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The MBA in 2013 – Deans’ Predictions

The MBA In 2013 – Deans' Predictions Alexandra Skinner The world is changing rapidly; 2012 saw the rise of the MOOC, the fall of the Euro and, in-part thanks to the London Olympics, a resurgence of the notion of ‘legacy’. The MBA market has not passed through 2012 without its own changes; the results of the GMAC 2012 Application Trends Survey showed that 51 per cent of programmes reported an increase in applications and 90 per cent reported that the applicants were as, if not more, impressive than in 2011. Notably, almost all programmes reported an increase in the number of foreign applicants.


ith the market’s thirst for the MBA continuing, the global pool widening and the number of MBA programmes available on the increase, there is tough competition amongst business schools for top applicants. To this end, the on-going evolvement of a business school’s MBA programme is crucial. In this feature, CEO Magazine speaks to those charged with overseeing this, and asks them what developments and key trends they see emerging in the 2013 MBA landscape.

Wendy Alexander: London Business School

Is the MBA past its sell by date? As finance de-leverages, consultancy adapts and economic activity shifts relentlessly east, this is the question haunting even the top schools. Historically an MBA was about securing a skillset - those business craft skills that any well-educated business person needed in order to succeed. Today an MBA needs to nurture a new mindset as much as a honed skillset. Demanding employers rightly regard exposure to great thought leadership as a given from the top schools. However, as online platforms like Coursera proliferate, knowledge is ever more ubiquitous and easy to access. So where is the contemporary value in a business school education for participants or their prospective employer?

1. Ever greater global reach Diverse classmates, faculty, case studies and alumni are simply the foundations. Today's business leaders need to do more than study globalisation, they have to live it. Top schools increasingly equip students to lead globally diverse teams by mimicking this new professional

2. Truly Know Thyself Our message is 'your IQ may have got you here, but it is your EQ that will invariably hasten your success hereafter'. As self-assessment techniques develop, the focus is not just on the traditional gap-filling around key skills, but systematic support to help participants know,

 Today’s business leaders need to do more than study globalisation, they have to live it.” reality repeatedly during the MBA experience. Graduates who are able to lead global teams possess a precious capability in today's changing marketplace. Hence, at London Business School we throw global study groups in at the deep end working with entrepreneurs in African townships, and send students on global careers treks to find their next role and expose them to the inner workings of global companies.

and work with, their spikes. As the senior search firms observe, it is your spikes and passions that invariably get you noticed and promoted. 3. Stimulate Learning A great business education needs to do more than teach, it needs to stimulate learning. So look for a programme rich in experiential learning, exposure to practitioners and boundless opportunities to go

and visit, to look, to see and to learn. Being at the heart of a global business hub like London makes this easier for schools like London Business School. So what does this all add up to for 2013’s MBAs? Look out for programmes delivering ‘the new global’ - preparing MBAs who are ready to go anywhere and work with anyone to drive growth in new markets. They are likely to reach the c-suite first. Use a business school education to ensure your best people know themselves better and hence carry that learning into all their subsequent roles. Finally, look for programmes that nurture opportunities in entrepreneurship, in emerging markets and in creative roles. In short, we are witnessing a flight to quality amongst schools and students. However, for the best schools the ROI is incalculable, not simply in salary but in networks, in ideas and in mindset.

Wendy Alexander is the Associate Dean for Degree Programmes and Career Services at London Business School.

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The MBA in 2013 – Deans’ Predictions

The MBA in 2013 – Deans’ Predictions

Dr Francis Petit: Fordham University

In terms of the Executive MBA market, I believe the following will occur in 2013: 1. Corporate Financial Sponsorship This will continue to decline. The Executive MBA Council, the official international governing body for Executive MBA programs worldwide, indicated that full corporate financial sponsorship for these programs was 25.9 per cent in 2012 down from 44 per cent in 2001. Companies, in general, are supporting these programs less and less. 2. EMBA Program Enrolment While full corporate financial sponsorship will continue to decrease, enrolment for Executive

