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Cardiff Metropolitan University

Cardiff School of Management Executive Education research

The brief

Cardiff School of Management (CSM) wanted to better understand the executive education market in terms of current and future trends – to create a strong strategy for their professional and executive education programme and to differentiate it from competitors. They wanted to ensure that their current offer is meeting the needs of professionals, and to explore whether there is scope to incorporate new areas aligned with staff specialisms.

Our experience working in both the professional education and higher education sectors – as well as our efficient approach to conducting reviews of existing research – made Shift an ideal candidate to conduct this research.

The approach

We opted for a multi-method approach, using different methodologies that were best suited to address CSM’s core business and research objectives.

  • Evidence review: We sourced and reviewed 13 publicly available reports, blogs and opinion pieces to assess current market trends.
  • Competitor review: We conducted a review of 10 competitors, exploring both their executive MBA offering and, if available, one short course, to understand how CSM’s offer compares.
  • Interviews: We conducted 5 interviews with individuals interested in taking a professional or executive education programme, and another 5 with those responsible for arranging professional or executive education in their organisations. This allowed us to gain a deeper insight into key trends and hear first-hand about any requirements or considerations when it comes to choosing a course.

The value

We delivered a detailed report to CSM, incorporating findings from all three stages of the research. This provided a comprehensive overview of existing research, which contextualised our primary research and comparison of competitor offers. Our findings were presented to CSM stakeholders and directors. This research provided the evidence to prompt discussions around website useability, cross-collaboration with other departments, and how to move the institution forward into providing for specialised markets.