Executive Learning in the Cloud
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Executive Learning in the Cloud

How high-quality pedagogy can bring online executive education to life


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Being able to interact and share learning with peers from other organizations is one of the key benefits of the traditional campus based executive education program. But logistics, geography, and time constraints sometimes make the traditional campus based program unrealistic, and this is particularly the case when an enterprise is looking to involve a large group in an executive program.

Online executive education can be the answer, but only when done well. If the teaching methodology – the pedagogy – is top-class online executive education can have its own unique advantages. Done well there can be a satisfactory trade-off between campus and online based programs.

MTN, an Africa-based multinational mobile telecommunications company, which also operates in the Middle East, faced the logistics problem. The company saw value in gaining cutting-edge knowledge and best-practice learnings from a world-class business school, but headquartered in Johannesburg, it would have been prohibitive to send a large number of executives to Europe or the US.

Having worked since 2014 with IMD in Switzerland, MTN asked IMD to customize two of its Global Leadership in the Cloud programs to meet its needs. The result was a great success.

“The way IMD carries out the methodology and the pedagogy for its Global Leadership in the Cloud courses almost guarantees success. The structure of the programs makes participants feel like they are accompanied, even though they can learn at their own pace,” said Birgitte Davy, Learning Solutions Manager – Leadership at MTN Group. “Participants are not just a number. There is constant feedback and follow up. The programs are highly supported by IMD’s expert faculty.”

IMD understands pedagogy in a corporate leaning context better than most, having a unique expertise built up by a generation of pedagogical engineers such as professors Peter Killing and Paul Strebel. Deploying state-of-the-art teaching techniques based on contemporary neuroscience research, IMD designs its programs specifically for executives rather than students, and puts a strong emphasis on achieving practical applicable outcomes.

Participants in IMD's Global Leadership in the Cloud programs engage in highly-personalized and interactive experiences that involve dynamic videos, individual coaching and learning partnerships with peers. In addition, the courses give real feedback and recommendations from IMD in order to maximize the effectiveness of the learning.

The 11 programs now offered are: Being Innovative, Building Business Sustainability, Changing Employee Behavior, Digital Disruption, Finance Fundamentals for Executives, Learning Leadership, Leading Strategic Initiatives, Leveraging Strategic Partnerships, Marketing Management, Pricing Excellence in Tough B2B Markets, and Strategic Thinking.

IMD often provides customized modules of these programs, tailored to their clients’ needs, and provided two programs exclusively customized for MTN.

Thanks to the IMD programs, MTN greatly increased its knowledge and expertise in the area of pricing, a subject that was especially challenging in the regions in which the company operates due to the complexity of regulation. “Our executives learned a great deal from the program and applied their learnings immediately by using the costing methods from the course to adjust roaming fees, for example,” says Birgitte.

Not only does developing the capabilities of its executives give MTN a competitive advantage, but learning with IMD gives the employees a lot of value as well. “I have people telling me that they really appreciate it because it is so cutting-edge,” said Birgitte.

MTN carried out its own survey on the program’s impact, and the findings suggest that 100% of the participants would recommend the program, because it was heavily geared toward the actual implementation of the learning afterwards and because of the ongoing support. One of the strengths of IMD’s model of online learning, according to Birgitte, is the personalized follow-ups.

IMD is a top-ranked business school, expert in developing leaders, transforming organizations and creating immediate and long-term positive impact.

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