Stephen Bailey


Stephen Bailey is the Founder and CEO of ExecOnline, a leading provider of corporate education and training solutions for top global organizations. With over two decades of experience in the education and training industry, Bailey has established a reputation as a thought leader and innovator.

Early Career and Schooling

Bailey was born in Scotland and grew up in a small town outside Glasgow. From a young age, he showed a strong aptitude for academics and constantly sought new challenges and ways to learn. Bailey attended the University of Glasgow, receiving a degree in economics and finance.

After graduation, Bailey began his career in the education industry. He worked as a teacher and then as a school administrator, gaining valuable experience in the field. He then pursued a master’s degree in education and received his degree from the University of Edinburgh.

Bailey’s passion for education and technology intersected when he co-founded ExecOnline in 2012. He saw a need for executives to have access to high-quality professional development courses that were flexible and convenient, and he knew that technology could make this a reality.

Since its founding, ExecOnline has grown into a successful company, with thousands of executives participating in its courses each year. Bailey’s dedication to education and belief in technology’s power has contributed to the company’s success.

In addition to running ExecOnline, Bailey is also an active education community member. He frequently speaks at conferences and events, sharing his knowledge and insights on the intersection of education and technology.

Stephen Bailey’s early life and schooling set the foundation for his career in the education industry and his successful entrepreneurial journey. His passion for education and technology has led him to create a company that is making a difference in the professional development of executives worldwide.

Early Career

Before starting ExecOnline, Bailey had a successful career in the tech industry, working for companies such as AOL and eBay. However, his early career was only sometimes smooth sailing.

Stephen Bailey smiling

Bailey began his professional journey as a software engineer at AOL in the late 1990s. During this time, he gained valuable experience in the tech industry and developed a passion for entrepreneurship. After a few years at AOL, Bailey decided to venture out independently and started a software company called NetProcure.

Unfortunately, NetProcure was unsuccessful, and Bailey found himself back in the corporate world, this time at eBay. At eBay, Bailey worked in a variety of roles, including product management and business development. During this time, he began to see the potential for online education as a way to upskill professionals in a cost-effective and convenient manner.

In 2010, Bailey co-founded ExecOnline with the goal of providing high-quality executive education programs online. The company has grown significantly, offering courses from top business schools such as Columbia Business School and the Kellogg School of Management.

Bailey’s early career had challenges, but he persevered and used his experiences to create a successful business. His passion for technology and entrepreneurship and his determination to succeed has helped him create a company that is changing how professionals learn and grow.

Their Business

Founded in 2012, ExecOnline has quickly become a go-to destination for professionals seeking to advance their careers through high-quality, flexible learning opportunities.

Stephen Bailey ExecOnline

ExecOnline offers a variety of courses across a range of business disciplines, including leadership, strategy, finance, and marketing. These courses are designed to be completed entirely online, making them accessible to professionals worldwide.

Stephen Bailey has a strong background in both business and education. Before co-founding ExecOnline, he held leadership positions at several leading educational institutions, including the Harvard Business School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also has experience in the corporate world, having worked for companies such as Goldman Sachs and Bain & Company.

Under Stephen Bailey’s leadership, ExecOnline has experienced rapid growth and success. In just a few short years, the company has enrolled thousands of students worldwide and has established partnerships with top-tier business schools and organizations.

In addition to its core business of offering online executive education courses, ExecOnline has expanded into other areas, including corporate training and consulting services. This diversification has allowed the company to serve the needs of its clients further and continue to grow.

Stephen Bailey is passionate about education and believes lifelong learning is crucial for professionals to stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing business environment. With ExecOnline, he has created a company that makes it easier for professionals to access high-quality learning opportunities and advance their careers. As the company continues to grow and evolve, it is clear that Stephen Bailey is well-positioned to lead ExecOnline into the future.

Leadership and awards

Throughout his career, Stephen has received numerous awards and recognitions for his leadership and innovation in the field of executive education. In 2016, he was named one of the “Top 20 Most Influential People in Corporate Learning” by Chief Learning Officer Magazine. This award recognizes individuals who have significantly impacted the corporate learning industry through their leadership, vision, and innovation.

In addition to his leadership roles at ExecOnline, Stephen has also served as a board member for several organizations, including the Association for Talent Development and the International Council for Corporate and Professional Learning. These positions allow him to influence and shape the industry’s direction and contribute his expertise and insights to the larger community.

Stephen is also a sought-after speaker and presenter, regularly sharing his knowledge and experience at conferences and events worldwide. His expertise and leadership have been recognized by organizations such as the Association for Talent Development, which has honored him with the Learning Professional of the Year award.

In addition to his professional achievements, Stephen is also actively involved in philanthropic endeavors. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Global Literacy Project, which works to improve literacy rates in underprivileged communities worldwide.

Stephen Bailey is a true leader in executive education, with a strong track record of achievement and a commitment to positively impacting the world. His leadership roles and awards are a testament to his dedication and expertise, and he is sure to continue making a significant contribution to the industry for years to come.

Stephen Bailey’s profile is part of our Black Excellence Series. His story is inspiring because he started the company while working full-time and pursuing an MBA at Columbia Business School. Despite the challenges of balancing work, school, and starting a business, Bailey persevered and successfully launched ExecOnline in 2013. Since then, the company has grown exponentially and has helped thousands of professionals advance their careers. Bailey’s determination and dedication to helping others succeed make him a truly inspiring entrepreneur.

Stephen Bailey is part of our Black Founders50 Series. Download the complete 2023 BBVA Founders50 list here.

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