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2024 Trends: Executive Education Talent & the New World of Work

We’re excited to unveil our latest research report, “University Executive Education Talent and the New World of Work,” meticulously crafted by Jennifer (Jenny) Stine and Kelly Bean. This study dives into pivotal trends impacting talent management in executive education amid shifting workplace dynamics.

Key Trends to Watch

  1. Quitting and Disengagement
  2. Demographic and Generational Change
  3. Motivation & Burnout
  4. Automation & Transformation

The Opportunity for Executive Education

This research underscores the strategic advantage of purpose in attracting talent within the executive education realm.

By comparison with talent challenges that companies are facing, university executive education units are in a good position. Not only are they attending to needs like flex schedules and career growth, but they are strongly positioned by virtue of being in educational and mission-focused institutions. Jenny emphasizes:

"From a recruiting perspective, it was interesting how well positioned universities are given their purpose motive. At the same time to retain top talent, managers need to be proactive about career growth and ongoing learning, even if it doesn’t involve a change in role."

Challenges and Focus

That said, there are always opportunities to learn, grow, and get better. Developing mid-career talent for example, is a real pain point for most of the organizations we spoke with — it deserves more focus and attention.

Top Recommendations for Executive Education Leaders

The authors propose three strategic recommendations for leaders in executive education:

  • Celebrate Achievements: Develop a culture that acknowledges both individual and team successes.
  • Cultivate Continuous Learning: Establish an environment that encourages ongoing learning and collaboration.
  • Learning in the Flow of Work: Incorporate practical learning opportunities into everyday tasks.

Other considerations: Cross-Sector Mobility 

In this research, we also featured numerous stories that highlight the rich career and learning opportunities that working across university executive education and corporate learning present. Executive education units develop incredible talent, and there are opportunities to grow within the university space, and beyond.
"When I presented our research at a recent UNICON conference, the audience was enthusiastic about reframing 'career paths' as 'growth journeys' or 'experience paths'.” This is a great way to think about how to grow and develop people in our executive education organizations."
Kelly Bean, UNICON
Kelly Bean
Research Co-Author
"As an industry we might consider more support for careers that cross between university executive education and corporate learning, leadership and development."

Jennifer Stine UNICON
Jenny Stine
Research Co-Author

Executive Education and Beyond: About the Authors

As two professionals who have developed and grown their own careers in executive education, Kelly and Jenny’s own paths also reflect a rich career in executive education and the corporate world:

About Kelly

Kelly Bean, MHR is the founder of Heron Strategy Partners, a collaborative of educators, thought leaders, coaches, and practitioners dedicated to individual and organizational growth at all levels. Kelly is a nationally recognized expert in leadership development who counts leading ventures within corporations and higher education institutions as the incubator for her one constant drive — her passion for developing others, their teams, and their organizations to grow forward.

Kelly teaches and regularly consults in personal leadership development, team effectiveness, organizational development, strategy formulation and execution, and talent management. She is certified in several assessment tools, including the Korn Ferry 360, the Hogan, and The Birkman Method, and is pursuing her ACC credential from the International Coaching Federation.

Kelly has held Dean and CEO positions at four top global business schools, leading non-degree executive education at UVA Darden, UCLA Anderson, WashU Olin, and WashU at Brookings and Emory. Kelly continues to engage with the University-based executive education community through facilitation, strategic planning, and coaching at Rutgers, Miami Herbert, Oklahoma Price, Quinnipiac, NYIT, Florida State, Bentley, and George Mason.

She is the past chair of the board of UNICON, board emeritus, and the founder of the UNICON Leadership Academy. She previously served on the board of ASCENT, an organization focused on the leadership development of multicultural women. Kelly was recently elected as an independent director at Kepner-Tregoe and is actively involved in several EdTech firms serving the learning industry’s skilling and workforce development segments.

About Jenny

Jennifer (Jenny) Stine, Ph.D. is Co-Founder and Vice President of the Academic Leadership Group, providing consulting, coaching, and research services that enable higher education leaders and companies to excel in today’s challenging environment. She is an instructor at Harvard Extension School, where she teaches master’s-level courses in organizational behavior and people-focused organizations.

Jenny has over a decade of experience leading and growing professional and executive education offices at MIT and Harvard. She was the founding Executive Director of the MIT Professional Education Office and also the Managing Director of Professional Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she oversaw a portfolio of programs that supported educators from pre-K to university presidents. Her work in learning also crosses into the corporate world, where she worked for 10 years at Accenture’s global learning and talent development organization to support university-corporate partnerships. Her three degrees are all from Stanford, and in addition to work at Harvard and MIT, she worked at Caltech.

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We invite members to engage with these insights, continue the conversation in our Online Learning Community, and contribute to shaping the future landscape of executive education..