BU Today

In the World

SMG’s Executive Education Custom Programs Leap in Rankings

Financial Times puts SMG 12th in the nation, 20th worldwide

Elizabeth Nassar attributes the improved ranking of EECP to a willingness to listen to clients. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Nassar

Two years ago, the School of Management’s Executive Education Custom Programs were ranked by the Financial Times as 41st in the world and 18th nationwide. This year, the programs jumped to 20th on the paper’s worldwide list and 12th on the national list, giving BU the greatest advance of any American-based university and the second highest leap worldwide.

Elizabeth Nassar, director of the Executive Leadership Center (ELC), which administers the programs, attributes the jump to several improvements, including a dramatic increase in the number of programs offered, the availability of curricula not offered elsewhere, and the growing reputation of the faculty.

“Another reason we’ve made such huge progress,” says Nassar, who has been director for the past two years, “is that we spend a lot of time listening to the client. What distinguishes us from other good executive programs is that we try to design programs around the needs and challenges of companies that are striving to evolve as business evolves."

The programs, she says, may be aimed at teaching advanced management techniques to clients flying in from South Korea, customizing a business plan to help telecommunication company Ericsson evolve with the changing market, or developing a strategy to cultivate new business leaders at IBM.

“For many years,” says Louis Lataif (SMG’61, Hon.’90), dean of SMG, “world-leading companies have sent their executives to these programs because of the excellence of our professors, our innovative approach to the teaching of management, and the willingness of our program designers to tailor content to the needs of the organization.”

The Executive Leadership Center has tailored programs to help, for example, SK Corporation of South Korea break into the Chinese market. For the past several years, about 25 SK executives have taken eight-week crash courses at SMG in subjects ranging from learning English and familiarizing themselves with American business culture to advanced management techniques.

“We design specific curricula that meets the needs of the businesses that come to us. No two programs are alike,” Nassar says. “We also only use the most senior faculty, who are extraordinary teachers and continue to work in the industry.”

The ELC currently offers 18 custom programs, 9 open enrollment programs, and 4 yearly conferences. Approximately 45 SMG faculty members assist in the programs.

BU’s Executive Education Custom Programs keep impressive company, ranking alongside schools such as Columbia Business School, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

“The schools ranked near us place us in really good company,” says Nassar. “It’s a big accomplishment, because these rankings are critically important to SMG’s long-term reputation.

Meghan Noé can be reached at mdorney@bu.edu.