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传奇CEO韦尔奇正引领MBA革命

John A. Byrne 2016年02月28日

通用电气传奇CEO杰克•韦尔奇创办的韦尔奇管理学院,是目前少数几家采取企业式经营模式,对客户服务极为关注的商学院之一。在MBA市场总体趋平甚至有所下滑的大背景下,这家商学院在线MBA项目的注册人数却迅速增长。奥秘何在?

通用电气传奇CEO杰克•韦尔奇曾经聘请一名猎头顾问,为他的在线管理学院寻找课程主任和教员主任人选。韦尔奇向这名猎头提出了一些不同寻常的要求。

这名猎头是Lochlin Partners公司的迈克尔•柯克曼。他后来回忆道:“杰克不喜欢那种夸夸其谈的学术型人才。”

尽管韦尔奇给出了严格的限制,柯尔曼还是没费多大周章就找到了一群高等教育人才。

柯尔曼表示:“人人都对这份工作很感兴趣,尤其是这个项目还挂着杰克的大名。其中很多人都厌倦了传统学术环境中的官僚主义和不切实际的作风。”

韦尔奇最终聘请杜克企业教育学院前执行董事克雷格•克劳森担任课程主任,聘请原乔治华盛顿大学教授、曾经担任美国海军陆战队营销总监的麦克•泽利夫担任教员主任。

这两项招聘充分反映了一个事实:成立四年的韦尔奇管理学院,是目前少数几家采取企业式经营模式,对客户服务极为关注的商学院之一。这所商学院在管理上紧密结合针对学生的调查结果。这些调查旨在衡量学院教育的影响,以及学生将学院推荐给朋友或同事的可能性。

在韦尔奇管理学院,每名行政或教职人员都深知,学生就是学院的客户。学院核心领导团队的奖金(最高可达全年基本工资的25%)就是根据这些“客户”的满意度发放的。韦尔奇为了监测学员满意度而使用的评价指标“净推荐值”(Net Promoter Scores)是学院管理团队经常讨论的一个指标。甚至连学院开设的12门MBA课程中每一门课程的净推荐值得分,都是管理团队关注的对象。

上个月刚满80岁的韦尔奇指出:“我们运营这所学院的方式就和经营一家公司一样。目前,大多数商学院都和现实中的最佳商业实践脱节了。并非是那些商学院不教这些东西,而是他们不去亲自践行。”

在MBA市场总体趋平甚至有所下滑的大背景下,这种教育理念帮助韦尔奇商学院在线MBA项目的注册人数迅速增长。成立短短四年来,该学院的MBA学员人数就已经超过了1000名,2016年,其注册学员有望达到1400名。要知道,2014年,该学院的注册人数还仅有782人,而今年就已经跃升了35%,达到1057人。

如此快速增长的趋势,显然是受到了一系列因素的共同影响:韦尔奇个人的声誉和金字招牌;这是一种基于韦尔奇名言的务实教育;相对较低的价格(印第安大学Kelley Direct在线MBA项目的费用高达6.6万美元,北卡罗来纳大学MBA@UNC项目的价格更达到了令人咂舌的9.97万美元);以及较高的学员满意度。今年夏天,该学院的净推荐值得分达到了建校以来最高的77分,好于亚马逊的69分、捷蓝航空的68分,与全美净推荐值最高的好市多(79分)已经十分接近。

今年10月,杜克大学富卡商学院测评了其MBA项目的净推荐值得分,它的得分是67分,已经相当不错了,但仍比韦尔奇管理学院低了10分。然而这个分数已经与iPhone持平,仅仅略低于苹果公司本身(70分)。而且它已经远高于哈佛和沃顿商学院的校报针对学员的测评得分——根据这些不是特别严谨的调查显示,哈佛的净推荐值得分仅为41,沃顿比哈佛高出10分,但得分也仅有51分。

那么,韦尔奇管理学院为何会获得如此高的满意度得分呢?对此,韦尔奇表示:“我们正在改变人们的生活,这是一件大事。”

该学院今年针对MBA学生的调查显示,有70%的学生表示,自从就读韦尔奇管理学院在线MBA项目后,他们的薪水增长了10%以上;98%的学员认为这是一笔有价值的投资;27%的学员认为这是他们一生中最有价值的投资;100%的毕业生表示,读完该MBA项目后,他们对自己领导能力的自信程度均有所加强。

