ESCP Europe – Designing an online master program: lessons learned

Manuel Rivera
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Madrid, Spain

Sergio Vasquez, Learning Innovation Manager of ESCP Europe, tells about his experience as ther director and creator of the Executive Masters in International Business (EMIB) for the ESCP School Campus in Madrid.

ESCP Europe is the oldest business school in the world, founded in 1819 by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris. Today, it has six campuses in Europe: London, Madrid, Paris, Berlin, Italy and Warsaw.

Sergio Vasquez, began his work at ESCP, Paris, in 1992. In 2013, with over 30 years of experience using and applying technology for education improvement, he transferred to ESCP, Madrid to build their online Executive Masters in International Business (EMIB) program. Vasquez started this initiative by developing and creating the program master – one complete, customizable, fully online EMIB program that blends traditional learning with tools like videogames and audiovisual materials. This massive effort took about a year and a half and was launched on October 20, 2014.

Moodlerooms was chosen as the platform of choice for this online offering because of its versatility. Vasquez and his team were looking for a solution that would deliver a pedagogic design that will provide the student learning beyond just the theoretical – it needs to go on to close the gap between theory and the reality the student will face in the professional field. Moodle provides the tools and technology that enables these connections.

The two most critical learnings Vasquez shares from this experience were 1) a different financial model for online programs is required, and 2) online master programs must be created in a way that they can be easily customizable.

Online financial model is different than a traditional, onsite program

An onsite professor is paid according to the number of teaching hours. This model is not sufficient in online learning though. A new online program must account for the significant time and effort required creating, building and designing the course contents. For this reason, it is imperative that an online program have a strong money investment at the beginning in addition to the ongoing costs of the program offering.

Built for customization and localization

“Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more,” is a quote from Spanish poet Antonio Machado that Vasquez uses to explain the importance of ensuring that the master course be built in a way that it can be easily customized and localized. User experience, graphics, content all have to be created so they can easily be adapted to other localities.  These design requirements were a major reason as to why the project took a year and a half to complete.

As the result of this successful design, the course built in Spanish will soon be translated into English and French. The goal is for students to truly experience international business by interacting with international students while in their postgraduate studies. Moreover, this will provide students practice and experience with varying languages which is a further differentiator when entering the job market.


The successful delivery of this online EMIB program enabled ESCP, Madrid campus, to meet the needs of one of their biggest clients, Respol, Spain’s major oil company. This model will also be used to advance other clients such as: the Polytechnic University of Madrid, the School of Industrial Engineering of the University of Chile, L’Oreal and Pfizer, among others.


*Sergio Vasquez, Learning Innovation Manager of ESCP Europe

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