RIT’s Saunders College of Business launched it’s online EMBA program about three years ago with the express intention of innovating the provision of online education for executives. Top among those innovations are the use of highly immersive, interactive experiential approaches. Unlike our regular MBA and undergraduate business programs, executives bring with them a set of unique challenges that alter the usual approaches of instruction. One example is in the use of pro-bono real world client projects. Contractual obligations towards current employers and time constraints are two of these challenges. Add to the mix the geographic dispersion of many of our executive students (some serving overseas in the military for instance) and we find ourselves limited in what we can do to create great learning experiences. Undeterred and fully supportive of ‘experience’ based approaches the program arrived at a potential solution. In my Marketing Strategy course I make use of something as seemingly simple as a fictitious ‘client’. Each week the client reveals additional issues surrounding it’s ability to compete effectively in the market – and the job of the EMBA team is to reflect on the ways in which the theoretically rich nature of the materials can be applied to solving this problem. The results are in – executives love it and so too the judges of innovative teaching practices at institute level at RIT. Students get the benefit of application (something critical to the success of executive training where more often than not students need to be able to apply their learning to their jobs on Monday morning), the immersion of team interaction (thanks Adobe Connect), and the delivery of a real world marketing plan at the end of the intensive process (our EMBA courses last a short 6 weeks). It is with great pleasure therefore that Ive been awarded the task of representing the approach of my course specifically at the Educational Futures Faculty Showcase in the Spring. For more information on our online EMBA and the benefits of the program look here.
Dr Hair is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the E Philip Saunders College of Business at RIT.
© 2012, Dr Neil Hair. All rights reserved.