韦尔奇管理学院MBA学生的平均年龄为38岁,其中最年轻者为30岁,最年长者为60岁。每个班级的规格都被控制在20人以内。要想获得该项目MBA学位,即读完所有课程,完成所有讨论和项目,最短只需要18个月。

韦尔奇表示,韦尔奇管理学院的学员接纳率约为80%左右。从《美国新闻与世界报告》的数据来看,从这个比率与全美在线MBA项目的“三甲”——印第安那大学(76%)、天普大学(72%)和北卡罗莱纳大学(51%)相差不大。

韦尔奇管理学院CEO迪恩•西佩尔表示:“我们采取的并不是传统方式,而是真正的英才教育,我们想要最好的人才帮助学生获得最大的回报。”

韦尔奇率先承认,他的在线MBA并非适合所有人。

他表示:“我们不能帮你进入华尔街,如果那才是你的目标,你最好去沃顿商学院。我们的学生主要是那些想做得更好的小企业主。他们想学习更有效的管理。我们的任务就是帮助他们实现这个目标。”

前杜克企业教育学院执行董事的克劳森于今年7月加盟韦尔奇管理学院。他也表示:“我们的目标是以一种非常实用的方式改善人们的生活,我们希望学员能立竿见影地看到成效。”

克劳森指出,专心倾听“客户的声音”是非常重要的。学院会要求学员就课程、教职工、学员服务和学校活动提出直率的反馈意见。

克劳森还表示:“学员的反馈非常热心,简直出乎意料,是我在其他任何教育环境中都不曾见过的。我们要确保学生能够学会这些理念,更重要的是要确保他们能够应用这些理念。”

曾经有一阵子,金融课程的满意度得分开始有所下降。

教员主任麦克•泽利夫表示:“我们的金融课程肯定不是那种最能令人兴奋的课程。因此,我们的教职团队决心一定要让会计和金融课程变得令人兴奋起来。”

因此,泽利夫聘请曾在宝洁公司多个财务类岗位上效力近24年的财务高管约翰•肖,他将金融课程打造成了一门重实践、轻理论的课程,从而使这门课程的净推荐值得分由70分左右一跃上升至98分。

韦尔奇管理学院目前共有45名兼职教师和4名全职教授,这一点和传统的教育机构也有很大区别。学校首先会对教职员工进行严格筛选,然后会衡量他们是否有热情挑战和激励学员。所有教职员工均拥有相应专业领域的博士学位或其他最高学位,并且平均拥有20年的专业经验。

另外,该学院的教职团队还制定了一套指导原则和一张价值与行为列表。排名第一的价值是:“慷慨:相信你的学生,专注于学生的成功,提供训练与指导,带着激情与理解去教学,提供坦率的反馈,为学生注入信心。”

另一条指导原则指出,再好的课程内容,也架不住差劲的教学水平。“教职员工要不断重视提高教学水平,促进自身进步。”

当然,在韦尔奇管理学院,教师是没有终身职位的。

韦尔奇严肃地指出:“终身职位是一个最糟糕的发明。”韦尔奇在他的商学院里引入了通用电气式的绩效文化,学员打分最低的10%教职工会被“末位淘汰”。

泽利夫补充道:“我们会表扬最优秀的那20%,对中间的70%进行培训,严格审视排名末位的10%,然后我们会问,这是否是他们的真实水平。我们每季度都会搞一次这个流程,然后会把所有信息反馈给教师们。”

每当泽利夫招聘新教师时,他都会要求他们先做一阵子助教,判断他们是否适合学校。

泽利夫表示:“他们首先要有很好的研究能力,但我真正需要的素质,是要投下身子,积极与班级的学生进行互动,并且使每一次与学生的互动产生最大的价值。你必须要有能把教学内容应用到现实生活的实际经验,并且要按学生期待的方式对他们提供支持。另外,如果你不相信杰克的理念,你就不应该到这里来,这是一个前提条件。”

韦尔奇本人也为学院投入了很大的精力,每个季度他都要与学生举行视频会议,他还经常出现在谈论当前商业事件的视频中,与学生通电子邮件,并且密切关注学院的所有课程。每个工作日,韦尔奇都会收到两篇关于学校信息、申请与注册情况以及净推荐值调查结果的报告。

