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KASAC: A New Paradigm for Executive Education

Executive White Paper
Med Jones
International Institute of Management
January 2, 2005

Executive Summary:

Most of the current global academic and accreditation systems of management education require a major update in content, delivery and evaluation methods. Although the need to establish a set of minimum educational standards is justified, in our experience the current accreditation systems are highly bureaucratic, outdated, anti-competitive and inhibit innovation and advancement.

The Institute's research revealed that spending two to three years in a traditional MBA program is becoming more costly and less relevant. The Institute proposes a new business and management education paradigm that is experiential, accelerated, and modular. It provides students with a better return on their investment in time, effort and money, at the same time providing the economy with more effective managers. The new education model is designed for professional and organization development as an alternative to full-time academic MBA degrees.

Management Education Model

The main goal of the Institute education paradigm is to bring the world of business education closer to the world of business management. This is achieved by providing new executive-driven education as opposed to the traditional teacher-driven education. This is a major departure from traditional academic offers in educational focus, content and delivery. The new executive education model makes the following critical shifts:

  • From theoretical education to experiential education
  • From passive (listening) to active (doing)
  • From teacher-driven learning to student-driven learning
  • From generic education to customized training
  • From a teaching process to an advisory process
  • From memorizing to brainstorming
  • From question-based exams to project-based assessment
  • From passing the tests to lifelong learning
  • From knowledge transfer to knowledge creation
  • From competitive learning to collaborative learning

KASAC Development and Evaluation Model

The Institute developed a five-dimensional model for executive education and evaluation called KASAC. KASAC is an acronym for Knowledge, Analysis, Synthesis, Application and Communication. This model is used as the basis for the Institute executive education, coaching and evaluation process. For a CEO to succeed in today's complex business environment, s/he should demonstrate mastery in all five areas:

  • Understanding of the subject-matter.
  • Understanding of the quality of the managerial decision-making process.
  • Understanding of the context, text, subtext of business reports.

2. Analysis:

  • Ability to identify opportunities and diagnose challenges.
  • Ability to identify critical success factors and potential pitfalls.
  • Ability to design sound evaluation criteria for decision making
  • Ability to uncover driving forces, structure, relationships, dependencies, and situation variables

3. Synthesis:

  • Ability to design an effective strategy/solution, taking into consideration the alignment of external and internal forces
  • Solution innovativeness and thinking outside the box
  • Solution feasibility (practicability)

4. Application:

  • Ability to prioritize between strategic and tactical needs
  • Ability to design/use measurement and control systems
  • Maturity of the project management plan (including time, resources, budget, quality, risks, change, communication, procurement)

5. Communication:

  • Ability to communicate and present to the stakeholders at each level (articulation of management ideas, professional documentation, business case/report writing and presentation)
  • Leadership (ability to listen, learn, persuade, motivate and win the support of the stakeholders)

Education Emphasis

What is Important?

  • Critical thinking and understanding of case studies and applied management projects
  • Attention to details in analysis and recommendations
  • Ability to articulate ideas, create proposals and support adopted positions
  • Maintaining up to date knowledge on key industry changes

What is Less Important?

  • Memorizing theories to pass exams

How Management Training Programs Compare to MBA Programs?

Although some of the general body-of-knowledge of the Institute's management education program might be shared with leading MBA programs, all the courses and projects have a customized and experiential-learning orientation rather than generic and theoretical-learning orientation.

Management education programs vary substantially in learning content, delivery and evaluation methods. There are several leading Institutes offering management courses that are backed by well-respected resources, however, the proposed Executive Education programs differ from traditional academic MBA programs in the following aspects:

  • "Executive-driven" management education model as opposed to the traditional "Teacher-driven" education model.

