The Disappearing Classroom

Michael Desiderio

Michael Desiderio is executive director of the EMBA Council, overseeing Council programmes and services and collaborations with related educational associations and organisations throughout the world.

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Michael Desiderio describes how new technology is knocking down the walls of the Executive MBA.

Expectations of today’s business leaders are higher than ever, including the intense pressure to make profits appear in less time with fewer resources. So when they turn to a business school or similar to bolster their leadership knowledge and help them meet those lofty expectations, they are looking for flexibility and, more importantly, immediate relevance.

Executive MBA (EMBA) programmes were born from the desire for flexibility – as an option for working professionals to earn their MBA – and the current marketplace trends, once again, are demanding innovations and novel solutions from EMBA providers. Fuelled by technology, many of those innovations and new solutions are leading to a new phenomenon – the disappearing classroom.

What does the disappearing classroom look like? It is one whose boundaries are no longer defined by location or, in some cases, even walls. It is one where, more than ever, students learn by doing and where the time between acquiring knowledge and using it is dwindling rapidly.

The disappearing classroom manifests itself in a number of ways:

Formats of EMBA programmes continue to evolve. For example, students in EMBAs with modular formats meet less regularly but for longer periods. According to research from the Executive MBA Council, the worldwide association of EMBA programmes, the percentage of EMBAs that meet weekly dropped from 34% in 2008 to 26.7% in 2012 while the percentage of programmes that meet less than once a month has risen from 10.3% in 2008 to 14.3% in 2012.

EMBA providers are exploring different formats and different combinations of formats. And EMBA students are benefiting as a result. The increasing flexibility of formats makes it easier for working professionals to fit a programme into their busy lives.

Now EMBA students can live and work almost anywhere in the world and benefit from EMBA programmes either near them or accessible to them.

The Executive MBA Council hosts a website comparing EMBA programmes by geography, programme focus, start time, length and cost. The website also provides additional details about the EMBAs that allow side-by-side comparison.

For the full article, you can view the PDF or listen to the podcast.

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