Bernardo M. Villegas
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No End to Executive Education

          Last May 14, the Financial Times came out with its annual rankings of Executive Education programs all over the world.  The cover story (and cover person) was all about MBA alumni going back to school.  The report focused on the experience of Indian real estate entrepreneur Kanika Gupta Shori who had obtained an MBA at the prestigious Indian Institute of Management in Delhi about ten years ago.  Four years after setting up her own cross-border brokerage, Shori decided she had to update her management education by enrolling in the five-week Advanced Management Program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  Shori is one of the numerous MBA graduates who are returning to business school to top up their knowledge and skills.  According to data collected by the Financial Times for the 2018 Executive Education rankings, more than a quarter (26.1%) of respondents who enrolled in advanced management programs, and 21.5% of those on lower-level general management programs already had an MBA.

         With the way business practices are being transformed dramatically by digital technology, robotization, and globalization, middle-level managers in Philippine business firms should take the cue from their international counterparts and upgrade their knowledge and skills in the challenging art of management, even if they already have an MBA or its equivalent.  Especially for those who obtained their masteral degree in business from local schools or from U.S. business schools, there is need for executive education programs that are highly global in teaching materials, faculty and participants.  It is noteworthy that among the top twenty business schools all over the world in Executive Education, only five are in the U.S.  With the exception of Duke Corporate Education (that has campuses in the US, UK, South Africa, India and Singapore) six among the top ten are European.  These six are in the order of their rankings, the IESE Business School in Barcelona, IMD in Switzerland/Singapore, London Business School in the UK, HEC Paris in France, INSEAD in France, and SDA Boconi in Italy.  The famous Harvard Business School is only ninth in the customized programme providers and third in the open-enrolment program providers.

      As a clue to how European business schools are upstaging the U.S. ones in executive education, the following description of Number One school IESE Business School in Barcelona is illustrative: “IESE Business School tops this ranking for the fourth consecutive year.  The Barcelona school is in the top five in 13 out of 15 assessment criteria.  Notably it is number one for new skills, international clients and faculty diversity.  “IESE’s approach is extremely collaborative and they work tirelessly to ensure that our learning outcomes are successful, said one corporate client surveyed by the Financial Times.”  Filipino managers, even if they already have their MBA, should consider topping up their knowledge and skills by enrolling in one of the executive education programs offered by European business schools. Some of them have Asian campuses, such as HEC Paris, IMD, and ESSEC in Singapore.  In the Philippines, the University of Asia and the Pacific offers in tandem with the IESE Business School an Advanced Management Program and other short courses in executive education that have already graduated more than 100 top executives over the last five years.

         This coming July, a new Executive Education program under the UA&P-IESE tandem will be offered for general managers, business owners, and C-suite executives of companies with at least ten years of executive experience.  The Global Executive Program (GEP) is also ideal for top-tier executives of companies undergoing expansion or internationalization, especially within the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).  GEP is composed of two five-day modules centering on driving growth and leadership in the global economy.  It addresses the crucial need for business executives in the Philippines to rid themselves of an insular or parochial outlook and to think more global while acting local.  There is no longer any question that local business trends are significantly influenced by such global developments as the end of the easy money era, especially precipitated by the increase in interest rates in the United States; or the looming trade war between the U.S. and China; or the slowdown of the Chinese economy; or the sudden spike in the international price of petroleum.  The global characteristic of an executive education program is facilitated by the diversity in the nationalities of the faculty members.    GEP is delivered together with the IESE Business School whose global leadership is significantly due to the very international composition of its faculty.

         In the first module (July 23 to 27, 2018) to be held in Manila, the participants will be helped to assess their current strategy and map out strategic actions needed to position their firms for future growth domestically and globally, especially within the AEC markets.  They will deepen their understanding of macroeconomic frameworks to assess business opportunities.  They will be enabled to prepare for transformational change through a refinement of their leadership qualities and the appropriate crafting of a leadership agenda.  Module topics include Strategic Innovation, Industry Analysis and Competitive Advantage, Analyzing ASEAN opportunities, Achieving Marketing Effectiveness and Leading Positive Change.

         The second module (September 17 to 21, 2018) to be held in Barcelona, Spain will be conducted by IESE professors who will help the participants gain clarity around the digital revolution and harness this unstoppable trend.  By interacting with business leaders from other emerging markets, the participants can broaden their perspective of the global economy.  They will also acquire new skills to jumpstart innovation within the markets and customers they serve.  Module topics will include Global Economic Outlook, Cross Cultural Leadership, Innovation and Design Thinking, Digital Mindset and Creative Negotiations.   These two modules will offer the participants opportunities to a) challenge existing business assumptions to align with current market conditions and opportunities; b) expand their executive mindset through analysis of industry best practices and global outlook; and c) grow as leaders and deepen their executive influence among those they lead.    Interested parties may contact the staff of the Global Executive Program at email address or (632) 637 9012 to 26 local 207.  For comments, my email address is