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Expanding Executive Education Internationally

The Executive Development Center concluded another successful year with two international university partners completing custom residential programs on the Santa Clara University campus.

For the last sixty years the Executive Development Center (EDC) at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business has been providing specialized programs for businesses, universities and organizations around the world. With topics ranging from innovation and entrepreneurship to creating high performing teams and managing a global footprint, the EDC offers an exceptional immersion into Silicon Valley for these partners.

This summer the EDC completed its 17th year in partnership with the University of St. Gallen, a top university in Switzerland and Europe. Each year, 25 - 35 St. Gallen’s Executive MBA students participate in the two-week residential program here in Silicon Valley as an international component of their degree. The program not only helps participants develop a thorough understanding of the unique and inspiring entrepreneurial culture in Silicon Valley but offers a chance to explore the ecosystem that supports it. This program allows students to learn from SCU faculty, visit Silicon Valley companies and local start-ups, and provides an opportunity to meet investors and entrepreneurs here in the Valley.

What’s even better is that participants put their learning into practice by developing business plans that are pitched to, and critiqued by, a panel of investors and entrepreneurs on the final day of the program. Since the EDC launched this partnership with St. Gallen in 2001, hundreds of St. Gallen Executive MBA students from Switzerland, Germany, and other European countries have experienced the dynamism and uniqueness of Silicon Valley directly, returning to Europe with new perspectives and insights into what makes Silicon Valley and SCU distinctively different.

“Being able to provide these types of rich learning experiences to students around the globe is one of the things that make our Executive Development Center truly unique in the industry,” said Dennis Lanham, executive director of the EDC. “In this way, our center is bringing Silicon Valley to the world.”

St. Gallen is not the only European university that the EDC has partnered with. Since 2012, ESADE, the globally recognized Jesuit university in Spain, has also been benefiting from the EDC’s programs. Different from St. Gallen, ESADE receives 3 one-week programs every year for their Executive Masters in Digital Business and in Marketing and Sales. Through faculty presentations and discussions with Silicon Valley industry experts, students take a deep dive into timely digital marketing topics like digital disruption, data science, digital marketing, and the new on-demand economy. This extremely popular program brings more than 100 executive master-level students to SCU annually.

"The real experience provided by people in real business is one of the key assets of the Santa Clara executive business programs," wrote a student of the 2017 summer ESADE cohort.

Another particularly benefited from the program saying it has “the best teachers in marketing in an incredible environment that helps learning."

Aside from these universities in Switzerland and Spain, the Executive Development Center has similar partnerships with major universities and governmental organizations in Japan, Germany, Italy and China, and will soon be adding several more to its portfolio. The EDC also provides customized learning solutions for businesses across industries. Businesses are spending more on learning and development today and the EDC is positioning itself to take full advantage of that.  

“These types of partnerships are only one arm of our center, but they represent a key growth opportunity for us,” said Lanham. “We hope to establish an even larger global footprint by launching more programs like this in the future.”

In addition to these customized programs, the Executive Development Center also offers a new Executive Marketing Certificate in Productizing Innovation, a certification in equity compensation through the Certified Equity Professional Institute (CEPI), a Certificate of Advanced Accounting Proficiency program (CAAP), and a CFP® Certification in Financial Planning. To learn more about all of the programs that are offered by the EDC, contact Jan Sola at or visit the website at


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