Open enrolment programmes are developed entirely by a business school. Participants rely on the business school to know the skills that the market demands and to develop a course of training that meets that need. In other words, you don’t have to worry if you don’t know what you don’t know – there’s a ready-made solution that will fill your knowledge gaps. 

On the other hand, as the name implies, customized programmes are bespoke training solutions that a business school designs in collaboration with senior leaders of a company. A group of employees from the same company take part in the programmer as a cohort, and the curriculum is tailored to their group or organizational needs.

Individual Development vs. Business Impact

Because they enroll one participant at a time, from any company or industry, open programs focus on the personal growth of participants. The company as a whole may not always benefit from one-time ad hoc training for individual employees. This is when a company’s HR director or Chief Learning Officer might look to customized programmes, in order to foster the collective advancement and evolution of an entire organizational culture and its capacities, and perhaps to serve as a catalyst for organizational change and transformation. 

Expansive Networking vs. Corporate Team-Building

For those who believe customized solutions risk being too insular and navel-gazing, there is an argument for open-enrollment programmes to broaden their external professional network – across organizations, industries, and national borders. The experience leads many to rethink their values and routines through interaction with a diverse set of peers. In a customized programmer, on the other hand, you’re strengthening an internal network among colleagues, across roles and divisions.

Smaller Sums vs. Economies of Scale 

Budgetary considerations certainly play an important role, as well. Open-enrolment fees for individuals are not a terribly large expense. But when companies don’t have a large budget for one-off, ad hoc training, they often look to customized programmes – which have a larger price tag on the whole, but generally a lower cost per participant. 

Of course, these two kinds of professional training opportunities are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Frequently, open-programmer participants return to their companies as advocates for related custom programmes, with an aim to imbue the entire organization with skills that support strategic objectives.