Leah Quesada-Kellett, Business Area Manager (Latin American Operations), Xerox Corporation
“Last year, I attended an executive education program in the well-equipped, high-tech classrooms at the Fisher College. The experience gave me the tools I need to be more effective in my job. I now think more strategically and realize that there are multiple facets to any business problem.”





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Executive Education prefunction area, Pfahl Hall
Balance of on-campus and distance learning popular with Executive MBA pilot participants

Just ask anyone who participated in the pilot Executive MBA program last year, “What was the program’s outstanding feature?” They are likely to praise the balance between in-class and distance learning.

The pilot program last year consisted of Fisher evening MBA students—24 in all—who began their coursework in January in a “test run” of the new Executive MBA program. Instead of meeting several evenings a week, as they would have in the regular evening program, the pilot program participants attended sessions three days each month, a schedule that will continue through December, 2000. The first part of the program included core courses in strategic management, organizational behavior and teamwork skills, managerial economics, marketing management and statistics.

Mostly working professionals, the pilot program participants spent a total of 144 hours in class and 54 hours in distance learning activities, a total learning time of 198 hours during the first six months of the 15-month program.

According to Management and Human Resources Professor Roy J. Lewicki, who was one of the architects of the EMBA program and who taught organizational behavior and strategy courses last year, a combination of in-class and distance learning is ideal. “The distance learning option offers a convenient mode of communication during off-campus hours, while the on-campus sessions provide opportunities for face-to-face interaction that is essential for bonding and for certain kinds of activities, such as negotiating, debating, planning and discussing,” observed Lewicki. Course web sites allowed participants to download materials for off-campus study; discuss or work on group case studies via chat rooms; participate in simulation activities online, such as a role-play negotiation assignment; and take online exams at home.

“The combined distance and in-class learning approach was so successful with the pilot participants last year that they are clamoring for the remainder of the courses, including the electives, to be offered in a similar format,” remarked Anil Makhija, Associate Dean for
Executive Programs and professor of finance.

The pilot program will continue with four more core courses and 19 electives through May of 2001. Meanwhile, the first regular session of the EMBA program will start up in January of 2001.

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