Chicago Booth Executive MBA – The First Program of its Kind

(anticipatory music) The period toward the
end of the second World War was a very important period
in education, because there were many returning veterans
who were very anxious to get back to work, develop
the skills that they needed to make contributions. The view was that there
were older executives, typically in their 40s and
even in their early 50s who had never had the
opportunity to have a serious business education. We’ve always reached out
to the broader community. There was a view with
William Rainey Harper, back in 1895, that we should
bring the same faculty to people that couldn’t
afford or didn’t have the opportunity to go full time. The next program came
along 25 years after that. It was a risky move to think
about this, whether there was going to be a market to do this. The war eventually was going to end, so what happens after the war ends? Is there still going to be a
need to train people like that in that method? I think it was sort of the
bold thinking that goes back to the founding of this
university, and continues to create the hallmark for the
way this university is run. From the first day that I
walked into Chicago Booth, I heard of Bud Fackler. Bud was the director of
the Executive MBA Program for many years. He was also a professor in the program, and he was very, very loved
by all of his students and by other faculty. Bud was one of the original
founders of what eventually became the Executive MBA
Council, and so that grew into what is now a global council. People have asked me how
we ended up beginning to move outside of Chicago, and
often people want to see a nice, clean, linear story. We had a desire to have
a global footprint, and so we analyzed the
market opportunities and selected Europe. It really didn’t evolve that way. I was in the dean’s office at the time. On my agenda was indication
that there were going to be some visiting bankers
from Spain, and I had no idea what this was. They came into my office and
proposed what I considered to be a completely outrageous suggestion, which is, we’d like the
business school to start a full-time MBA program in Andorra. I must say, I was polite.
But after they left, I thought, “This is a
really quite absurd idea.” Harry doesn’t give up, and
he continues thinking about it. He brings lots of people
into those conversations, and from those questions,
and from those discussions, have come some really major
and amazing innovations in the school. I wondered if we might be able to create the Executive MBA Program
using the same faculty, but doing it in a modular format. – In the early 90s it
was easier to connect and technology was facilitating
global connections, businesses were thinking
more about global markets, and we realized that, or
probably it was a student, a type of Executive MBA
student, for whom the opportunity-cost of coming
to Chicago for an MBA would be really way too high. And the only way we would
connect with those students was to make the step that we did, which is to bring Chicago to them. (lively piano music) When it was announced that
we were going to open a campus in Barcelona, I heard
about it by the phones ringing off the hook. It was an announcement
that was being broadcast on BBC, and I think that
there was an article in the Financial Times. And within minutes of that
information being sent out, I had about 30 phone calls. To me, it’s an example of the value of keeping the door open,
even if you don’t have an exact destination of what it might be. When we entered Asia, it wasn’t easy. It was challenging. We worked through those
years, and I think that because of that first couple
of years of experience, it makes us stronger, and
it also makes us think on our feet about how to
solve problem and make sure that everything runs well. I’m quite proud to say that
our students were very happy with the way that we run the campus. I think the staff deserves the recognition, because they work really hard. (music swells) I think it is important
that we have a global presence as a research institution,
as a business school, where we have a mission to
influence and educate leaders. And that’s important to do worldwide. And the only way to do that, really, is to be present in those communities. We really wouldn’t have
the same global reach of our alumni in the same
powerful network that we did without the presence of
the Executive MBA Program. One of the impacts of executive
MBA programs in general is it has fast-forwarded
the study of business to a larger audience, and
particularly to a more senior audience, who were able to make use of the techniques in more
serious managerial leadership roles in their organizations. So I think it, in fact, it accelerated the value of the MBA.

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