Who are the rivals and partners of Business Schools?

From OUR EDITORIAL STAFF we have gone out there to investigate what happens when we see a lot of information on the Internet about two aspects that are sometimes not given due attention: one, who are the real partners of business schools; the other, which can be considered the rivals in the market.

We are going to explain a little what, a priori, the difference consists of. When there are a number of leading consulting firms on the market and also technology start-ups that offer a large number of courses, the question is to see to what extent the apparent rivalry can become a joint strategy to take advantage of the strengths they have. this type of consultancies and start-ups.

The question is to see to what extent the apparent rivalry between business schools and consultancies can become a joint strategy to take advantage of the strengths that this type of professional firms and start-ups have, which business schools can take advantage of


And this is so, since postgraduate students, especially those who have significant professional experience and want to do an MBA to get “up to speed” with the latest developments in a specialty they choose, clearly see that a good education course executive can bring you up to date with the latest developments. But this type of professional does not need (and does not want to) get into a one- or two-year program, so their preference will be for those programs that last a few weeks.

This is the case with the Oxford Cyber ​​Futures programme, a three-month online collaborative learning course delivered by Oxford University Saïd Business School in partnership with Esme Learning Solutions, a provider of AI-powered educational platforms. .

According to testimonials from a student of this particular course, she says that she, she achieved her goals in a few short but intensive months, especially valuing the learning methodology of simulated business meetings with other course participants.

And this was possible because of the presence of incredible academics from Oxford University, but also Esme paired them with top industry executives who shared their real-world knowledge and helped put the information into context for even better understanding. of reality.

Experienced professionals want to take the knowledge they have acquired and put it into practice the morning after taking a class online the night before that delved into aspects they need for their work


Business schools provide about a third of executive education programs, according to Andrew Crisp, head of educational consultancy CarringtonCrisp, with so-called alternative providers holding the lion’s share of the market. While consulting firms have tight control over personalized training for their clients, Crisp says the pandemic has accelerated the growth of online providers like Coursera, Udemy, Emeritus and LinkedIn Learning by offering executives a wide range of programs and short, focused open enrollment courses.

What are the advantages of consultants?

Alternative vendors are meeting the needs of executives who come home from work on a Monday night, search online for a course that teaches them the knowledge and skills they need, and may be applying those knowledge and skills to the next morning. Undoubtedly, professionals who are already in important positions according to their functions and responsibilities, have preferences regarding the immediate impact that the knowledge acquired may have. That is, that learning is opening the door to new methods applicable on the same day tomorrow when they face their daily routine and decision making.


What are the advantages of Business Schools?

Business schools, for their part, bring strengths to executive education through their brands and reputations, through their teaching techniques, and by importing their research and learning expertise. Precisely, a clear advantage can be seen for Business Schools in terms of the education and training process, seen in the medium and long term, since they are providing a backbone of training and experience, which has to be assimilated with great study effort, assignments requested by teachers, etc. But it is also that the speed of incorporation of new programs is different from that of consultancies: the time it takes for business schools to incorporate is slower than the speed at which alternative providers can move to implement courses to react to changes in the business environment.

Graduate students who have already had a few years of experience and decide on an MBA, for example, know that if they need to add a certain skill to their knowledge and expertise for tomorrow, alternative providers are a great place to find that skill. training. On the other hand, if what you want is to develop your career in the medium and long term, a business school offers you the breadth that you would not get with a short online course.

Postgraduate students with important professional experience who want to do an MBA as well as with the latest developments in a specialty they choose, also have options for short courses of a few weeks in specialized consultancies


Schools that want to grow their market share

If business schools want to protect or grow their share of the executive education market, they must remove the barriers to launching courses more quickly, while also doing a better job of identifying their alumni as customers.

Executives want immediate impact: they want to know that their learning will help them right away. And this is a crucial point to be taken into account by the management of the schools, especially the respective academic directions in terms of the selection and incorporation of programs and teachers.

The option of association with alternative providers

Another option for schools is to partner with an alternative provider, as Oxford Saïd, Cambridge Judge and Imperial College business schools in the UK, along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, have done with Esme.

