Kenan-Flagler In Exec Ed Deal With Fortune

UNC's Kenan Flagler Business School

UNC’s Kenan Flagler Business School

It’s unusual for a business school to partner with a media brand to offer executive education programming. Spain’s IE Business School was the first to do a deal with The Financial Times. Now the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School has announced a partnership with Time Inc.’s Fortune to create a portfolio of open enrollment business programs.

“We are looking at producing five certificates, with the first one on “Leading With Purpose” and the second centered around Fortune’s Most Powerful Women franchise,” says Melissa Hlavac, managing director of MBA Programs. Each certicate will require the completion of three courses from a menu of five. The courses will run six-weeks each, four times a year.

“We feel that this certainly does have scale,” adds Hlavac. “At this point, we are still developing the courses but we see an opportunity in the C-suite market that Fortune reaches. We felt that there was an opportunity to build that leadership pipeline and target the mid-market leaders and emerging leaders as well.”


Melissa Hlavac, managing director of MBA programs at Kenan-Flagler Business School

The courses will be prepared for two segments of the executive ed market: mid-level managers and emerging managers. For mid-level execs, course content would be delivered via asynchronous video and live, while for emerging managers, the content would be delivered largely on an asynchronous basis with an interactive element.

While pricing has yet to be finalized, the cost of a course for emerging managers will be roughly $950 or just shy of $3,000 for a certificate. The cost of a mid-level executive course would be $3,250, or just under $10,000 for a certificate.

The courses will be taught by Kenan-Flagler professors and incorporate Fortune’s video content, including interviews with Fortune 500 executives. “What makes this different is we are working with Fortune in order to reach the C-suit folks through interviews,” says Hlavac. “Our faculty will work with them and video will be given to us and threaded through our asyncronous content. We expect that this will trickle into our custom business as well.”


The first offering—expected to be available in the fall, possibly by October—will focus on leadership, data analytics, strategy and innovation, or in the words of Hlavac, “a leading change sort of thing,” that would lead to a certificate in Leading With Purpose.

The idea of a partnership was first broached a year ago by Alan Murray, a UNC alum who is chief content officer of Time Inc. and president of Fortune. “We are always pushing forward with emerging technologies and we want to leverage these technologies to improve learning,” adds Hlavac. “From the executive standpoint, there would be the appeal of high quality content without having to leave their desk. With Fortune we feel there was a natural fit because the brand is about leadership.”

In a statement accompanying the announcement, Dean Douglas A. Shackelford said that “collaborating with Time Inc.’s Fortune—which has a tradition of excellence in business content and connecting leaders to address important topics—is a natural fit for us. Through our partnership, we will offer a valuable blend of expertise and access for busy executives who are eager to develop their business expertise and need the flexibility of online learning.”

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