Three Canadian business schools scored solidly in the Financial Times ranking of Top-50 executive education programs in the world, released this week, but bragging rights go to the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management for topping the global chart in several sub-categories of management training.
The annual FT survey, based on client responses and data from individual schools, ranked Rotman first in the world for the quality of faculty teaching and for the acquisition of new skills by participants (and third in meeting their personal and professional expectations) in so-called open enrolment courses that cover specific topics such as leadership.
"With the growth of the school and the increased faculty complement, we are in a position to do so much more," says Michele Milan, managing director of Rotman's executive programs, citing reasons for the school's strong showing.
Traditionally, Rotman focused on customized training for companies but has expanded its menu of open enrolment programs in recent years. Ms. Milan expects open enrolment programs to account for half of the school's executive education offerings by the end of this year.
To earn a place on the Top-50 list, schools have to rank among the Top 70 global schools that offer both open enrolment courses and customized management training.
By that yardstick, three Canadian schools made the overall list – the University of Western Ontario's Ivey School of Business, the top Canadian school in 23rd spot, followed by Rotman (25) and York University's Schulich School of Business (36). Queen's University School of Business was dropped from the overall list this year because it did not make the list of Top-70 customized programs, in part due to low survey response rates.
Among Top-70 schools offering customized training, Ivey led the Canadian contingent in the 33rd spot, ahead of York (37) and Rotman (46).
In the list of top schools with open enrolment programs, Rotman placed 15th globally but first among Canadian schools that included Ivey (22), Queen's (24), Schulich (tied for 45th ) and Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia (51), which climbed 10 spots this year after making the list for the first time in 2012.
Listening closely to the client is one factor in Sauder's rise in the rankings, according to Bruce Wiesner, associate dean of executive programs. "We have been focusing on what the clients really say about the value of the programs and specifically what they say when they have come back to the workplace," he says. Among recent changes, the school has strengthened links between faculty members and the business community and increased opportunities for classroom participants to work on their own company's real-world problems.
"By increasing our ranking [in open enrolment], we have been able to put ourselves on the map as the first business school outside Toronto that can legitimately compete on a worldwide basis," says Mr. Wiesner, adding that Sauder has a three-year plan to make the FT's Top-70 global programs offering customized management education.
Beyond the Canadian showing, the FT survey illustrates the growing global profile of business education providers. Schools from South Korea, Singapore, Colombia and Nigeria were among those on the Top-70 list of open enrolment programs, while the top provider of customized programs is Duke Corporate Education, which has partner schools in the United Kingdom and India.