DURHAM — There’s a new king in executive education programs, according to The Financial Times of London.

It’s Duke University.

Duke is the first business school from outside the Ivy League to finish first in the FT’s annual rankings, the newspaper announced today.

Duke toppled Columbia University, which had held the top spot each of the past four years.

The FT cited Duke’s Corporate Education program as one of the reasons for its ranking. Duke “has pioneered these increasingly popular customized programmes, often designed to help companies change strategy,” wrote Della Bradshaw in the FT report.

Bradshaw pointed out that “Duke has climbed steadily up the rankings from seventh place in 2000” in the non-degree programs that are open to participants from any company and those designed for one employer.
Harvard Business School remained first in the Advanced Management Programme for the third straight year. FT labeled Harvard’s offering as “arguably the most prestigious business school programme in the world.”

FT has compiled the executive education rankings for six years. The lists are “largely based on the opinion of course participants on issues such as course design, teaching and value for money,” The FT said.

However, business was not good for the executive programs in 2003 — perhaps a reflection of the dour economy. The FT said enrollments dropped as much as 25 percent.

Financial Times: www.ft.com