. A publishing business actually came to us with this request and we have now been running an EMBA specifically created for the cross media sector for three years. However, we now see that the demand is decreasing; other business schools have picked up that this is a requirement and are bringing it into their MBA curriculums. We are now setting up something similar but with a focus on HR. The reasoning behind this is that people are starting to work differently. We work more and more in teams and have many more freelance employees and people who work on a project basis. Most HR departments, particularly in bigger companies, don’t know how to handle that. They don’t know what their role or position is as people can work from home as opposed to from an office. So what we do at Lemniscaat is look at an environment that is changing rapidly and go to the companies that are involved in that change. We then create an EMBA around this so that we can help the
managers to find answers and at the same time they will get an MBA as a bonus. An MBA for me is completely different from the traditional view of a step towards a pay rise or promotion. When I ask my students if they are doing it for these reasons they all say no. They are taking part in the EMBA to learn and to get in contact with professors and students in order to create a network. This is where the real value of an MBA is.
You have carved out a very impressive niche for yourselves in the Dutch market. To what do you attribute your success?
Our success comes from the fact that we are really listening to the demands of the market. The MBA is just the surface, which means we are going to really listen to you and your motivations. We want to know the profile of the person you want to become after the MBA. I can then look for the professors that will be appropriate. Sometimes you need an expert from a particular field. The majority of schools have their own set of professors; they may have an HR professor who was very good 20 years ago and now that you are building up a new scheme and you need someone who knows HR, that professor will be asked to give the lecture. In my case, when I look for an HR professor, I will go around the Netherlands, or maybe outside, to find out who is really advanced in this research and who has ideas that are ground breaking at the moment. Then I hire them. This is quite common in normal courses outside of an MBA. For example, if you go to do an Excel course, you will presumably get a trainer who is a freelancer and who is waiting to be asked to do a course. But with professors everyone feels that they need to be hired on a permanent basis. My students really enjoy getting a new and different point of view or experience. We get a lot of positive feedback.
You offer a number of industry-specific MBA programmes. Can you define the aforementioned and talk about the motivation and demand behind this approach?
I found out, together with other professors, that when you want to learn effectively you have to apply the learning immediately in your own environment. For example, you may work in a retail organisation, such as Walmart. During the day on the MBA we may talk about strategy, even though you don’t work at all with strategy. After the two years you go back to Walmart and perhaps after four years you receive a promotion and assume a position that requires strategy. Hopefully you will remember something from your studies, but measurements show that after six weeks only ten per cent is left and after three months zero is left. This means that the learning system of putting a professor in front of you and them teaching you about something is completely ineffective. It only becomes effective if you are taught something
If you don’t have the specialisation you become very general and look at a broad level of cases, which isn’t interesting. You need to begin solving problems.
and then are able to work immediately with that knowledge. When we talk about healthcare we want to have examples, but we also want to show how it applies in practice. There are two different types of business schools. The first may want to build up a network of high quality graduates all over the world so that once a student graduates they have a network of alumni that keeps adding value. We looked at this based on the assumption that social networking is still on the increase, and asked whether students are in fact still working the alumni structures in the way that the business schools anticipated, and whether it is really important to have that network. What we found
was that it’s still important in China and Japan because they don’t have other means of talking to their network. However, in places such as the Netherlands, because business is so small, it’s so easy to find others through LinkedIn and other networks, and so the concept of an alumnus has gone. The second type of business school offers an MBA during which you are already talking to peers in your area. We decided to offer the industry specific Cross Media MBA as this is an area that is experiencing problems, for example, with content, everyone is now using their iPhone and downloading content onto YouTube as news, and so it’s more instantly available than a broadcast on a television network. This means that with
The professors that we use are at the edge of innovation in their areas.
