The four-day program had a full class—more than 20 participants—in October, and Rice business school leaders said its success means the university’s first open-enrollment, off-campus program will return to The Woodlands this year.
“We received extremely positive feedback after last year’s first run of the program,” said Zoran Perunovic, the director of executive education at the business school.
Executive education is different from continuing education because although the programs are not for credit, they are specifically for professionals in advanced management or executive positions, Perunovic said. Fostering an environment such as in these courses where experts can exchange ideas is necessary for long-term workforce development, Perunovic said.
“It’s a peer-based learning. ... You’re bringing people from different industries, different career paths, but [the] same level of seniority,” he said.
The program’s The Woodlands session included executives from fields such as real estate, health care, information technology, and the petrochemical and oil and gas industries.
The company representation was different than in typical Rice programs because it drew from more The Woodlands-based businesses, said Brent Smith, the senior associate dean for executive education and instructor of the program.
Participants can remain connected through networking and through other Rice functions to act as resources for each other, the administrators said.“If executive education works right, the network that is built ... we keep them part of our larger Rice intellectual community,” said Michael Koenig, the associate dean for innovation initiatives and executive director of executive education.
The program will return to the former Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. building in Hughes Landing, and executive education program participants will receive a Rice University certificate. Future Rice program expansions are possible in the community if there is interest in them, Koenig said.
“Does The Woodlands community feel strong enough to help us understand how big that market is? ... We hope that it will have a long-term opportunity and impact there,” he said.