Columbia launches its first online leadership programme - Mentora Institute

Columbia launches its first online leadership programme

This article was originally published in Financial Times.

New York business school becomes one of the first Ivy Leagues to launch online-only programmes

Columbia Business School professor Hitendra Wadhwa is to launch the school’s first online  executive programme later this month, intended for both individual and corporate users. All  the top US business schools, most notably the Wharton school at the University of  Pennsylvania and the Darden school at the University of Virginia, are investigating ways of  teaching programmes online in order to reach a wider audience.

The Columbia programme is priced at between $1,000 and $2,000, depending on the number  of modules studied, which is considerably less than the $1,000 a day charged for traditional  executive courses – not to mention, the travel and accommodation costs. “We do think this  medium and price point will increase the open enrolment market,” says Prof Wadhwa.

However the programme will have to compete with free-to-view programmes from schools  such as Wharton and Darden, often known as Moocs – massively open online courses.

Columbia’s Personal Leadership Online programme, which it is running in conjunction with  Prof Wadhwa’s Institute for Personal Leadership, will launch in three weeks and in two  versions – the essentials version and the longer executive version. The course will run for 10  to 12 weeks and will have a minimum of 24 modules, each with 30 minutes or more of video  and additional course material to enable the participants to integrate the teaching into their  own circumstances.

Prof Wadhwa, who has also been appointed as Columbia Business School’s director of e learning, says that video has given him the freedom to develop course material for a wider  audience: once the core courses are completed individuals can select additional material they  think would be useful to them.

The video courses, which have been developed with a former BBC television executive, will  also be used in Columbia’s Executive MBA and MBA classes. This includes using some of  the courses as a prequel to the classes themselves. “One of the real challenges for me has  been to get everything done in the class,” explains Prof Wadhwa.

He also envisages adapting the format to teach personal leadership to students on other  programmes at Columbia University – law or engineering students, for example. And he plans  to sell the modules to other education institutions to integrate in their own teaching,  especially outside the US.

This article was originally published in Financial Times.