‘Dramatic growth rates’ for online exec-ed courses: industry expert

While there are many online learning providers in the market, it pays to choose one that tests knowledge retention and keeps learners’ engaged and involved.

By Yasmin Ahmad Kamil 

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Time-strapped professionals looking for ways to upskill to keep up with the demands of the workplace may find that executive education — or exec-ed courses — can offer them some respite. These graduate-level courses are helpful for those who want something more targeted for their professional development.

Esme Learning co-founder and CEO David Shrier said the world is grappling with the implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He added that more professionals and executives recognise that they need to acquire new skills on cutting-edge tech topics to remain competitive in the age of artificial intelligence (AI).


“We are seeing online executive education enjoying dramatic growth rates as more and more people seek to gain an advantage,” he told U2B in an email interview.

Recent data from LinkedIn also shows that short-form courses are a popular choice for time-strapped executives who need a refresh in their industry, or want to pivot to a completely new role, said Shrier. 

“According to their report, 78% of global employers say MBA degrees need to be reinvented to become more relevant for the future, and many say that ‘short bursts’ of learning and microcredentials are flexible and valuable in meeting career development needs,” he said.

Esme Learning supports working professionals’ career growth 

Shrier is a leading AI futurist who has driven nine billion US dollars worth of technology initiatives for Fortune 1000 companies and private equity. 

He currently holds an appointment as Professor of Practice (AI and Innovation) at Imperial College Business School, and he is a former MIT New Ventures Officer and lecturer at the MIT Media Lab.

Esme Learning delivers online executive education in partnership with leading universities. 

Esme Learning
“People, process, and technology drive our top-ranked completion rates,” notes Esme Learning co-founder and CEO David Shrier. Source: Esme Learning

The company recently announced that it has partnered Cambridge Judge Business School to launch two inaugural six-week online executive education programmes in startup funding and RegTech, which start in October 2021.

These programmes are produced in direct collaboration with Cambridge Judge faculty and staff, and feature high-quality video instruction; interactive, timely media such as podcasts and articles; and correlating formative assessments that test knowledge retention.

“The RegTech programme will provide critical insights and hands-on tools for working professionals in government and industry to address an increasingly complex regulatory environment,” he said. 

“The Startup Funding programme goes beyond what first-time entrepreneurs to seasoned founders must understand when raising capital – especially at a venture’s earliest funding stages.”

Despite being an online course, participants can expect to gain insights from a robust network of industry thought leaders who will join various modules with their expertise on startup funding and RegTech industries’ most pressing topics. 


Learners also have opportunities to immediately apply programme knowledge via live simulations and small group exercises that emulate work scenarios. 

“We use an AI coach that intelligently analyses small group peer interactions and suggests individual feedback per learner to ensure productive and rewarding group collaboration,” said Shrier.

Those who doubt the value of online learning may be comforted by the fact that Esme Learning’s AI coaching platform has been shown in peer-reviewed, National Science Foundation-funded studies to improve learner performance by a third above conventional “concierge learning” companies.

“We employ more than two dozen techniques from cognitive science in our instructional design to optimise learner engagement and outcomes. Universities have begun to recognise us as the innovation partner as we continue to integrate new technologies and techniques into our offerings on an ongoing basis,” explained Shrier.

They also boast of an industry-leading pass rate of 97% — bolstered, in part, by their team of coaches and tutors who work with their students and guide them every step of the journey.