University-based Executive Education Moving Beyond Classroom

Beijing - December 7th, 2016 - The International Consortium for Executive Education(UNICON) today released findings from its annual membership benchmarking survey, which includes responses from nearly 100 universities around the world with significant executive education programs. The survey found that university-based executive education providers are continuing to accelerate the use of new learning experiences that go beyond classroom instruction. These include coaching, business simulations, online learning, and 360-degree feedback. 

European universities lead the way in pedagogical innovation with more than 90% of providers using each of the teaching methods listed above.  The United States is not far behind.  In the U.S., 94% of schools report using business simulations, and 96% provide coaching for executive education clients.

This extra-classroom activity is one factor that has helped stimulate continued growth in the industry, with most schools reporting a year-over-year increase in revenue.  Providers who have participated in the survey for three consecutive years report growth of nearly 7% during that period.

Other key findings in the survey include:

·     Partnerships with for-profit organizations are becoming common initiatives across most institutions.  The purpose of these partnerships is to open up new business channels, and expand markets for executive education programs.

·     Networked/online learning is increasing significantly, including the increased use of tablets, laptops andclassroom video capture.

·     All regions around the globe – except Latin America – experienced increases in gross annual revenue.

“I am delighted to see the level of innovation taking place in our industry,” said UNICON Chair Cathy Shea, Associate Dean, Client Services at Babson Executive Education.  “University-based executive education providers spend a lot of time thinking about how we can make learning more relevant, timely and actionable for our clients.  It is rewarding to see colleagues throughout the world embrace new approachesto learning that best serve the needs of our customers.”

Executive development activity at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business experienced significant growth over the past year.  “We are very pleased to be part of the outstanding growth in university-based executive education,” said Gary Cohen, Associate Dean for the Office of Executive Programs at the Smith School.  “Our growth is evidence that forward-thinking companies in the global regions we serve are recognizing the value we can bring to their growth and success. We look forward to continuing to support their executive development needs in the coming years.”

“By enriching our value proposition, we are well-positioned for future growth,” added Shea.  “New learning methodologies, new partnerships, new locations and new uses of technology all add up to morecomplete learning experiences, stronger client relationships, and better outcomes for every individual who experiences executive learning.  This is certainly an exciting time for ourindustry.”

“2016 was a year of great innovation for the Smith School of Business,” said Cohen.  “In addition to our phenomenal domestic growth, we added to our programs and team in Asia and the Middle East.  As aresult, we have forged relationships with companies and government agencies from D.C. to Shanghai to Dubai, and are now in a position to offer global solutionsto multinational organizations.”

Shea added: “The continued health of this industry is a testament to the hard work, careful listening and active relationship-building that characterizes UNICON’s member organizations.  UNICON is committed to helping each member school grow by presenting new approaches to executive learning through our conferences and research activities.”

About the survey

The questionnaire was developed by UNICON in collaboration with Percept Research to provide consortium members with a credible and comparative assessment of the non-degree executive education industry. It was conducted in October 2016 and included responses from 88 percent of UNICON’s membership.


Founded in 1972 as an association of executive education program directors, UNICON has evolved from an informal common-interest group into an incorporated non-profitconsortium committed to advancing the field of university-based executive education. Membership is composed of more than 100 educational institutionsfrom the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

UNICON is committed to the principle that university-based executive education provides a combination of thought-leadership at the highest levels of rigor, masterful learning environments and practical application that cannot be replicated by non-academic providers.

UNICON sponsors and conducts research studies that bring to the forefront this unique value of university-based executive education. It also provides industry/operational knowledge and networking opportunities for members through conferences, webinars, workshops, research, benchmarking, website, newsletters, job postings, discussion boards and forums and other activities.

For more information, Please contact:

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.