泽利夫回忆道,在一次向韦尔奇报告工作的会议上,由于净推荐值得分正朝着正确的方向发展,整个管理团队都非常高兴。“我们只有18个差评,我们对结果感到非常兴奋。但杰克想听听那18个人都说了些什么。我说:‘那真的不是实际情况。’杰克却说:‘但这18个人说的话,都是一个让我们改进的机会。毕竟我们没有达到他们的预期。’”

韦尔奇无法掩饰入学人数的增长给他带来的喜悦。他表示,由他担任高级顾问的私募基金Clayton Dubilier & Rice,目前已经向韦尔奇管理学院的20名MBA学生提供了助学金,第二批助学金将于明年1月发放。助学金获得者是这只基金投资的15家企业中具有较高发展潜能的中层经理。

韦尔奇表示:“这充分验证了一家拥有大量MBA毕业生的私募基金喜欢我们的教学成果。事实证明,他们喜爱我们的教职团队,总是要个没够。这简直难以置信。”(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

审校:任文科

When legendary General Electric CEO Jack Welch hired a headhunter to search for new deans of curriculum and faculty for his online management institute, he had an unusual requirement.

“Jack didn’t like pie-in-the-sky academic types,” says Michael Kirkman, a search consultant with Lochlin Partners.

Despite that limitation, Kirkman had little trouble rounding up an impressive portfolio of higher ed candidates.

“Everybody was very interested, particularly with Jack’s name attached to it,” Kirkman says. “A lot of them are just tired of the bureaucracy and garbage that goes on in traditional academic environments.”

Welch ultimately hired Craig Clawson, former managing director of Duke Corporate Education, as dean of curriculum, and Mike Zeliff, a faculty member at George Washington University and a former marketing director for the U.S. Marine Corps, as the dean of faculty.

Both hires go a long way in telegraphing the fact that the four-year-old Jack Welch Management Institute is one of the very few business schools that is run like a business, with a laser-like focus on customer service. The school is closely managed on student surveys that measure the impact of the education as well as the likelihood that a student would recommend the institute to a friend or colleague.

At JWMI, every administrator and faculty member understands that students are customers. In fact, the incentive pay of the core leadership team—up to 25% of their annual base salaries—is based on satisfying those customers. Net Promoter Scores (NPS), the metric Welch is using to monitor student satisfaction, are widely discussed among the leadership team, even down to the scores on the 12 courses that make up the MBA curriculum.

“We’re running this school the way we would run a company,” insists Welch, who turned 80 last month. “Most business schools are disconnected from best business practices. It’s not that they don’t teach them. They just don’t practice them.”

That approach to an online MBA program based on Welch’s leadership beliefs has led to fast growth at a time when the overall MBA market has been flat or in decline. The school has increased its student population to more than 1,000 MBA students in four years and expects to boost enrollment to 1,400 students in 2016. This year MBA enrollment jumped 35% to 1,057 students, from 782 in 2014.

It’s clear that the growth is due to a confluence of factors: Welch’s reputation and brand; a pragmatic education based on Welch’s well-known dictums; the relatively low $39,000 price of the program (Indiana University’s Kelley Direct program costs $66,000, while the University of North Carolina’s MBA@UNC is priced at $99,700); and high levels of student satisfaction. The institute’s Net Promoter Score this summer reached a record 77, better than Amazon (69) or JetBlue (68) and nearly as high as America’s NPS leader, Costco (79).

When Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business measured the NPS of its MBA program in October, the school found that it hit an impressive 67, 10 points lower than the Welch Institute. Still, a 67 is on par with the iPhone (67) and just below Apple itself (70). It’s also much better than surveys done by the business school student newspapers at both Harvard and Wharton. In those unscientific polls, Harvard Business School had an NPS of 41, while Wharton was 10 points higher at 51.

The reason for the high scores? “We are changing lives and that is a big deal,” says Welch.

The institute’s survey of this year’s graduates, for example, found that 70% said they had received a promotion or double-digit raise since the start of the program; 98% agreed that the MBA program was a valuable investment; and 27% said it was the best investment they ever made. All 100% of the graduates agreed that their confidence as a leader had grown as a result of the program.

