Educational Exchange - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Educational Exchange
Sales organizations benefit from symbiotic relationships between academic and corporate training partners.


Pharmaceutical Executive



Deborah Stewart
Conversely, faculty members at USP approach pharma companies with the opportunity to participate in large-scale studies, such as one currently underway with 10 large pharma companies that explores the cost and time involved with bringing a new drug to market. In exchange for their participation, companies will share in the data, efficiency discoveries, and recommendations of the research. The university generates publishable material, research data, and a valuable relationship with industry leaders. In these types of relationships, Harold Glass, director of USP's Executive MBA Program, emphasizes that all parties should be in agreement about the central focus of the study as well as the structure and presentation of the resulting analysis. "The most important aspect of a successful relationship is not complicated," he says, "but simple doesn't mean easy. Each side has to understand what is expected, when it is expected, and who is to do what."

Another type of valuable partnership can be found in affiliating with the existing programs of a chosen educational institution. For example, St. Catherine's Center for Sales Innovation partners with companies to improve sales management by enhancing efficiency in recruitment, selection, acquisition, training, leadership development, and retention of performance-ready, effective and ethical business leaders. Partner companies have the opportunity to participate in industry consortia through which they connect with students, faculty, and alumnae. This is facilitated through multiple channels, including industry executive and operational boards, sales forums, classroom activities, mentoring programs, internships, career fairs, and alumnae groups. St. Catherine's Leadership Women in Sales program is one of the college's continuing education offerings, which supports the advancement of women and aims to develop and refine students' leadership skills.

These connections provide multiple opportunities for partner companies to gain valuable information and increase the effectiveness of their employees, while providing St. Catherine's with important information necessary to sharpen its sales curriculum to continue to deliver content that meets the business needs of the industry. "Factors for successful partnerships include shared values, a strong commitment to leadership development, and connections at the operational level and throughout various levels of both organizations," says Deborah Stewart, medical sales program manager for the Center for Sales Innovation.

Technology Transfer In their efforts to prepare students to be effective Information Age employees, colleges and universities often investigate the cutting edge technological innovations. This benefits the companies working with them to train their employees. Whether it's new systems for business process management or the most recent advances in online learning environments, universities can serve as the proving ground before industry adopts technological innovations. Companies' virtual exploration of emerging technological systems helps them make informed investment decisions based on extensive research—and without significant cost.

Partnerships and Accreditation Corporation-education partnerships offer a unique benefit when employee participants earn college credit for corporate training programs. Employees who complete training in these types of programs gain credibility among peers and clients alike. Often, reviewed courses may be applied toward advanced degrees, such as a master's, which can help with career advancement down the line.

Several organizations help companies gain credit for their corporate educational programs. One such example is the American Council on Education (ACE), the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions. Groups or organizations that offer training programs seek the expertise of the ACE's College Credit Recommendation Service (CREDIT) to add the value of college credit recommendations as an incentive for their students. Organizations must complete a Quality Assurance Questionnaire that describes the systems being used to develop and administer the courses. Specific information about the types of courses to be reviewed must also be provided, including the course objectives, learning outcomes, methods of instruction, and any prerequisite courses. ACE CREDIT then selects a team—college faculty who teach courses in the areas covered by the corporate educational program—to review the course content. If it is equivalent to that of similar courses offered by higher education institutions, college credit recommendations are made. These credit recommendations are then available via ACE transcripts to colleges and universities that frequently accept them as transfer credit toward a student's degree program. When a company is looking to choose an academic partner, Jo Ann Robinson of the ACE recommends, "Once the need is identified, corporations should find an educational partner that will be appropriate to meet the needs and goals of the program."


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