Universities Becoming The Outsourcing Solution

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Katharine A. Bohley



This paper provides a road map for universities to follow in responding to corporations that are in need of a solution to the dilemma of building an executive development program and simultaneously providing their executives with a high quality MBA degree.  Difficulties experienced by many corporations are complicated by the fact that MBA programs vary by level of quality, emphasis, availability of concentrations and the degree to which they focus on the specific needs of their executive-level students.  In addition, many MBA programs are taught by faculty that see their primary function as research scholars.  In some business schools, (Bennis and O’Toole, 2005) there is little responsiveness to the needs of business “customers,” and often faculty have little high level executive experience to enhance the value of education for MBA’s.  The solution to this issue is to outsource an executive development program and this paper will address the University of Indianapolis’ (UINDY) experience in providing such a program.  The model presented in this paper is derived from years of experience in making the MBA cohorts into the recognized outsourcing solution for corporate universities.  The model, which has been highly developed, begins with having an active business development and support services team that demonstrates commitment and responsiveness to the needs of the major corporations.  UINDY builds on the success of multiple cohorts that have been delivered to these major corporations.  This model prioritizes the attitude UINDY brings to this effort – one of responsiveness to the company’s needs and a passionate commitment to providing the highest quality accredited degree for their employees that will be ‘nominated,’ for an MBA.  A customized curriculum that focuses on the unique issues, concerns and needs of the specific industry, company, and culture of the cohort is developed.  As an example, one of our major successes has been in one of the world’s largest aircraft engines manufacturing companies.  The choice of materials, cases, and the focus of discussions are specific to that industry.  The cohorts are taught on the corporate premises, on the company’s schedule (not on the official academic schedule) and the students can immediately apply what they are learning to solving problems and providing value to their companies on a continuing basis.  We detail the steps and stages of what has been successful in order to provide a toolkit that other universities can follow.  The paper also details the pitfalls, problems, and issues that must be faced to increase the likelihood of success and continuity of the programs being extended to future cohorts.


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