Author: Matt Waldman
Contact: Kristin Taylor

Published

Athens, Ga.—A surge in enrollment figures for university-based executive education programs is seen as a lagging indicator of an economic recovery. The Terry College of Business is among a worldwide consortium of schools that project an increase in customized executive education programs for 2011, which is a positive sign that a recovery has begun.

A recent international state–of–the–industry survey conducted by the International University Consortium for Executive Education found that many prestigious universities with executive education programs around the world are experiencing notably higher enrollment in 2011.

“We definitely are seeing companies investing again in our university–based executive education programs,” said Charles E. Squires, director of executive programs at the Terry College. “Clients tell us they appreciate the deep knowledge and perspective about pressing business issues provided by our business faculty members, many of whom are leading researchers and thinkers in their fields.”

According to the survey, 78 percent of UNICON participants project an increase in customized executive education programs during 2011. Nearly half of the schools surveyed indicated an increase in their number of programming days, now offering up to 39 weeks of open enrollment programs and an average of 49 weeks in custom programs. Slightly more than half also reported increasing the number of days that educational programs for executives are offered.

“As the survey trends indicate, the executive education industry is in a positive transition as industries rebound and their leaders return for the educational and development opportunities provided by university–based executive education,” said Mike Malefakis, associate dean for executive education at Columbia University and the co–chair of the UNICON benchmarking committee responsible for the survey. “UNICON member schools are responding with new curriculum designs and more relevant offerings that address the ongoing challenges facing companies and their leaders.”"

Universities with executive education programs are also hiring staff at a faster rate. “UNICON members are adding staff professionals in the areas of curriculum design, account management, program management and business development to meet growing demand,” said Bill Scheurer, UNICON’s executive director.

Other UNICON members report that business leaders are returning to their university–based executive education programs because of the networking and personal growth opportunities that executives receive from engaging senior business faculty members in discussion on specific business, economic and management issues.

“Beyond dealing with business challenges, corporations are refocusing attention on providing upward mobility for their top leadership talent through university-based executive education programs,” said Pat Cataldo, UNICON board chairman and managing director for executive education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

UNICON is a consortium of 97 worldwide member business schools committed to management, executive education and development. Member schools include the University of Georgia, Columbia, University of Michigan, University of South Carolina, Notre Dame, Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, London School of Business and Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.

The UNICON State of Executive Education Survey represents a snapshot into the collective experience of UNICON member schools. Geographic distribution of the responding schools was the U.S. and Canada (59 percent), Europe (21 percent), Latin America (10 percent), Asia (8 percent) and Africa/Middle East (2 percent).

For more information about the Terry College executive education program, see www.terry.uga.edu/exec_ed/.