  • The Institute's researchers have reviewed thousands of  practical ideas from the world's best management minds. Our management education content is success-oriented. The Institute researchers study the works of the most successful companies, managers and influential management thinkers to identify their best practices, critical success factors and learned lessons. Researched CEOs include names such asSteve Jobs, Jack Welch, Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates. The courses designed to provide experiential analysis from leading companies such asAT&T, IBM, McDonald's, Microsoft, Sony,Exxon Mobil, Boeing and Toyota.The researchers also conduct a critical analysis of the applications and limitations of popular management practices, models and frameworks, including the works of the world s leading management gurus, such as Adams, Drucker, Hamel, Kanter, and Maslow. The researchers then incorporate findings into the management education program to provide students with the latest and most advanced thinking.

  • The education emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving and innovation far more than memorization.

  • Learning assessments are project-based vs. quiz-based

  • There maybe a minor common body of knowledge but there is no fixed body of knowledge due to the continuously changing business environment (technologies, markets and organizations). Courses and projects address up-to-date industry challenges and opportunities.

  • The Institute advisors will save participant s time and effort by focusing on best practices and providing sample deliverables, checklists, decision models, templates and resources.

How Does The Course Delivery Work?

  • Participants have an advisor as opposed to a teacher. The advisor's role is to help facilitate the participant's professional learning and development. In part, the advisor serves as a guide, coach or mentor. Sometimes the advisor will validate participants management thinking and sometimes s/he will act as an opposition party who will critique, question and debate their management decisions. In either case, this is done to help the participants test and develop their critical thinking, decision-making methods and communication skills.

  • All courses are a combination of seminars and experiential workshops. They provide a quick summary of best practices and project work with emphasis on critical thinking, and managerial decision-making and implementation.

  • There are no lecture notes, content to memorize or Q&A tests. Instead, participants are assigned a real-world application project such as developing a new strategy or a business plan for a company of participants' choice. They maybe assisted with templates and decision-making checklists.

Course Delivery Method

  1. Customization Request: Agreeing with the advisor on the learning focus, course expectations, type of industry/company and assessment project

  2. Reading Assignment: Understanding essential concepts (Knowledge transfer)

  3. Case-study Assignment: Management issues analysis (Learn by example)

  4. Project Assignment: Real-world best practices application (Knowledge creation)

  5. Advisor Feedback: Reviewing participant's work and providing improvement advice (Development)

How Long Does It Take?

Each course takes 1-4 weeks to complete. A General Management program can take up to 6 months. The time variation depends on the participant s knowledge and experience.

Why is There a Substantial Difference in Learning Time?

  • Executive education is based on the executive action-learning (EAL)* model. It is focused on management application rather than academic theory; therefore, it is more efficient, and takes less time to deliver.

  • Executive education is targeted towards professionals who already have professional business experience. Having a professional context makes learning faster and more effective

  • Executive education encourages the use of past work experience in course case studies and project assignments, thus utilizing past effort for better and quicker understanding of the subject

  • The advisors are seasoned management consultants who provide or guide the candidates to time-saving resources such as checklists, templates and specialized research/work portals

White Paper Notes:

  • executive action-learning (EAL) is a second generation model of the famous "Action Learning" form of learning by doing pioneered by Professor Reg. Revans about 50 years ago.

  • This paper does not address undergraduate management education, although several of its recommendations may also apply to undergraduate programs, the paper mainly addresses  executive education.

About the Author

Med Jones is the president of the International Institute of Management, a best practices education and consulting organization. For more information about the Institute, please visit Executive Education

What are Executive  White Papers?
Executive white papers provide businesses and government leaders with a list of questions, terminology and discussion points that can be used to address emerging challenges and opportunities. Unlike academic papers, white papers are succinct experiential work documents designed for problem solving and communication by the leadership team. Depending on the scope of the paper, the document structure may include three to five sections: 1). A statement of the problem or opportunity 2). Analysis of root causes and underlying forces 3). Proposed solutions and 4). A checklist of best practices for solution implementation and change management 5). Notes and resources.

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