Exec-Ed for Emerging Markets - IEDP
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Exec-Ed for Emerging Markets

Why are so many leading business schools reaching out to these comparatively under-developed markets?


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It was a decade ago when the acronym “BRICs” was first coined by Jim O’Neill the Goldman Sachs economist referring to the four countries set to develop the world’s next biggest economies—Brazil, Russia, India and China. Since then all four have attracted much attention and increased investments from all sectors; the executive education market is no exception. As more and more business schools have expanded their offerings to participants around the world, either through opening their own international campuses or through collaborations with other schools, notable platforms are still being set-up in emerging markets such as the BRIC countries.

Take INSEAD, for example. Understanding the accelerated growth of the Indian economy, the school recently launched its Leadership Programme for Senior Executives, in partnership with Eruditus Executive Education. In contrast to the typical short open programs offered to executives, INSEAD’s India program is spread over 12 months, preparing executives for the senior management roles the Indian market is seeing more and more of.

“Programs like this are relevant for developing countries that are growing rapidly,” says faculty member Professor Balagopal Vissa in whose opinion the INSEAD program gives Indian executives a “window to the world outside.” As well as Professor Vissa, the program takes advantage of INSEAD faculty members from its campuses around the world, including Singapore, Germany, Italy, the UK and the US. The research they bring to their teachings varies from general work on high growth environments, to more specific research into, in the case of Professor Vissa, networking styles and how to network and leverage social capital more broadly. These combined make up the almost MBA-like syllabus of this latest INSEAD executive education program.

However, India is not the only emerging market INSEAD has tapped into; they have an established Research Centre in Israel, and opened a campus in Abu Dhabi in 2007. Similarly, HEC has also made its mark in the Middle Eastern executive education market, with the opening of their recent campus in Doha, Qatar. In addition, participants on their Executive MBA can access modules with their academic partners in Brazil, Russia and China.

So why are so many leading business schools reaching out to these comparatively under-developed markets? Speaking to IEDP, Professor Vissa explained that the idea behind INSEAD’s India program was to provide Indian managers with the functional managerial skills that would give them the repertoire of business judgement exercised by executives in the rest of the world. “We seek to provide the important leadership skills that companies in a growing environment need in order to seize and execute local and global opportunities.”

And it is not just the executives in emerging economies that are benefiting from the increased investment in their executive education markets. According to a recent article in the Independent, even executives in developed economies cannot afford to solely focus on their domestic markets, when the most exciting future career opportunities are likely to be offered elsewhere. Quoting from this article, HEC comments that “getting BRICs experience on your EMBA is a good way to future-proof your career.” With their own EMBA following the same content and curriculum in all the locations it is offered in, HEC is effectively giving participants a valuable networking platform through which they can develop a network of peers around the world.

In this respect, INSEAD and HEC are joined by a number of schools profiled by IEDP that have begun to provide executive training in emerging markets; for example, IESE has campuses in (amongst other locations) Brazil and Nigeria, London Business School has partnerships with a number of schools including the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), and Harvard Business School opened its Latin America Research Centre in Buenos Aires in 2000.

With business schools competing to make their marks as the best training institutions in these locations, it is likely that we will continue to see an increase in the variety of executive education programs being offered around the world.


As one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas from around the world to change lives and to transform organisations.

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