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The charts below, based on data gathered for the 2023 Executive Education Rankings, explore the most frequently taught business school topics, participants’ interests and their evaluations of teaching. Revenues recover after the pandemic hit take-up of lucrative short courses, while students go back to school for in-person learning. And what do open-enrolment course participants look like, from gender, age, seniority and company size to MBA history?

More than 60 per cent of executive education programme participants rate learning “new skills” 10 out of 10 for importance — but they judged schools’ performance did not match that weighting. Business schools performed better on the quality of teaching faculty, also deemed particularly important by students.

Leadership and strategy are taught by almost all executive education providers, followed by finance and innovation. Restructuring linked to Covid-19 is now taught by fewer than half of schools, while artificial intelligence and machine learning is a more popular topic on open-enrolment programmes than custom courses.

Executive education — traditionally a highly lucrative part of business schools’ programme offering — was badly hit by Covid-19. But revenues from open-enrolment and custom courses have been rising signficantly as the market recovers after the height of the pandemic.

Business schools are returning to more in-person teaching as the impact of Covid lessens. Globally, business schools reported a 23 percentage point rise in participants attending courses entirely in person, while the increase was 33 percentage points in the UK.

Graphic showing who takes education courses

Women comprise almost half of participants on open-enrolment executive education programmes in the US and Canada but less than one third in the Asia-Pacific region. Most participants are on average in their mid-40s, with the majority in senior management roles. In western countries, about one fifth of participants have an MBA, while the figure is higher elsewhere.

Financial Times Executive Education rankings 2023

Iese and Duke CE © Alamy Stock Photo

View the twin main rankings of custom and open-enrolment executive education programmes, plus the combined top 50 table.

Graphics by Chris Campbell

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