The Master of Information Leadership differs from conventional MBAs (in the absence of anything better the main default option for aspiring information leaders) in a number of ways, apart from the focus of the course - that's a given.
The first is that we take a coaching approach to student support. At the professional level the MIL is pitched we are beyond the transmission of knowledge and concepts. There a few right answers at this level and instead judgment and the ability to critically evaluate the evidence base is needed (there's a reason for the board-level salaries!). So we aim to develop the academic skills that underpin this to a high level.
So between the weekends David Chan and I are available to support the students either remotely or sometimes face-to-face. As the MIL scales up in number, we'll be adding to this core team. I act as the academic coach, David as the professional coach. This is one of the aspects of the MIL that the students have found most beneficial to their learning.
This leads us onto the MIL's secret weapon: David Chan. I've been working with David for almost two years to set up the centre and the MIL - it's been a blast.
David was one of the UK's first board-level information leaders with expertise spanning the BBC, Provident, Razorfish to name a few. His professional expertise feeds into the course design throughout. David adds his experience to the lectures and syndicate tasks, either by a well-placed anecdote, a reference to relevant theory, or in the 'CIO Coda' where David brings all the activities of a weekend together and reflects with the students on how the issues raised over the weekend relate to the challenges that information leaders face.
If you can find a quality executive masters in any way relevant to CIOs that has an experienced information leader sitting in on the lectures on contributing to the discussions - we'd like to know! Ditto if you can find an MBA where a CEO/CFO sits in all the lectures...
Finally, students also get the mobile number of the course and centre directors - not something you usually get on an MBA! This is consistent with the MIL's philosophy of being a high-contact offering for a select intake of talented self-directed senior IT professionals, rather than being a high-volume commodity.