IESE Offers New Course for Politicians

Posted by: Alison Damast on December 22, 2010

Politicians and business school students don’t typically mix, but a new program at Spain’s IESE Business School is hoping to change that. This January, IESE (IESE Full-Time MBA Profile) says it is launching an executive education course called the Program for Campaign Management aimed at campaign mangers, political candidates and elected officials. The class is the first of its kind in Europe and will cover topics like strategy, campaign planning and execution, fundraising and budget control, and polling, the school said. It was designed with an eye to the growing complexity of running political campaigns, said Antonio Nuñez, director of the program, in the release.

“The program’s content and approach is absolutely new in Europe because it analyzes campaign management from a strategic point of view,” Nunez said.

The course, which runs from Jan. 17 to Jan. 20 on the school’s Madrid campus, is the fruit of a partnership between IESE and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, which established a joint Advisory Board for Public Management a few years back. The collaboration has allowed IESE to tap Steven Jarding, a lecturer of public policy at the Kennedy School who has managed campaigns or served in senior roles for several U.S. senators, to teach the class. Klaus Schüler, the campaign manager for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, will also be teaching, along with IESE professors.

IESE is one of the first business schools to offer an executive education class targeted at politicians and policy makers. In America, there are several master’s degree programs in elections and campaign management in the U.S., including those at Fordham University and the University of Florida, but none that seem to be offered through business schools.

This type of class seems like a step in the right direction for business schools, especially seeing how politicians have been setting new records on how much money they’re spending on their campaigns. For example, in the U.S., spending in this year’s mid-term election approached $4 billion, about $1 billion more than the previous record set in 2006. Given how much parties and candidates are doling out these days, getting advice from business schools on how to manage these funds doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

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