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Babson Executive Education Honored for Excellence in Practice for Creation of Experiential Learning Initiative for McGraw-Hill Education


The European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) has named Babson Executive Education (BEE) a finalist in its annual Excellence in Practice Awards.

BEE was nominated for the awards’ Executive Development category for its two-year collaboration with McGraw-Hill Education (MHE), Leaders’ Quest and 3D Leadership Group.  The collaborators and facilitators, including Babson College Professors Anirudh Dhebar (Faculty Director), Andrew Corbett and Mark Potter, crafted Catalyst L&D—an experiential learning initiative designed to facilitate an MHE culture transformation that would help develop the traditional textbook publisher into a modern learning science enterprise.

The EFMD Excellence in Practice Awards recognize outstanding and impactful Learning and Development (L&D) partnerships in the domains of leadership, professional, talent, and organization development.

Catalyst L&D Initiative

When David Levin was appointed CEO of McGraw-Hill Education in 2014, he took charge of a business facing severe industry disruption and needing to transform from a traditional textbook publisher into a learning science enterprise. To drive that change, Levin recognized that MHE’s leadership and corporate culture would need to transform as well.

The Catalyst L&D initiative was designed to facilitate that culture transformation by providing leaders with the interpersonal skills, an entrepreneurial mindset, and enterprise perspective to transition to a new environment that fosters collaboration, action, and influence.

MHE worked closely with Babson Executive Education and Leaders’ Quest to craft Catalyst, which would feature both individual and group components with objectives and outcomes tightly aligned to enterprise core competencies and business strategy.

Through collaborative efforts on needs analysis, program design, and delivery execution, the providers and client forged a balanced and sustainable partnership that endured and strengthened through five cohorts over two years.

To start, all participants completed a 360-degree assessment and met with a coach to interpret results and set objectives. Cohorts then spent three days in a Leaders’ Quest—an experiential learning journey that immersed participants in a series of diverse environments that disrupted physical, mental, and emotional comfort zones.

At Babson, MHE leaders wrestled with issues related to an industry characterized by change, uncertainty, and ambiguity. After exploring the implications of the changing world of learning, participants were introduced to the entrepreneurial mindset through Babson’s methodology of Entrepreneurial Thought & Action®, and wrapped up by learning about value creation where innovation meets financial discipline.

Quantitative and qualitative indicators demonstrated that Catalyst impacted MHE on multiple levels:

  • Enhanced leaders’ mindsets and skillsets,
  • Drove gains in collaboration and enterprise activity,
  • Enabled improvements in business operations.

By allowing each person to learn in his or her own way, mixing individual insight with group experience, Catalyst gave MHE leaders their own immersion into the blended learning future they were charged with creating and further informed how they should lead and steward the organization’s transformation.

About McGraw-Hill Education

McGraw-Hill Education (MHE) is a learning science company providing customized educational content, software, and services for pre-K through postgraduate education in nearly 60 languages in more than 135 countries.

About Leaders’ Quest

Leaders’ Quest develops leaders capable of leading in fast-changing, disrupted environments with competing priorities and interconnected challenges. Immersive experiences open people’s eyes to new realities and inspire them to think differently and move to purposeful action.

3D Leadership Group is an executive coaching firm that delivers a high touch, high impact experience through leadership workshops and coaching.

CEB is a global, best-practice insights company that manages talent assessment.

About Babson Executive Education

Babson Executive Education, a division of Babson College, develops entrepreneurial leaders who can create opportunities, envision and navigate change, to drive innovation and growth for companies.

About 3D Leadership Group

3D Leadership Group is an executive coaching firm that delivers a high touch, high impact experience through coaching and leadership workshops. Angie O’Donnell MBA ’92 and Sue Williamson MBA ’92 are the co-founders and received their MBA from Babson’s F.W. Olin School of Business.