What is the Role of EMBA Programs in Today’s Global Market?

After attending three conferences on business education on three different continents, Jordi Diaz began to ponder the role of business schools in today’s world and the new expectations of participants in business training programs.

“We need to start with China and Latin America, commonly known as the Pacific axis, because the penetration of both these markets in the field of training is becoming increasingly evident,” says Diaz, associate dean of programs for EADA Business School, quality auditor for European Programme Accreditation System, and past chair of the Executive MBA Council (EMBAC).

“Chinese institutions are well aware of their relevance in the global training market,” he says. “What’s more, there is a clear trend away from the model of exporting students all over the world or importing programs from top institutions in order to offer them inside China. The main challenge now has to do with seeking alliances. These are not just any kind of alliances but primarily alliances with partners who are willing to risk the option of a true China-West model.”

Latin America is another area of growth and important for both schools and students, and an area where Spanish institutions are in a privileged position thanks to existing agreements and collaboration in the region, he says.

Technology also is influencing EMBA education, he says. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are reaching more and more people. Harvard Business School has its own HBX division that offered its first program for 600 participants. “Where top American institutions enter, others shall follow.”

MOOCs allow business schools to offer global access to courses at very low or no cost, to increase their experience in the use of technology, to reinforce their brand, and to stimulate demand for other programs, he says.

For EMBA Programs and students, technology is changing program delivery in different ways. “It is becoming increasingly obvious that programs for managers – rather than university programs or master’s for recent graduates – are increasingly heading toward a more blended or hybrid format. These are basically programs that combine face-to-face training with distance training.”

It’s not all about globalization and technology, though, says Diaz.

“Participants also expect added value from training programs, and they want a training experience that brings added value. EMBA Programs are responding with real-life experiences and projects, and customized support from professional participants and executive coaching services.”