May 3, 2013
When big companies needed to train their leaders, they used to ask business schools to suggest a professor who would lead a brief course on campus or in an office.
As The Wall Street Journal reports, corporations paid thousands of dollars for the instruction, but professors would receive half of what their colleges charged. Now, as social media and TED talks have helped professors become their own brands, companies are eliminating the university middleman and contacting instructors directly.
Sheena S. Iyengar, a professor at Columbia Business School, says she’s seen a huge increase in direct company interest since her book, "The Art of Choosing," was published in 2010. She has lectured and trained executives at Google and other companies, on topics such as consumer choice and leadership.
Daisy Dowling, head of talent development at Blackstone Group, says she builds her own contact lists so she can match subject-matter experts to a company’s particular culture and needs. “In the supermarket of executive education, we’re not going toward prepared foods,” she says. “We’ll make things with the ingredients we want.”
But schools, already struggling with declining demand for M.B.A.s and lower corporate interest in open-enrollment programs for executives, can’t afford to lose custom executive-education programs, which can bring them tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars a year. — Greg Beaubien