The average age of a Welch student is 38, though they range from 30 to 60. Each class size is limited to 20 students. The degree—with all classes, discussions and projects done online—can be completed in a minimum of 18 months.

Welch says the acceptance rate for applicants to the program is about 80%—not that much different than the 76% rate at Indiana University, the 72% rate at Temple University, or the 51% rate at UNC, the three top-rated online MBAs by U.S. News & World Report.

“We are not wed to an old way,” says Dean Sippel, CEO of the Jack Welch Institute. “It is a true meritocracy. We want the best people who can deliver the best student outcomes.”

Welch is the first to admit that his online MBA is not for everyone.

“We’re not going to help you on Wall Street,” he concedes. “If you want that, go to Wharton! Our students are primarily owners of small companies who want to do better. They want to learn to manage more effectively. We help them do that.”

Clawson, who joined the institute in late July from Duke Corporate Education, where he was managing director, agrees. “We really are driven to improving lives in a very practical way,” he says. “We want people to see results right away.”

Clawson says it’s critical to listen intently to “the voice of the customer.” Students are asked for their candid feedback on every aspect of the curriculum, the courses, the faculty, student services and events.

“The student feedback piece is just intense and incredible, much more so than I have experienced in other educational environments,” says Clawson. “We make sure people learn the concepts and, more importantly, can apply the concepts.”

Consider what happened with the institute’s core course in finance when the satisfaction scores began to lag.

“Our finance course was just not the most exciting course you could take,” says Mike Zeliff, dean of faculty. “The faculty would say you are only going to make accounting and finance so exciting.”

So Zeliff recruited John Shaw, a finance executive who had spent nearly 24 years with Procter & Gamble in various financial roles. Shaw made the course more applied than theoretical and the NPS scores climbed from the low 70s to a high of 98.

Teaching at an institute where there are 45 adjunct teachers and four full-time profs is nothing like traditional academia. Faculty are screened and then measured for their passion to engage, challenge and excite students. They hold a PhD or terminal degree in their field of expertise and have, on average, 20 years of professional experience.

It’s telling, perhaps, that the school’s faculty drafted its own guiding principles and a list of values and behaviors. The No. 1 value is “Generosity: Believe in our students. Focus on student success. Coach and mentor. Engage with compassion and understanding. Offer candid feedback. Instill confidence.”

And one of the guiding principles notes that great course content will not overcome poor instruction. “Faculty relentlessly focus on superior instruction and continuous improvement,” it says.

There is, of course, no tenure.

“Tenure is the worst invention,” deadpans Welch, who deploys a GE-like performance culture that weeds out the bottom 10% of the faculty who fail to get the best scores from students.

“We celebrate the top 20%,” adds Zeliff. “We coach around the 70% and take a hard look at the bottom 10% and ask whether this is the right spot for them. We do that every quarter. and we send all that information to the professors.”

When Zeliff hires in new faculty, he asks them to first spend time as a teaching assistant to judge the fit between them and the school.

“They need to be up on the research, but what I really need them to be is engaged and engaging in the classroom and making the most of every interaction with the students,” Zeliff says. “You have to have the practical experience to bring the teaching to life and the willingness to support students the way we expect. And if you don’t believe in Jack, you shouldn’t be here. That is just a given.”

Welch is deeply engaged in the enterprise. He hosts quarterly videoconferences with students, pops up in videos about current business events, interacts with students via email, and is all over the program’s curriculum. Every work day, Welch receives two reports on leads, applicants, and enrollments, as well as the NPS survey results.

At one briefing with Welch, recalls Zeliff, the NPS numbers were going in the right direction and the team was overjoyed with the results. “We had only 18 detractors, and we were pretty excited by the result,” he says. “Jack wanted to hear about those 18. I said, ‘That’s not really the story,’ and he said, ‘But every one of those stories is an opportunity to get better. We didn’t fulfill their expectations.'”

Welch, meantime, cannot conceal his delight at the institute’s acceptance and growth. He notes that Clayton Dubilier & Rice, the private equity firm where he serves as a senior advisor, is now funding 20 students in his MBA program, with a second cohort to start in January. The students are high potential middle managers from 15 companies in CDR’s portfolio.

“The test was whether a PE firm with a bunch of MBAs love the result,” says Welch. “Well, they love our faculty, and they can’t get enough of it. It’s unbelievable.”

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