MBA Programs will not decline: it will either remain flat or increase slightly. The reason behind this prediction is that prospective students are now willing to encumber more of the costs themselves to attend such programs. What will occur though naturally within this process is that prospective students

executive students will very likely receive less in terms of financial sponsorship from their employer. 3. Pricing of Tuition I believe that business schools will begin questioning their tuition pricing strategies for Executive MBA programs in 2013. Some business schools will continue with an aggressive premium tuition pricing strategy, while others will become more conservative. As a result, there will be a greater tuition price disparity across the industry. Such an increase in price disparity should be apparent among regional clusters of programs. For business schools who become increasingly neutral in their tuition pricing strategy for EMBA programs (verses a premium

 There will be a reassessment of program practices and EMBA industry norms.” will be in the pipeline for longer as they are hesitant to take on increasing debt. With an increasing decline in full corporate financial sponsorship, what will also occur is an increase in the “self-sponsored” sector as well as a change in make-up with the partial financial sponsored sector. The partially funded

Dr Emad Rahim: Colorado Technical University strategy), there will be a reassessment of program practices and EMBA industry norms. Such industry norms could be a re-evaluation of traditional amenities associated with Executive MBA programs. The decrease in the fully financially sponsored student will drive this reassessment. 4. Age of Candidates Lastly, there will be a younger candidate inquiring about EMBA programs. This candidate (below the age of 32) will not want to quit their job to obtain the MBA, but is increasingly unwilling to obtain the credential in an evening format. Hence, the EMBA structure will be quite appealing even if this prospective student has to pay themselves. Dr Francis Petit, Ed.D. is the Associate Dean for Executive MBA Programs at Fordham University, the Jesuit University in New York City.

Dr Georges Nurdin: Paris School of Business entrepreneurship. This means that business schools will re-angle their teachings accordingly. I think this year will be fundamentally iconoclast – that is, according to the original Greek etymology, the breaking of images (icons) – and, as a matter of consequence, the year of getting beyond the smokescreen and getting back the fundamentals. 1. Less Foggy Finance, More Real “Flesh and Bones” Enterprise, Please The world is in a finance hangover and, in particular, Europe has been seriously hit despite the financial crisis originating in the USA. The finance job market will be even more depressed in 2013. In contrast, I foresee more enthusiasm for, and more need to rediscover real


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2. Less Theory, More Action and Decision-making Skills Wanted Going back to fundamentals will also emphasize the very core of what an MBA is all about – management. It isn’t so much about being an analyst, but about the ability to manage, and more specifically to manage under difficult situations, and to make more often than not hard-nosed decisions. This also leads to a command for a shift in teaching materials, methods and style. 3. Paradigm Shift and Adaptability: The Survival of the Fastest (to Adapt) - Not the Biggest, Not the Smartest 2013 will see many paradigms change. Some we can see coming;

an accelerated weakening of the European bond, religious-driven subject-taking, an ever-growing importance in society and economy, and world unemployment growing. There are others that nobody sees coming, in the same way that

be of the essence. This is something the military understood as being vital long ago in order to win battles. They called it the OODA loop (Observation, Orientation, Decision and Action). The one that spins his ODAA loop fastest wins; the others

 MBA programmes will have to be ready to change and adapt quickly.” nobody foresaw the game-changing shifts that affected the world over the last few years; the subprime crisis, the Arab “spring”, tablets outnumbering laptops and so on. In this context, MBA programmes will have to be ready to change and adapt quickly. This will be where they will be able to demonstrate that they add value. Speed of adaptation will

lose. Military commandmentinspired teachings will make strong in-roads in the best MBA curriculums – and here we return back again to the fundamentals.

Dr Georges Nurdin, M.Sc., MBA, Ph.D, FInstD is the Dean at Paris School of Business.