an industry specific MBA you will be amongst students who are experiencing similar problems and this makes for a better quality of class discussion. That’s why we believe that you have to build an MBA around a particular problem area. Publishers and television people are, of course, interested in what is happening with retailers and
health care, but they don’t know anything about it and are unable to discuss it. If you don’t have the specialisation you become very general and look at a broad level of cases, which isn’t interesting. You need to begin solving problems. We always take an area that is changing very quickly, such as HR or Healthcare or the NHS, where there are problems but no solutions.
teaching brought in from outside. So I now have a group of 15 HR professionals who are undertaking an HR MBA. We made a similar offer to Ricoh, because they have a head office in London, an office and training here in the Netherlands and they also had a changeover in names, so they wanted to have a special programme created for their managers. For me it makes no differ-
The most important thing to consider is the programme’s teachers; this is what distinguishes MBA programmes from one another. The content of the programme is free, so it’s the delivery of the content and the professors that deliver it that are crucial to the quality. If you are given a general MBA, you won’t be able to solve these specific problems. I would like to be able to discuss the possible solutions, why they haven’t happened before, and what we could do to change it. Our format makes this possible.
Am I correct in thinking that you offer bespoke programmes for institutions?
It is an open programme, but at the same time it’s for institutions. For example, the University of Groningen came to me with a problem within their HR department, so now the HR MBA is given to people at the university. This is interesting as they have their own professors. However, they decided that it would be better to have the
ence whether it’s an open programme, a closed programme, or a white label programme. In September I had a meeting with Wagenigen Business School. They found out what we were doing and the board of the university approached me to see if we could work together. I told them that my whole concept is based on the fact that I have modules and that for each module the student gets European transfer points (ECTS points). As long as there is professor that is undertaking relevant and new research, I have no problem at all putting a module into the programme, assuming that it’s the correct fit. I cannot lose the basic philosophy that the offering is a network and that it is a completely virtual business school.
How often is the curriculum reviewed and who is tasked with this responsibility?
When we have a course, we build a curriculum. We have an academic board, so there is a central group of professors who get paid for the hours they do. I have a dean, but again, he is not salaried. So I have the normal structure of a business school, but the faculty get paid based upon delivery of service. We also have a programme manager, who takes the feedback forms, collates the information, gives a presentation to the academic board on the recommendations from students or problems with professors, and they make proposals for the curriculums. This is discussed every three months. Another way that we review the curriculum is when we get into the thesis part of the programme. We have a normal structure in that we have a supervisor for the thesis who looks at the content and any discrepancies or problems with the students. They will then also feedback to the academic board according to our setup, asking them to make a decision as to whether they feel it is sufficient or not.
You offer master-classes, which are shorter in duration. Do these classes provide a springboard or foundation for the EMBA programmes you offer?
No. The master-classes were created as sometimes institutions approach me to say that they would like a particular professor to teach a programme
or module because they feel that it would bring value to their employees. For example, if you have a professor of innovation, particularly innovation in services, they will be in high demand, and institutions may wish their employees to benefit from their knowledge without having to enrol on the MBA programme.
Many schools have witnessed an increase in the number of self-funded MBA applicants. Is this something youâ€™ve experienced at LSM, or are local businesses quite supportive when it comes to corporate funding etc.?
Yes, about 30 per cent of students pay for the programme themselves. Itâ€™s quite an attractive option, as I send them three invoices, and they pay over three years. Companies are less and less interested in EMBAs. I think that this is partly because they too have realised that the knowledge is cheap. They find it more cost effective to hire a professor to deal with a particular organisational problem than to enrol on the programme. This raises the question of why we still want to have the MBA. Students who undertake our course typically did a masters or bachelors, and so finished at about 23. They then started working and had some idea of what they wanted to become. They realise years later when they become a manager, that they have never been trained to take a helicopter view of things, and to see what is really happening from several
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different sides. No one in the company that they work for has trained them or tried to work with them to show them how to look at things. This is where an MBA becomes relevant. We use articles combined with work experience, talks with other students and talks with lecturers. We also offer a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). People who undertake a DBA have a lot of knowledge. They will have a Master’s and they would now like a PhD but they don’t want to go back to university. They may have a good research case in their company but don’t know how to write it up. The DBA helps with this. I currently have six DBAs who are doing research on their companies.
