MBA Students’ Predictions For Business Education In 2016

MBAs expect to shape course content — and delivery

How will business education change in 2016?

BusinessBecause spoke to several MBA students at the heart of the business school world to get their thoughts on what lies ahead.

Power To The Pupil

Ragen Haythorpe is a part-time student on the flexible MBA program at UWA Business School. She believes that with competition for applicants high, business schools will become more responsive to the needs of their students.

“We will see greater flexibility for students to create their own unique education experience,” she says.

“Enhanced collaboration between educational institutions, moving towards borderless education….is the way of the future.”

MBA students want to choose what they learn, how and where they learn it.

“New age companies like Google, Apple, Uber and Airbnb have shown how effective a bottom-up consumer oriented approach can be,” says Arijit Gupta, a first year student at the George Washington University School of Business.

“I hope that the education industry picks up this mantra and starts offering courses which are customizable based on the students’ interests.”

Online Revolution

For Aaron Hoyles, a student at EMLYON Business School in France, more flexibility over how MBA programs are designed will invariably mean more content delivered online.

“We’ll increasingly see online content blended with the classroom experience,” he says.

“The most successful models will combine richly produced, self-paced digital content with collaborative teamwork that is practical and emphasizes integrative thinking and experiential learning.”

Harish Sivashanmugam, a first year student at CUHK Business School, agrees. “Theoretical teaching will be pushed online and [the] classroom will become an incubation center,” he says.

Harish also forecasts that more people will work in the technology sector and in start-ups, forcing a change in MBA course content. “Business education will cease to exist as an offshoot of finance,” he says.

He adds: “Business schools will have to get rid of their decade-old case studies and take up real-time examples in the exponentially changing mobile payments and start-up fields.”

Big Data A Big Deal

According to Arijit, business education will also continue to adapt to an increasingly digitized world.

“The rise of big data will result in a lot of information management courses being incorporated into business administration,” he says.

“We have simplified information gathering, but information analysis is still a difficult and sought-after skill.”

Filipe Castro, a first year student at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai, agrees.

“With the greater emphasis on automation of process, big data analytics, algorithms and vast amount of information in today’s highly connected world, the role of the manager itself is changing.”

Soft Skills Surge

A 2015 QS Report revealed that MBA employers place greater emphasis on soft skills than more quantifiable technical ones.

Filipe predicts that business education will continue to evolve in line with employers’ expectations.

“Critical thinking, leadership and soft skills will play a greater role than quantitative skills,” he says.

For Ryan Bates, an MBA student at HEC Paris, a greater focus on the soft-side is a necessity.

“I see a personal need to be more confident in my soft skills in order to be a better candidate in the job market.”

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