With its formation of its global partnerships more than two decades ago and “pop-up” electives in cities like Lisbon, London, Singapore, and San Francisco that combined asynchronous and in-person sessions years before the pandemic, Kellogg School of Management has long been an innovator of the Executive MBA.
The business school at Northwestern University recently announced three more innovations in the EMBA space: Two new certificates that can be earned as students complete their MBA coursework, two new courses for its growing portfolio of remote electives, and STEM eligibility.
“We talk about Kellogg students and certainly our great faculty as having an approach of high impact and low ego. Being as ranked as strongly as we are means never resting on our laurels. So we are continuingly thinking about the future and how to provide more value,” Greg Hanifee, Associate Dean of Degree Programs, tells Poets&Quants.
“Going through the pandemic, certainly a lot of us had to focus on just getting the support we needed to our students and faculty. When we came out earlier this year, we started really thinking about what’s next. There’s certainly more to come, but these are changes we’ve been working hard on this year.”
A NEW CERTIFICATE IN HEALTHCARE LEADERSHIP
Kellogg is clearly a leader in the Executive MBA degree. It was the top ranked school in Poets&Quants’ 2022 composite ranking of the best EMBA programs in the United States. It also ranked first in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 ranking, and third for U.S. programs in the Financial Times’ list.
It’s also a leader in healthcare. It is the longest-running healthcare business program in the country, and has offered healthcare strategy and industry affiliated courses in its EMBA for years. Last year, it piloted Healthcare at Kellogg (HCAK) Deep Dive Program, a series of four one-credit courses that brings together students from four Kellogg MBA programs – full-time, one-year, evening & weekend, and EMBA. Most coursework is delivered over a few intense immersion weekends at Kellogg’s campuses in Evanston, Miami, and San Francisco, with virtual content delivered in between.
Beginning next year, students who complete the Deep Dive will earn a new Healthcare Leadership certificate on their official Northwestern transcript, one of two new certificates Kellogg is offering its EMBA students.
“Feedback from students in the Deep Dive was that it provided a great, overarching view of the healthcare landscape which, sadly, we all know is quite complicated and often at odds here in the U.S.,” Hanifee says. “From a value proposition perspective, it seems like a natural extension to think about it as a separate certificate that we could offer to our students.”
Deep Dive is taught by renowned Kellogg faculty and healthcare industry leaders such as Professor Craig Garthwaite, professor of strategy and Kellogg’s director of healthcare.
A cornerstone of the format is the opportunity to bring industry experts directly into the classroom. The Kellogg campus in San Francisco, home to a burgeoning biomedical sector and other healthcare related industries, is particularly well positioned for bringing in leading healthcare experts.
“We built the program to integrate those practitioners in a way where they were not just guest speakers, but they were very much teaching the class,” Garthwaite told P&Q earlier this year.
NEW CERTIFICATE IN PRODUCT MANAGEMENT
Kellogg is also adding a certificate in Product Management, for which students can choose from a slate of relevant electives.
“Product management is certainly a hot area in the tech space and other industries,” Hanifee says. “Our Executive MBAs, who tend to be about 38 years old on average, often find themselves promoted into positions where they have to lead product management teams. This certificate, in the landscape of other things we could do, is quite defined.”
Kellogg EMBA students need a minimum of 28 credits to graduate, but can take up to 32 in the program. So, students interested in either the healthcare or product management certificate can earn them at no extra cost.
This is the first time Kellogg has offered specialized certificates for its EMBA students. But, with the framework now in place, they will continue to have conversations about if and what new certificates they may offer.
“With both these new certificates, I think we have the faculty expertise to back it up. It’s not as if we have to go searching for adjuncts or other experts to come in and teach,” Hanifee says.
TWO NEW REMOTE ELECTIVES
Flexibility is a factor more EMBA students are demanding, and top schools are responding. The Wharton School is launching a mostly-online Global EMBA next year, while Emory Goizueta offers both hybrid and 100% online formats along with its in-person cohort.
This fall, Kellogg will introduce two new remote electives, adding to a portfolio in which almost a third of electives are now offered virtually. For some students, it may reduce the need to travel to a Kellogg campus on some weeks. (Kellogg did not offer remote courses in its EMBA program prior to the pandemic.)
Advanced Negotiations will be taught by Nour Kteily, professor of management and organizations. While Kellogg’s EMBA has offered similar courses in previous years, it’s been more than five since this course has been available. Today’s business climate was an opportune time to bring the offering back, according to a school spokesperson.
Leading Product Organizations will be taught by marketing professor Mohan Sawhney, Kellogg’s associate dean of digital innovation. This is a brand new course designed to prepare senior executives to create product-led strategies.
Even before the pandemic, Sawhney was a pioneer in online executive education. In 2018, he developed eight SPOCs (Small Online Private Courses) which enrolled more than 15,000 executive students from around the world. Starting next January, he will launch a pilot, blended-format elective for Kellogg executive MBA students that will use core content from his Chief Product Officer program layered with live-virtual sessions.
“I think one takeaway of the pandemic is it’s not about online or in person. That’s a false dichotomy. It’s really thinking about the combination of modalities that creates the best experience for that particular audience,” Sawhney told P&Q in an interview this summer.
“I believe that the future of executive education, the new normal, is omni-channel – blending the best of digital and physical (delivery). The new normal to me is where we really don’t focus on modalities, we focus on learning experiences.”
For its third EMBA change, the Kellogg Executive MBA is now STEM designated as of the 2022-2023 academic year.
Kellogg first established a STEM Management Science major in 2019, and had the eligibility approved for its full-time program during the pandemic. While it didn’t pursue EMBA eligibility at that time, more students started requesting it, Hanifee says. Its Miami campus draws about 20% of its cohort from Latin America, Africa, and sometimes Europe.
“I think it speaks to the rigor of the program to be able to have a STEM certified degree,” Hanifee says. “Ours is defined as management science which means, throughout the program, there’s a high level of rigor that our faculty designs. There’s an absolute benefit to any international student who wants to work in the U.S., but I think the bigger affirmation is around the rigor and analytical approach that we have in the program.”
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