Making the Best Companies Even Better
Getting to the top is a challenge; staying there is an even greater one. When IESE’s Custom Programs were ranked number one in the world by the Financial Times in May 2015 (read news article), the division didn’t rest on its laurels but instead pushed forward with new programs, concepts and methodologies for the 2015-2016 academic year.
"One of the most appreciated features of IESE's Custom Programs versus the competition is our proactivity in continuously improving the design of programs," said David Zorn, co-managing director of Custom Programs in the New York campus. "Our fee for delivery includes design. That enables us to redesign a program or elements of a program when it's needed, not when our partner has the budget available to pay redesign fees."
Custom Programs are created to address the specific needs of companies. As a result, each of the 130 programs in the 2015-2016 calendar is unique in terms of content but they all share a core goal: To transform the mindset and behavior of participants, and in doing so, to drive immediate and lasting change for the organization.
This transformation is, according to the Custom Programs team, the only thing that their partners can expect as standard.
The quality of the programs is reflected not just in their rankings, but in the fact that companies such as Oracle, Airbus, L’Oreal, Santander, BBVA, Telefonica and Danone continue to rely on IESE for learning experiences.
In the words of Jo Tilson, Oracle Corporation’s head of global high-potential development, "IESE continues to deliver outstanding teaching content with some of the most experienced and engaging professors I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Participants leave our flagship leadership development program stimulated and energized, vowing to use their newfound knowledge to challenge the organization and contribute at a higher level to drive growth and customer satisfaction."
There will be a number of important new programs this year in addition to new editions of existing programs. For instance, a program for Austria's Erste Bank, and a pilot program for chemical sector giant Dow Chemical.
Multi-location programs delivered in modules to increase the transformational nature of the learning journey are increasingly common, as Idunn Jonsdottir, managing director of Custom Programs Barcelona and Munich, points out: "We are running programs in 18 cities on five different continents this academic year," she says.
This flexibility to deliver in different geographical areas is regularly praised by partners, as is the ability to adapt programs to perfectly fit with companies’ plans and strategies. Another feature singled out by partners is the exposure participants receive to ways of doing business they don’t encounter in their day-to-day activities. "They can then contrast this with their own company or industry, or even with their own management style," says Co-Managing Director of Custom Programs in the New York campus, Kip Meyer.
A case based on the 2013 "Vivero" Custom Program for Airbus Defence&Space edition won an Excellence in Practice award from EFMD. The 2015-2016 edition of the program will provide updated and expanded challenges.
Based in Munich, it takes place over six months in four, two-day residential modules. A significant number of previous participants have been promoted, says Managing Director of Custom Programs Madrid Roberto Macció, so demand for places and commitment levels are high. Airbus has identified a need to focus on intrapreneurship – an in-company entrepreneurial spirit – to drive innovation within the company. As a result, employees who take part will focus on developing new business while improving their management capabilities. To address the latest needs of the organization, the program has been redesigned to help participants solve problems creatively and collaborate in cross-functional joint teams from Germany and Spain.
The delivery method of the programs also continues to evolve. Roberto Macció explains that "omni-learning" will be at the heart of a new program being designed for a key partner, a global financial services firm. "It will be a blended program with an integrated and structured combination of syncronous and asyncronous online learning, residential learning, and action learning with online mentoring," he says. "We will mix a lot of methodologies, including business cases, multimedia video-cases, video-lectures, lectures, coordinated blogs, action learning, workshops, role plays, and more.
Providing the best Custom Programs in the world is a challenge IESE is looking forward to meeting again in 2015-2016. The division will continue to build on its experience, listen to the needs of partners, and work to help them prepare for the future.