• Flexible-learning MBAs invaluable for management
• Shift from classroom to workplace training

Businesses will need to embrace flexible learning for their staff so they can train on the job if they wish to survive the economically challenging times ahead, according to executives at The Talent Management Summit 2012 – Next Generation of Leaders.

The Summit, organised by Economist conferences and sponsored by the Open University Business School on 14th June, brought together human resources experts from access a range of sectors to discuss how businesses can ensure the right executive talent is in place to survive the current downturn.

A range of panels focusing on re-positioning HR, strategic workforce planning and the critical role of executives found that on-going, flexible training can play a key role in ensuring top management learns how to provide the leadership necessary for a business to excel in challenging times.

Rebecca Taylor, Dean of The Open University Business School, said: “Investment in business education has never been more vital. The higher education sector is seeing a major shift from traditional, classroom-based programmes to programmes that integrate management learning into the workplace.

“Businesses are looking for immediate impact and our practice-based learning model means MBA students take their new skills straight into the workplace. Our students really value doing an MBA with the OU because they are able to combine work and study – which is different than the MBA offering from some other business schools.

Other topics explored at the Summit included unlocking female leadership potential, leadership styles in new markets and the shortage of brokering skills in the current business environment. We believe this is the most effective method of equipping our students with the practical knowledge they need to succeed in the modern workplace.”

Human resources departments were encouraged in one session to be able to articulate credibly the people capabilities they need to build a sustainable and competitive business.

The Summit featured submissions from talented executives such as the Richard Evans, the CEO of PepsiCo UK & Ireland; Tanith Dodge, Director of HR, Marks & Spencer; Carole Jones, Director for Global HR Strategy, Aviva; Burnet Tucker, Chief Learning Officer, Bank of America; and Liane Hornsey, Vice President, People Operations, Google, among others.

The Open University Business School is one of the 56 elite triple-accredited business schools worldwide (December 2011).The MBA was rated 4th in the UK and 9th in the world by The Economist (2010) and has resulted in 22,300 successful MBAs. It has the largest university in the UK and its Business School is the largest in Europe.