Short courses under these links range from climate innovation and startup financing to digital finance and blockchain strategy.

Students spend 45-60 minutes a week in an AI-driven online group chat environment. Esme uses her technology to analyze conversation dynamics and provide real-time, personalized feedback, gently nudging participants toward more collaborative behaviors as they work through course materials.

Undoubtedly, professionals who are already in important positions according to their functions and responsibilities, have preferences regarding the immediate impact that the knowledge acquired may have


Esme co-founder Beth Porter says research shows we learn best when we interact with others in small groups, using ad hoc and structured community learning. However, executive education has tended to perpetuate traditional methods, where experts spread information and students passively absorb it, she says.

“This is exactly what online learning has historically been terrible at, and executive education pivoted heavily online under Covid,” she says. “However, partnering with universities and Business Schools is the best way to deliver a human-centered learning experience based on rigorous knowledge.” A mix of AI tools and subject-matter expert tutors leading discussions and providing feedback help participants feel “connected and engaged,” says Porter, who also predicts increased use of virtual reality and game-based learning tools. in executive education.

LinkedIn Learning says it’s creating 200 courses each month, drawing on a catalog of more than 17,000. “We enable people to develop skills in real time when it may not be realistic to get specialized degrees,” says Hari Srinivasan, vice president of product management at LinkedIn Talent Solutions.

“We are constantly looking at what skills are trending to make sure we are at the forefront of learning content. There is a lot of power in using online learning to fill in the smallest skill gaps. Those learnings may be the ones that take you to the next level of your career, but they are the ones we talk about much less”

LinkedIn Learning also has more than 200 licensed partners, and Srinivasan says he is partnering with several universities to provide official credit to students in preparation for admission to degree courses.

Business schools need not fear these alternative providers, says Anne-Valérie Corboz, associate dean for executive education at HEC Paris. “For these players, we provide the intellectual capital and they support a broader footprint, reaching learnings that we could not otherwise reach. It is a strong partnership based on supporting the spread of learning.”

The speed of incorporation of new programs of business schools is different from that of consultancies, since the time it takes for the first ones to incorporate new programs is slower than the speed at which alternative providers can move to implement courses for react to changes in the business environment


Where are the competitors?

Margaret Andrews who is a seasoned academic leader with over twenty years of experience in higher education, business and consulting and has held a variety of higher education positions including Associate Dean in the Division of Continuing Education at Harvard University, Director Executive of the MBA Program, Alumni Relations and Marketing at MIT Sloan School of Management, and Vice Chancellor at Hult International Business School, said on June 13 in an article entitled “Business Schools: Who Are Your Competitors?” she was preparing for her presentation at the Annual Conference of GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council) which is a mission-driven global association of leading graduate business schools.

And that she was precisely writing the article a few days ahead of time to see the reactions it would cause in the academic market.

He explains that the title of his intervention in the session is about “Current trends in management education” and it is a matter that should make us rethink business, how it has been carried out and how it will have to be carried out in the future, business training and competition of course. And at this point she thinks it’s clear that the competition is increasing, and more and more of it is coming from places you might not suspect. For example, if you were one of the top-ranked business schools in the United States, you would no doubt consider your competition to be Stanford or MIT Sloan, or any of the other highly-ranked business schools in the much-hyped BusinessWeek Rankings.

What introduces as a novelty what we have been saying above, that different types of competitors appear, and this happens both in the present and what will increase and continue to happen in the future, since some Business Schools are offering certain courses based on to agreements with training consultants, who know how to deliver content in person and online to various management levels within an organization, and some of them already work with universities that will award academic credit for their training programs.

This means that there are strategic consulting companies known for working for personal and professional growth and development, which can hire non-business graduates and provide them with enough training in a few months to make them competitive with their MBAs. What if they started selling these services?

There are also the editors

They are organizations that have large amounts of content, including books, articles, background notes, and cases. All they need is a technology to deliver the content widely and people to make it easy for that content to be known and reach students. Additionally, Business Schools may have agreements with publishers or have their own publisher.

