A. What do you consider the most significant developments in MBA/management education and the international business school market as a whole this year?
- The executive segment of the MBA market has taken off at the same time that the full-time segment has stalled.
The MBA market in Europe is now mature. Fewer and fewer early career professionals seem inclined to leave the job market and pursue studies full-time for a year or more. The investment has become too big (high tuition fees), too risky (difficult re-entry into the job market) and slow to deliver an acceptable return (slower salary growth).
Only the Executive segment appears to be a growth sector. Increasingly high potentials are choosing the Executive MBA for their career success. They see it as the means to break through the middle management ceiling on their climb to the higher echelons of senior management.
The Executive MBA is the right approach for individuals who have reached the 'power phase' of their careers (age bracket 34 to 40 years). It is the acid test in terms of the high potential's ability to simultaneously juggle professional imperatives, demanding MBA studies and family life. Employers can test the mettle of their most promising managers.
Our reading of the future of the international full-time MBA sector is that it will attract fewer professionals with 5 or more years of experience. Such professionals are likely to hang on a while longer and opt for an Executive MBA with the support and encouragement of their employers.
The full-time MBA is likely to attract younger career professionals (less than 3 years of experience), but also younger international participants from less developed economies who are keen to learn 'Western' business management practices, and possibly keen to seek employment outside their home countries.
- The demand for custom programs in executive education is growing exponentially.
Demand is particularly strong for programs dealing with change management and leadership transformation in an international context.
The backdrop for such programs is the intensity of competition, specifically from international competitors. More and more managers are confronted with challenges arriving from outside the familiar business environment. They need new knowledge and skills to react swiftly, efficiently and creatively.
Custom programs contribute to the development of a shared culture of knowledge and skills among the top team and within the organisation. They are obviously better adapted to the specific business conditions and practices of the client.
ESCP-EAP has been particularly successful in designing and delivering custom training solutions over the last few years (300% increase in revenue) for 3 reasons:
1. being multi-local within Europe it can share its expertise and experience of different markets and business practices with its international clients
2. being cross-border it can think solutions in an 'over-arching, helicopter' perspective for clients operating multi-nationally
3. being profoundly intercultural, it can adapt and adjust to the cultures of its customers and its partners, and deliver workable training solutions
All of these reasons dovetail with the experience of our clients who find in us a business school that thinks like its business customers. This is an imperative today.