Like many in the business, Stephen Burnett, associate dean of executive education at Kellogg, expected corporate clients to return to campus fairly quickly. It didn’t happen. The Kellogg school is only now back to pre-9/11 enrollment levels in its executive education programs.
The length and severity of the drought convinced Burnett that a fundamental shift was under way in executive education. He concluded that demographic trends in corporate America had left a smaller pool of midcareer male corporate executives—the primary clientele of executive education programs. To thrive, executive education programs would have to adjust what they teach and whom they try to reach.
"We can’t just sit here and say, ‘Let’s just do what we did and offer what we offered,’ " Burnett says. "Schools have to start targeting very different markets."
Under Burnett, Kellogg has launched a series of new programs aimed at expanding the school’s executive education menu. Kellogg is one of the nation’s oldest executive education providers (it began offering non-degree executive education in 1951), and other schools around the country will likely be watching to see how Kellogg’s experiment works out.
Here’s a look at what’s new at Kellogg:
RENAISSANCE POST-MBA PROGRAM. Launched in April 2006, the non-degree program is billed as the first of its type in the country aimed specifically at executives who already hold MBAs. It is open to any executive who holds an MBA granted in 1995 or earlier. The idea is that the business world and business theories have changed considerably since those executives received their degrees. The school put together a three-week program to provide a quick look at the things an MBA graduate would not have learned in 1995.
GLOBAL PROGRAMS. Kellogg has offered executive education programs in foreign locations for years but is now expanding and adding to its offerings as a reflection of the new global business scene. Kellogg opened a new campus in Miami last year that targets executives from Central and South America. The first class, an executive MBA program, began in January 2006 and included executives from 12 countries. Kellogg also has EMBA programs running in Hong Kong; Frankfurt, Germany; and Tel Aviv, Israel. The next step for Kellogg will be to integrate programs so specific courses will be offered simultaneously at different Kellogg sites. A student enrolled in any location could choose to take a course on another continent and gain a broader worldview along with the course.
CUSTOM PROGRAMS. Like most schools, Kellogg offers custom non-degree executive education programs tailored to the specific needs of corporate clients and their executives. Now Kellogg is branching out, pitching more government and nonprofit agencies for custom programs. Burnett says large agencies like the U.S. Department of Homeland Security face many of the same management challenges that confront large, multinational corporations.
WOMEN. At many executive MBA programs, "in a class of 30, if you had three or four women, it would be a victory," Burnett says. To bring in more women, Kellogg last year launched a new program aimed at helping prepare high-level executive women in departments like human resources or the general counsel’s office for jobs as senior-level general managers and corporate leaders. To accommodate women who, because of traditional family obligations, might pass on the typical four-week residency program, the new program is broken down into shorter, three-day sessions. The program was in its second year in 2006 and attracted 35 women.