From a support and networking standpoint, how important is the Lemniscaat Alumni Association?
The alumni in itself works, we have a LinkedIn group and they discuss things, but it is more a learning society. There are so many other opportunities for networking and social media, so for us, it isn’t as important. Very often what happens is that someone who has studied the course or maybe lectured on it recommends us. It’s far more organic than having the regular meetings, or social meet-ups.
Enrolment and Programme Selection
The level of work experience required by a growing number of schools appears to be in decline. Whilst this may boost enrolment, what impact does this have on the quality of one’s programme?
I think it’s a very bad thing. Almost all of the other tier-one schools have their professors on their payroll. Some of them are very good, but they command salaries of perhaps £150-180k a year. This means that you have to sell a lot to recoup the cost. Quite often they will look at increasing the number of students on the programme. This is bad for the quality of the teaching as there is less discussion and the experience becomes diluted. Schools will also look at taking on people with less experience. I disagree with this and would prefer not to run the course for a particular year than compromise its quality. The motivation of the course at Lemniscaat isn’t driven only by profit, even though I do have a financial target. Lemniscaat is owned by Conclusion, so when our clients, or students working at our clients, want the course, that’s when we run it. Of course I mustn’t lose money and I must make a profit, but it isn’t like some business schools where every year an accountant comes and says to me that I’ve made losses and that I must do something about it. I maintain the standards that we have set ourselves as an MBA provider and I don’t give in to pressure. That’s the advantage of being a network company. I can deliver my services at the moment
that it becomes profitable to do so and when I know that I have a good group of students. Work experience is so important. You have to have made mistakes and to have learnt from them. If you are young and are head of a department of 30 people, you don’t necessarily make strategic decisions and so you don’t need the course. You can go to YouTube or the Open University and learn things yourself. There are so many other sources that are much better suited in this case. If you really do feel that you need the extra knowledge, then you should try to find the knowledge that is most applicable in your area of work at that time. But that’s not the MBA. The MBA is for people who are growing in a strict or fixed knowledge area who move into a CEO position and then have to start discussing strategy and HR and are unprepared. Most of our students are aged between 34 and 46, and I feel that around 38 is the best age to become very effective. Of course there are exceptions, and I do look at the background of each applicant, but generally this is a good age. I demand at least five years work experience. I really believe that business experience is essential; I don’t want to have to explain how a business works, the politics within businesses, and so on. You have to have had your fingers burnt before you come to us. We don’t have the time to teach the nuts and bolts. I understand how it’s possible with more general MBAs, because for them it’s about case studies, but in our case it’s problem solving, and so I need students to be aware of, and have first-hand experience of, the problems facing businesses and managers before they begin.
Sadly, not all programmes are created equal; therefore, programme selection is incredibly important. What do potential students need to consider when identifying, assessing and selecting an MBA programme?
The most important thing to consider is the programme’s teachers; this is what distinguishes MBA programmes from one another. The content of the programme is free, so it’s the delivery of the content and the professors that deliver it that are crucial to the quality. That’s why a network company works well. We are able to find the right professors and build up the programme around them. You really need the professors who are at the edge of the curve and who are bringing extra knowledge. I recommend to anyone who is considering undertaking an MBA to do it as an EMBA later on in his or her career and to look at the professors on the programmes when making their selection. For example, I have several students from Accenture and I spoke to one of them to ask why they chose to do our MBA. He said that he looked at the Lemniscaat programme and realised that if he had to travel to courses to get the same speakers that we offer it would have cost him €80,000. The convenience
Our success comes from the fact that we are really listening to the demands of the market. The MBA is just the surface, which means we are going to really listen to you and your motivations. We want to know the profile of the person you want to become after the MBA.
that we provide is a fixed programme where the professors are flown in for the students. MBA programmes are short and can be expensive, so the quality of the professors should be the deal breaker in the decision-making. I believe that this is the new function of the academic director; not to just look at whether the curriculum is working, but to work out how to get the best professors, the innovators.
