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12 Trends That Will Shape Business Education In 2019, According To Deans

Is the MBA dead? Will Brexit wreck UK business schools? Business school deans and directors make their predictions for the year ahead

Thu Jan 3 2019

BusinessBecause
BusinessBecause has travelled the globe, collating predictions from deans at the world’s best business schools on the market trends we should expect to see in 2019.

Last year, deans predicted digital disruption, virtual learning, and stronger concerns for business’s impact on society.

But what about this year? Will UK schools suffer from the Brexit debacle? Will US schools recover from the drastic dip in international applications? And will technology continue to push the boundaries of education?

Here are 12 trends that will shape business education in 2019:


1. SPECIALIZED MBAs WILL EMERGE IN THE ASIA PACIFIC

“Specialized MBA programs focusing on entrepreneurship, media & communications, luxury management, and analytics will emerge.

“The three trending areas we observe are entrepreneurship, analytics, and design thinking. MBA applicants globally are now looking at the APAC region, and India as possible destinations for studying.

“The MBA has a bright future in India. Its growth in popularity and demand will continue to be propelled by the twin pillars of corporate expansion and rising entrepreneurial ambitions resulting in start-ups. Also, international applications will continue to rise.”

Aditya Singh
Director, Athena School of Management
India

aditya-athena


2. THE UK WILL BENEFIT FROM BREXIT

“The UK has an opportunity to position itself as the go-to MBA destination for prospective students with global ambitions. Those MBA graduates will have the skills needed to help re-position the UK within its new, post-Brexit context; they will be drivers of business growth and make an important contribution to the UK economy.”

François Ortalo-Magné
Dean, London Business...

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3. BUSINESS EDUCATION IN EUROPE WILL GROW AFTER BREXIT

“Europe will continue to be a major destination for MBA students from all over the world. Continental European schools will continue to benefit from Brexit and the confusion about the status of foreigners working in the UK.

“Well-ranked business schools in Europe will be increasing their cohort sizes to benefit from increased applications for MBAs in countries such as France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.”

Rhoda Davidson
Director, MBA programs EMLYON Business School
France 


4. EUROPEAN BUSINESS SCHOOLS WILL SUCCESSFULLY ADAPT TO GLOBAL CHANGE

“Higher education is at a crossroads and requires a revolution to address uncertainty, volatility, and the overwhelming offer of information, in addition to a demographic and generational change, and a shifting economy.

“European schools will have to work closely with students and faculty to maintain their impact on business, design impact-driven curriculums, and integrate technology more effectively into the classroom.

“There will always be ups and downs in the market but the European schools that are offering exciting and innovative programs will continue to flourish.”

Leila Guerra
Associate dean, Imperial College Business School
UK


5. EUROPE WILL CHALLENGE THE US

“European business schools will need to catch up with their American counterparts in terms of online delivery and introducing technology in the classroom.  At the same time, they can differentiate themselves by focusing more on skills development, specifically leadership skills. 

“Europe, with its very diverse business climate, bringing together many cultures but also having to deal with the challenges of working in multi-disciplinary teams across borders, offers the perfect training ground for developing agile and entrepreneurial leaders that will deal with future challenges.”  

Yolanda Habets
Head of MBA programs, Vlerick Business School
Belgium


6. US APPLICATION DROP WILL CONTINUE

“The current trend we’re seeing in terms of declining applications (in the US), don’t expect that to turn around—the underlying causes are still there. It’s possible we will see some kind of immigration reform, but it’s not going to happen quickly.

“Schools need to be responsive to that and figure out how they can make themselves more welcoming to people coming in from outside of the US, because if you can’t address that question, you’ll continue to see this trend.”

Bill Boulding
Dean, Duke University Fuqua School of Business
US

bill-boulding-duke


7. BUSINESS SCHOOLS WILL LISTEN MORE TO SOCIETY

“I think it is fair to say we are experiencing a moment of uncertainty in the geopolitical context. In Europe, on many metrics we appear to be doing better than ever, yet clearly there is a growing sense of frustration and disconnect between many strata in society and those in power.

“The only way to solve this conundrum is if we have business leaders who understand that they have been placed in a privileged position, and who are looking to listen to the wider public to tackle these tricky problems.”

Franz Heukamp
Dean, IESE Business School
Spain


8. WE'LL SEE MORE COLLABORATION

“I think we’ll see more institutional, cross country cooperation providing students with greater choice of what to learn, how to learn and where to learn it.

“Alliances like FOME (Future of Management Education Alliance), which we signed together with other high ranked business schools earlier this year, serve as a good example of how new partnerships can redefine and digitize existing programs.

“I believe the combination of protectionism, digitization, and a more volatile global economy will be picked up by business schools and turned into programs or directions with specialized content. The global economy has not healed entirely since the financial crisis of 2008-9, and I believe the programs on offer will show a greater degree of differentiation to reflect competence gaps in the markets.” 

Inge Jan Henjesand
President, BI Norwegian Business School

Norway


9. BUSINESS SCHOOLS WILL FORM CLOSER TIES WITH BUSINESSES

“Students will request greater exposure to large business, and will want to build their technological and digital skills in order to keep pace with modern industry. Furthermore, students will begin to rely more and more on technology to receive their business education, and utilize this for their assessments.

“I think there will need to be a greater focus on experiential learning and integrating academic knowledge with modern business practice in real time, rather than engaging students in classroom-based learning and then applying their knowledge into practice.

“This will be more challenging for universities to accommodate, but one solution is to invest in workplace simulators within university premises, to improve students’ practical experiences in alignment with the academic knowledge they acquire throughout their studies.”

Amir Michael
Director, MBA, Durham University Business School
UK


10. FACE TO FACE NETWORKING WILL STILL BE ESSENTIAL

“I strongly believe that online will not fully take over, particularly for that mid-level [professional].

“People strongly believe in the network effect of an MBA, as long as we work as humans, we need to get a feel for our partners, have a drink in the evening, discuss matters not only linked to an MBA. At the end of the day network is about trust, and you only establish trust in a personal relationship.

“I think at this level the network that takes you to the next step in terms of career and knowledge is based a lot on trust, and I think this is where the personal element is crucial.”

Barbara Stottinger
Dean, WU Executive Academy
Austria


11. THE MBA WILL CONTINUE TO THRIVE

“It has become fashionable in some quarters to talk of the end of the MBA; I could not disagree more.

“The MBA experience provides critical skills—the opportunity to study both the language of business and cultivate the ability to inspire people to action. The relevance of the MBA education will not go away. 

“While I think we will continue to see new MBA formats and means of delivery over time, the skills and abilities this degree offers will remain paramount to business and society in the short and long term.”

Raghu Sundaram
Dean, NYU: Stern School of Business
US

dean-sundaram-nyu-stern


12. DIGITAL DISRUPTION WON’T LET UP

“A lot has been said about the fourth industrial revolution, and its potential to disrupt every industry through large-scale automation and the adoption of new technology, such as AI. This is likely to continue to dominate into 2019 and beyond.

“In approaching what lies ahead, organizations need to invest not only in developing technical competency but in developing the essential capabilities of their people. Business schools obviously play a key role here.

“To develop talent fit for the future, we need to invest in resilient leadership and emotional intelligence. Leadership and people skills are not tied to a particular job or industry. Solid leadership development provides the kind of transferable skills likely to be needed in the future.” 

Segran Nair
Director, Open Academic Programs, University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB)
South Africa

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