There are also what are known as “continuing education units” that focus more on practical application than research and offer programming geared toward working adults.

There is also the case of corporate universities

The best known is McDonald’s Hamburger University, but there are several large companies that also have this training initiative, such as: Walt Disney, Boeing or Motorola. They hire some of their teachers for special programs. They also have a large audience of employees and a desire to retain and develop these people. Also, some corporate universities now train the employees of other companies.

Educational consultants and agents

If you are an educational consultant, counselor or educational agent in any region of the world, you can become a form of partner educational institution of a school that values ​​your training and proven experience.

This is the case of GBSB Global Business School, which provides complete training to the people who act as an agent on how to present the activities of the school to potential students in that region.

Universities and business schools around the world

Many business schools and universities are always interested in promoting their cooperation and development abroad and providing new and exciting opportunities for both students and staff. That is why they often invite all kinds of institutions to become partners. The purpose of the cooperation is to improve opportunities for students to study abroad or obtain a double degree. Also the agreements must be flexible, for example, not having the obligation to send a minimum number of students to the country with which the agreement has been established. Any discussion of possible partnership options with universities and business schools around the world, which implies flexibility in the application of fees and other parts of the agreements, is always welcome.

Companies, NGOs and other organizations

Many schools are interested in connecting their students to real life and giving them valuable business experience. Which is why they regularly organize workshops with companies and industry tours to give students an insight into how business is done. They are always open to companies interested in collaborating with them and who want to meet their students. Also, the effort made by schools to educate future ethically responsible business leaders makes it especially interesting to invite NGOs to participate in all kinds of extracurricular initiatives and actively involve students in volunteer work.

What the Geneva Business School says about Academic Partnerships

“In the global market, it is essential to be connected. That is why we are actively forming strong ties with academic partners who meet the same standards for quality education and innovation that we hold for ourselves.”

They have a network that has grown steadily over the years, constantly expanding to new horizons.

These organizations allow them to offer exchange programs, complementary skills education, and dual degrees with universities and business schools that share the same passion for quality education.

Regarding professional associations, Geneva Business School collaborates with various companies and organizations from different sectors of the industry, with the purpose of seeking internships, volunteering and job opportunities for students. It also partners with companies that can enhance its suite of training tools to give students every opportunity to learn and grow from real-life experiences during their course time.

Agreements between business schools and strategic consultants help through programs such as Startup Partners at Harvard Business School, so that students can be in contact with entrepreneurs from various industries who transmit the experiences and wisdom of the Board of Directors


Start-up Partners

Harvard Business School identifies and names Startup Partners (SUPs) that bring together challenged entrepreneurs with HBS Alumni with real-world experience to “solve the case” and put the startup on an accelerated growth path.

Over the course of two hours, the entrepreneurs and HBS Alumni delve into the business, discuss and debate approaches, and emerge with a clear set of recommendations and actions.

Startup Partners is a high-contact, low-commitment program embraced by HBS alumni who want to bring their seasoned business expertise to emerging business leaders and startups.

During the two-hour SUP sessions, students will meet other HBS alumni, who will also connect with an entrepreneur who will share his knowledge of the industry and his experience in starting a business.

SUP advises startups in various industries, including healthcare, finance, real estate and related services, consumer products, green technology, and more.

The people who are chosen as advisors will help the entrepreneurs to:

– Strengthen your business plans.

– Consider strategies to obtain capital.

– Focus the strategy of your start-up and clarify the weak points of the clients.

– Obtain information on the adjustment of the product to the market and the scalability of the business.

– Readjust your go-to-market plans.

Startup Partners is a high-touch, low-commitment program embraced by entrepreneurs from various industries who want to harness the experience and wisdom of a temporary, but highly experienced, Board of Directors.

Startup Partners is open to all startups, not just those with a Harvard connection

SUP advises startups in various industries, including healthcare, finance, real estate and related services, consumer products, green technology, and more.


This information has been prepared by OUR EDITORIAL STAFF