The Next Step
What can we expect from LSM over the next twelve to eighteen months?
Partnerships. We feel now that we have established our philosophy and way of working, so now I want to have partnerships with other business schools to find out whether it’s possible to create a platform for this innovative way of working in the Netherlands. This means, presumably, that we will become a little bit more specialised. The majority of questions that we are faced with are related to the organisation and work. The reason is that Conclusion, as a whole, has a good reputation in this area and companies recognise this. I still want to find out whether we can create specialised programmes by working in partnership with other schools. The concept of the virtual
business school should be applied more and more and then globally. That’s why I’m teaching at Henley Business School, people from Henley are teaching here, and we’re both teaching in Beijing where we have recently set up our programme for the Chinese market. Lemniscaat will remain small and specialised, but we will use our philosophy to grow. Our concept is a disruptive innovation. We believe that you should create a network and fly in the professor the moment that you want to have faceto-face contact and use technology to maintain contact in-between. This will happen in many organisations as the concept of ‘breaks’ ceases to exist. It’s difficult for businesses to change as they have professors and structures and many professors aren’t comfortable with the idea of being freelance. However, I see this as the way forward. With regards to the future for managers, we have a lot of good discussions with CEOs, especially those who are interested in people, about what an MBA really means to them. The old view is that an MBA is a facilitator for a pay rise or promotion. However, forward-thinking CEOs see studying an MBA as a way of transitioning. They need knowledge in order to make transformations and to rollout change within
organisations. MBA programmes are changing. They are much more than a structure that is proven to be effective for managers to learn. MBA programmes should be looked at not only for this effectiveness, but also from the point of view of how the knowledge can be applied within organisations to ensure that the firm is ready for the changes that take place every 10 years. There are always big changes every ten years, whether it is the PC, mobile phone or Facebook. We need MBA programmes for this and not just in order to have something to put on your business card. They must remain practical in their teaching. This is what we offer at Lemniscaat.
BIOGRAPHY ★ Professor Dr Steef Peters is the Director at Lemniscaat School of Management, where he has been since 2007, and a managing consultant at Conclusion Advice and Management. He is also a visiting professor at Henley Business School and the Beijing Institute of Technology.
The CityU MBA Use your downtime to upgrade your career .
City University of Seattle’s MBA program is designed to be flexible enough to meet the specific needs of every type of student. Whether you are a traditional grad student taking daytime or evening classes or a busy, working adult hoping to earn your degree without sacrificing your career, family, or responsibilities, this program is perfect for you.
Address: 103 Cherni Vrah Blvd. 1407 Sofia, Bulgaria Phone/Fax: +359.2.489.9126
City University MBA
The MBA of Choice in South Eastern Europe Alexandra Skinner talks to Ekaterina Dotseva » Introduction Kindly expand upon the history of City University of Seattle.
