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Technology Is Changing The Way We Learn—And Business Schools Need To Adapt

Jeremy McLellan, head of L&D at global recruitment firm Hudson, says the way people learn is changing

By  Marco De Novellis

Fri Nov 24 2017

“We don’t come to work to learn. We come to work to do something, and learning is a bi-product of that.” So, says Jeremy McLellan head of Learning & Development (L&D) at global recruitment firm Hudson.

For many employees, corporate learning is still a hard slog of lengthy classroom-based lectures or disjointed online courses. It’s tolerated, but rarely enjoyed. After a full day in the classroom, core lessons are lost—courses are too broad, unrelated to the individual’s daily work.

Not so at Hudson. Jeremy is leading a change in L&D, developing an on-demand learning resources platform—like an internal Google—where employees can learn as they do.

In the same way that you might look up a YouTube video to help with DIY, if a Hudson employee encounters an issue at work, they can search for a quick guide, or video, on how to solve it.

It’s a modern solution for a fast-paced, on-demand world, which begs the question: if corporate learning is changing, shouldn’t business schools change too?

Increasingly, b-schools are offering more specialized, flexible, customizable programs, suited to individual participants’ needs.

EU Business School, for example, offers 11 MBA specializations across topics like e-business, leadership, and HR management. At Copenhagen Business School, MBA students can choose from electives including innovation management and analytics and big data.

Top-ranked schools like Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and Spain’s IE Business School have launched their own MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) to complement the core MBA curriculum.


While there are developments, Jeremy says more schools may need to adapt.

What is the future for L&D?

Today, we have the technology to have all the information we need at our fingertips—that’s driving different behaviors in the way we learn.

Looking up a recipe online, or watching a YouTube video on DIY—that’s learning. But there’s a huge disconnect in terms of the way we digest information and learn in our daily lives and the way we’re doing it in corporate learning.

So, in the L&D industry at the moment, there’s a big shift to a new approach. At Hudson, I’m creating a resource-first approach to everything you do in an organization.

Rather than content-dumping classroom-based courses, I’m building a usable online platform that will help get employees from A to B—where employees can jump on their tablet or mobile and deal with any issue that comes up in the workplace, on-demand.

Why should business schools adapt?

If you’re a doctor, and you don’t know the ins and outs of the human anatomy, you’re not going to cut someone open and do an on-demand operation; you’re going to need that basis of knowledge before you start. You can think the same in a business sense with business schools.

Still, we are moving to more on-demand learning—people’s tolerance for things that don’t provide immediate value has declined. With business schools, and the way they do things, there may be a shift with that in mind.

How can business school grads stand out to employers?

Now, more than ever, it’s about having a presence online, and making sure you’re getting your personal brand out there in whatever way you can. Writing articles, sharing content, networking, contributing to communities—all that can elevate your digital footprint and make you look like an expert in your field.

As we’re moving into a multigenerational workforce—with millennials in the mix—we’re finding that mindset is becoming as important as skillset. Business school and MBA degrees give you that business mindset.