Open or Custom? IESE Offers a Third Way - IEDP
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Open or Custom? IESE Offers a Third Way

Open-enrolment and customized programs each have their pros and cons. Leading European business school IESE now offers a new third way.


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So, you have decided that your firm needs to invest in some form of executive education for your managers, and you are looking around for the best program. One of the first decisions you will make is whether to take the customized program route, or to send individual employees off to attend various open-enrolment programs. Each has its pros and cons. Leading European business school IESE now offers a new third way.

One of the most often cited negatives of choosing open programs is that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach may not be suitable for every organization. On the other hand the advantage of open programs is that their participants can network with executives from different organizations exposing them to new outlooks and ideas.

Custom programs, often part delivered at the firm’s offices, can offer absolute focus on the organization’s leadership agenda and for a large cohort can be cost effective. On the other hand, custom programs can be costly and not appropriate if you only want to train a small number of employees.

IESE Business School have come up with a solution: a hybrid open-enrolment program called ‘Fast Forward’, with customizable sessions. Participants can choose between ‘themed tracks’ that each focus on a different business challenge; for example, representatives from a smaller company may find the ‘Marketing Strategy and the Digital Age’ appropriate for their needs, whilst others that come from global firms could choose the ‘Challenges and Opportunities in Growth Markets’ track. As such, IESE anticipates that participants can gain the networking benefits associated with open programs, and at the same time, they can customize according to their specific needs.

The question of ‘open-enrolment vs custom programs’ has been discussed by a number of schools. According to Kellogg School of Management, custom and open enrolment programs are not substitute products; each has its own place. Custom programs have the power to change large organizations, while participants in open enrolment programs typically return to their companies with a renewed sense of purpose, a diverse network of contacts, and list of action items to improve their organization’s performance.

IESE’s latest addition to their program portfolio may well prove to be a popular option that combines the benefits of both. The program first took place last month in Barcelona, with small groups of participants from companies including Emirates NBD Bank and ISS. Other companies with individual participants included Hewlett-Packard Holding, Telefonica and BNP Paribas.



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