City University of Seattle, Bulgaria, is situated in the most beautiful small town in the country, Pravetz, 60km from the capital Sofia, surrounded by stunning mountainscapes and topped off with a picturesque lake beside Bulgaria’s premier golf course. Full of lively restaurants and cafes, it is the perfect place for someone to study, to make friends and have the best educational experience in the country. If you require post-graduate education, there is no better option than City University of Seattle’s MBA programme, which is based in the heart of Sofia at 103 Cherni Vrah Boulevard. Our tailored programme enables you to achieve one of the most highly desired qualifications in the world. The parent university, City University of Seattle, was founded in 1973 in Seattle, Washington, and is a private, not-forprofit university that serves more than 8,000 students worldwide each year and has more than 45,000 alumni worldwide. City University of Seattle’s mission is to change lives for the better by offering high quality and relevant in-class and online education options to anyone in the world with a desire to learn. The university is comprised of the School of Management, the
Gordon Albright School of Education and the Division of Arts and Sciences. Headquartered in the Pacific Northwest, City University of Seattle offers classes at locations throughout Washington, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Slovakia, Greece, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic, and China. In 1999, in response to market demand, City University of Seattle established their Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme in Bulgaria. In 2002, as a result of the success of the MBA programme and a continuing demand from the Bulgarian business community for a university educated workforce with business acumen, CityU launched its Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) programme in the town of Pravetz.
You offer several specialisations including, Change Leadership, Finance, Marketing, and Technology Management. Do you feel this makes your students more marketable in their chosen fields?
Yes, by offering specialisations we increase students’ chances of finding suitable employment in their chosen careers. It also opens doors in relation to further postgraduate education in these fields, and many of our students have gone
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on successfully to complete further education at prestigious universities worldwide. I keep in touch with many students, and I frequently hear from them that their CityU education provided great preparation for the challenges of working within the European and American education system. By having the best specialists in these areas, offering top-notch tuition, we ensure that our students can walk straight into the cream of these positions.
We do liaise with many businesses but we have not concentrated on this area. This is mainly done through former students that have gone on to work in various national and international companies. They give us a window, so to speak, into these companies. Word of mouth has been our strongest area for inflow of students, and that is, of course, most gratifying and a great endorsement of our programmes. However, the whole area of marketing and awareness needs to be taken seriously. Yes, we have great programmes and superb faculty but, this is not enough. It is an area that we intend to concentrate on much more in the coming years as we strive to grow our student base and increase awareness of the benefits of our MBA and, indeed, our BSBA programmes. Given that our MBA studies culminate with a fully-fledged business plan rather than a thesis, it provides a far greater basis for practical application to business. It traverses all areas of business in a comprehensive way, and thus offers greater value to companies who send their employees to us. They get real, strong, practical business benefits.
I believe that City U will become the MBA of choice in South Eastern Europe because it is the best on offer.
How much emphasis is placed upon â€˜real-world business skillsâ€™ and to what extent is this reflected in the make-up of your faculty?
This is an area that we take very seriously. Our faculty come from a wide array of business backgrounds ranging from the stock market here in Bulgaria to senior positions in major companies and consultants to top businesses. We insist that they have practical business experience gained in the real world so that students can feel confident that they get the best possible training. Anything less would, I feel, short-change the students and their sponsors. To give just a couple of examples, our law professor has her own law practice and our operations management professor was operations manager at the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company, the largest in Bulgaria, for several years. This pattern is repeated throughout our staff with many running their own successful businesses. We also insist that all of our courses have a practical emphasis so, students get to role-play business simulations and give peer presentations in order to hone their presentation skills. We use the latest technology in so doing, utilising Capsim Business Simulations, for example, which is the worldwide leader in business simulation software. Our students can comfortably walk into challenging positions within companies straight away upon completion of their studies.
City University MBA
If someone offers an easy MBA, I would advise people to run a mile as what you will receive will be worthless. A top MBA, such as ours, requires effort and commitment as well as intelligence. the support of relevant family members. If someone offers an easy MBA, I would advise people to run a mile as what you will receive will be worthless. A top MBA, such as ours, requires effort and commitment as well as intelligence.
Balancing work, study and, in some cases, a family can be very challenging. With this in mind, how much flexibility do you offer students?
Our MBA programme is held on evenings and weekends allowing our students to balance work and study. We also offer part of the training online to allow for greater flexibility. We use the Blackboard system of online training. This is the best system in the world for its purpose and it enables students to work sporadically, such as during a lull in work, which some students are able to take advantage of. However, an MBA is a major commitment. It requires dedication, perseverance and
To what extent is the development of intrapersonal skills encouraged?
