The subject will be one of the most important issues of our times: the future of higher education.


Education is at a fundamental turning point, and the ramifications on the world of business and the economy at large are still far from being understood. Clearly the Internet, along with the greatly improved quality of online delivery platforms, has made more information available to more people around the world than ever before. This seismic shift in the delivery of knowledge is forcing universities around the world to rethink their pedagogical principles, their business models, and, indeed, their very “raison d’être”.

Similarly we are witnessing the emergence of new business models in education, frequently referred to as MOOCS: free massive open online courses. Take Coursera: launched in 2012 with four university partners—including Princeton and Stanford—it today collaborates with 83 educational institutions on four continents offering over 400 college level courses to more than four million students from every country in the world. In fact, this year’s Nobel laureate in Economics, Robert Shiller, will be teaching “Financial Markets” on Coursera to 50,000 students around the globe. Not surprising then that Coursera just this summer raised another $43 million in venture capital, and that more and more universities are showing interest in collaborating with the start-up.

What are the implications of this on the educational experience itself? Can the interactive and often heated sharing of ideas and experiences ever be successfully achieved in an online, and hence “distant”, environment? And, finally, is all the focus on the online educational experience an example of “solving to the wrong problem”? While the delivery of higher education in the future is certainly undergoing a quantum reappraisal, has enough thought been given to the content of higher education in the future? As one scholar noted, by 2020 the ten jobs that will be most in demand do not even exist today. What does this mean for the role and responsibility of higher education?

Our guest speaker will be Dr. Marika Taishoff. As a professor at the International University of Monaco and Director of their Monaco Full Time MBA and Executive On-Line MBA, Marika has unique insights on the emerging challenges and opportunities in both the online and offline educational worlds. Prior to joining IUM in 2009, Marika had worked at such prestigious business schools as IMD (the International Institute for Management Development) in Lausanne, Switzerland; Bocconi University Business School in Milan; and at the Imperial College Management School, University of London, as well as having been a consultant to many companies in Europe and Turkey.

Although for more than two decades she has been professionally and educationally involved in the business domain, her own academic background extends well beyond management and embraces the intrinsic value of the learning experience itself. She has a BA magna cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University in English and Religion; an MA from Columbia University in Russian Literature; an MA from the School of International Affairs of Columbia University in International Banking & Finance; and a Docteur es Sciences Politiques from l’Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales of the Universite de Geneve. Higher education, and its future, is thus something near and dear to her heart.

As always, the presentation will be held at CREM, le Mirabeau, 1 avenue Princesse Grace in Monaco from 18h30 on Monday 25 November. The entrance fee of €20 can be paid at the door and includes a welcome cocktail and savoury snacks.


If you’re interested in attending, please write back to me at to confirm.

Best wishes,