Executive MBAs — Reputation No Go

April 28, 2012

Executive MBAs — Reputation No Go

Just came across some research from ReputationInc that holds some very interesting information. Here are the main facts they discovered by examining the curriculums of the leading Executive MBA programs identified by the Financial Times. They were looking to see how reputation was incorporated into the course work.


       1 in 5 leading EMBA programs teach none of the 10 core reputation disciplines

       Just one of the 50 leading EMBAs has ‘Reputation’ as a core module

       Communications & relationship building skills are taught in less than 20% of programs

       Government & policy relations is covered by fewer than 1 in 5 EMBA program

       Governance and ethics is the most popular reputation discipline being taught to business leaders today (no surprise there)


ReputationInc cites McKinsey research that found that one-half of global CEOs say managing external affairs is one of their top-three priorities. Yet one fifth of the world’s top 50 global Executive MBA programs do not offer any training in the core disciplines of reputation management. They report that the missing disciplines include CSR, stakeholder engagement, government relations, communications, and reputation management strategy.


More worrying still, just two of the top 50 business schools surveyed offer a dedicated reputation

module and 80% offer no training on either public affairs or external communications – the two core “hands-on” skills executives need to build reputation. “The results reveal a frightening gap between the reputation skills business leaders must possess in 2012 and the cursory attention they get in the traditional executive MBA.” 


The programs with the highest ranked scores for including reputation are Henley Business School, Essec/Mannheim, and the University of Texas at Austin: McCombs.


I wholeheartedly agree with this statement: “On this evidence, companies and shareholders should be concerned that Executive MBA programmes risk creating ineffective business leaders who leave academia without the skills to actively manage the precious asset of corporate reputation,” said John Mahony, CEO, ReputationInc.  “Reputation management skills are vital for today’s CEO who sets the tone and mood for a corporation and must lead from the front in communicating the purpose of the brand and its value to society. Many managers are not born ready to meet this challenge and will benefit from coaching and confidence building in reputation, something today’s Executive MBA courses fail to adequately provide.”



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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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