This is a critical area that we strive to develop in our students at all times. We want them to be the best at working within teams, getting the maximum out of themselves and others. A lot of the tasks on the MBA are team based, where they learn to work as a unit in order to be greater than the sum of their parts. They become skilled at conflict resolution, handling the challenges that life throws at them, and at being as productive as possible. They learn how to manage themselves and others to achieve the optimum result for employers. We also keep class sizes small to encourage the utmost gains for the students. We aim for no more than 20 per group and split them if there are more. This means that our lecturers can encourage the growth of all skills necessary in the challenging business world of today.
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Full of lively restaurants and cafes, it is the perfect place for someone to study, to make friends and have the best educational experience in the country.
Return on Investment
The price point attached to your MBA offering is incredibly attractive when compared to other programme providers operating in Southeast Europe and beyond. Given the quality of your faculty and teaching, how do you achieve this?
This is mostly due to the costs in Bulgaria, which are substantially lower than Western Europe and even throughout our neighbouring countries. We have a lean operation, which enables us to offer excellent value given the high quality of our programmes and faculty. Furthermore, the fact that City University in Seattle creates all of our courses and programmes and upholds the Blackboard online system means that we have a top class system at a fraction of what it would cost if we had to develop it ourselves. They constantly update the courses to reflect the business world globally. We then modify them to take into account the local conditions in Europe and Bulgaria.
Applicants are not required to take a Graduate Management Admission Test. How, therefore, do you assess the suitability of the individuals applying to CityU?
We do insist on an English proficiency test for both the BSBA and MBA. For the MBA we require a minimum of three years work experience. We also require applicants to be proficient in certain areas, such as finance, and insist that they take any courses as are deemed necessary prior to commencement. We have an arrangement with our partner university, Sofia University - the most prestigious in Bulgaria - for applicants to take these courses. Outside of this we believe that anyone should receive the opportunity to learn. Our mission is to change lives for good by offering high quality and relevant lifelong education to anyone with the desire to learn.
How much emphasis do you place upon face-to-face interviews?
We regard this as crucial. We like to emphasise the commitment and dedication that is required for completion of our programmes. Face-to-face interviews allow us to understand candidates in terms of their work experience and motivations. We want all of our students to be successful, and so putting students on courses when they are not ready is self-defeating. As we get a lot of word of mouth referrals, the applicants already know what is involved in successfully completing our programmes and that makes the interview process easier. As we are planning to increase our marketing and awareness efforts, the face-to-face interview will become even more important.
City University MBA
The Next Step
What can we expect from CityU over the next twelve to eighteen months?
We foresee a high period of growth as appreciation for the quality of what we offer becomes more widespread. We believe that we have one of the most modern, practical and useful MBA programmes in Europe, and word of mouth promotion for us is strong. However, we have relied on it too much. As I said earlier, marketing is key if we are to grow. We have top quality facilities, up-to-date equipment, and we are ready for an expansion of student numbers. We intend on working closely with CEO Magazine and other local media outlets in order to achieve our targets.
The students will always be our benchmark, and one always knows when students appreciate the excellence of our programmes. We constantly look for feedback from them and always try to improve what we do. I believe that City U will become the MBA of choice in South Eastern Europe because it is the best on offer. ď Ż
BIOGRAPHY â˜… Ekaterina Dotseva is the Executive Director at City University of Seattle, Bulgaria.
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List of Contributors
List of Contributors C
Chicago Booth School of Business City University of Seattle Columbia University
ENPC School of International Management ESSEC Business School
FIA Fordham University
IMD INSEAD ISEG ISTCE International University of Monaco
Kent State University Koç University
Lemniscaat School of Management Lorange Institute of Business Zurich
Polish Open University
Reims Management School
University of Derby University of Westminster
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Published on Dec 22, 2011