Convergence Project Joins IE, Yale, the FT

IE Business School in Spain

When it comes to business schools, the Financial Times enjoys a position of influence, mainly through its rankings. Now, the company has moved into a position of partnership.

The FT and Spain’s IE Business School on Dec. 10 announced a joint venture that will see the two entities working together with a number of other business schools, including the Yale School of Management, to deliver customized executive business education to companies around the world.

The new Corporate Learning Alliance is already underway, with about 15 customers of IE’s “custom programs unit” rolled into the CLA.

“The FT/IE CLA combines business insight from the FT’s renowned journalists and columnists with IE’s expertise and academic theory in the classroom,” says FT CEO John Ridding. “This will give leaders valuable context and a direct link to real time challenges and opportunities.”

CUSTOMER OF THE FUTURE: ‘NOT A MILLENNIAL’

Custom business training represents one of the fastest growing segments of higher education, says IE dean Santiago Iniguez. Demographics are driving that growth, Iniguez says.

“The demographics show the customer of the future is not a Millennial, but those individuals with more than 50 years,” Iniguez says. “Companies and individuals will constantly have the need for updating their skills and their knowledge.”

IE Business School dean Santiago Iniguez

The convergence represented by the alliance between the partner schools and the FT has the capacity to “revolutionize” business education, Iniguez says. “It makes all the sense that content providers, opinion providers, join forces with education providers (and) with many more related industries, with technology providers.” The CLA, says Iniguez, “will deliver the next era of executive education, combining the FT’s world-class, real-time business news and analysis with the very best that business schools have to offer.”

The CLA custom programs can last from a couple days training for top management, to six months for intensive education of a broad array of employees.

“What we normally do is invest a good deal of time in preparing and designing the program that best suits the needs of the corporate clients,” Iniguez says, adding that such preparation usually takes a month or longer.

“It’s going to the company and designing courses that develop the executives within the corporate culture. The idea is to design programs that adapt to their strategic needs, the aspirations of the companies. It’s not a matter of cutting and pasting modules that you may have.”

MIXING OLD SCHOOL WITH HIGH TECH

The programs will typically be a mix of classroom and online education, Iniguez says.

Other partner schools include Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Brazil; Antai Business School and Renmin Business School in China; Singapore Management University, and EGADE in Mexico.

The CLA partners intend to put together a cohort of professors from partner schools who have solid academic backgrounds along with top-level consultancy skills, Iniguez says. “We will build up this faculty composed of experts from different continents, able to teach in different languages. In three, four years, we will be on every continent.”

  • PJPRO

    Huge potential for conflicts of interest – what will be the effect on FT’s coverage of client customers if its journalists are actively involved in exec programs for those companies?