1. Online MBA Program Growth Continues When I started graduate school back in 2005 there were only a handful of traditional universities (research and state) offering online MBA degree programs accredited by the AACSB or ACBSP. There were a few more Executive MBA programs that offered evening and weekend options, but these programs still expected students to live and work locally. Now there are thousands of online degree programs being offered by traditional and proprietary schools that are accredited by the AACSB, ACBSP and AMBA. While enrolment has decreased in the last few years, I predict more schools will be taking their traditional MBA online in the next few years to meet the educational and flexibility needs and of their

students. I also believe that more Executive MBA programs will offer a fully online option for their students or increase the percentage of courses being taught online. Universities must overcome challenges relating to budget, resources and campus space. Developing more online options for students will create more opportunities for a university and combat some of these challenges. 2. Technology Innovation Piggybacking off of my first prediction, this increase in competition will lead to more technology innovation. The online MBA program that effectively utilizes technology in their online platform will standout to students and employers. Universities will have to invest more money, time and resources in developing their online content and platform. I believe we will see more proprietary e-learning platforms being created and universities

developing apps to support the usage of tablets and smartphones in the classroom (online and face-toface). Online MBAs will offer more opportunities to attend live lectures that are fully online to engage with their students from around the world in real-time.

The MBA programs that seem to get a lot of buzz in social media and on the ‘blogger-sphere’ are those that provide students with the opportunity to start their own business (Syracuse University, Babson College, Oklahoma State University), contribute to solving

 Generation Y students are supporting more non-traditional education and experiential learning.” 3. Specialization and Experiential Learning Generation Y students are embracing more non-traditional education and experiential learning. They are resisting the traditional management focused MBA. Universities have seen a big increase in student interest and engagement around topics relating to entrepreneurship, sustainability and global leadership.

social and environmental problems (Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Cornell University) and have a voice to help shape our world (Tulane University, IESE Business School, Thunderbird School of Global Management). Dr Emad Rahim is University Dean for the School of Business at Colorado Technical University. Follow him on Twitter: @CTUBusiness

Dr Jorge Farinha: University of Porto  Three Asian nations alone already boast 10 per cent of the best business schools in the world.” 1. Emergence of the Emerging Market MBAs Yes, American and European schools still dominate most of the MBA Global rankings, holding 82 out of the 100 top positions in the latest 2013 survey of a popular ranking. But look closely and you will find a visible new trend. If you combine Singapore, South Korea and China, then these three Asian nations alone already boast 10 per cent of the best business schools in the world. As a comparison, only five years ago that statistic was 3 per cent. Will this trend continue in 2013? Judging from the pace of new accreditations for emerging market MBA programmes by AACSB, EFMD or AMBA, the answer is definitely a yes. This is reinforced by the fact that of the 23 new entries in the top 100

in 2013, almost a third (seven) came from emerging markets, particularly China (with four new entries). The major emerging markets (Brazil and Mexico included) are growing stronger every year and have become fast learners on the MBA landscape. Even European and American students are starting to be attracted in increasing numbers by their MBA offerings. 2. Global Experiences and Dual Degrees The top positions on the Ivy League of the Executive MBAs show an additional trend - business school partnerships with the purpose of offering international programmes for experienced managers with immersions in different geographies. This is the case with the EMBA offerings by Kellogg/HKUST (US/

Hong Kong-China), Columbia/ LBS (US/UK), HEC/LSE/NY Stern (France/UK/US) and INSEAD/ Tsinghua (France/China), among numerous others. This shows how relevant globalization has become, not only for normal businesses, but also for teaching students how to manage in a global setting. It won´t be a surprise to observe more and more business schools engaging in similar partnerships in 2013 as they attempt to climb in international rankings. 3. More Technology The third major trend is not an entirely new one, but something where we will most likely observe an increasing pace of development. This will be huge investments in distancelearning technologies by business schools, both for physical presence programmes as well as distance ones.

This will tend to occur not just for improving the teaching of “hard” subjects (such as accounting and finance) but also, and increasingly, even for soft skills development. In fact, the trend is clearly out there for more and more embedded learning with a progressive blurring of the distinction between online and offline programmes, with the former distancing itself from a pure online offering to one where immersion periods with other students are seen as essential for reaching comparable levels of learning experiences to those of regular MBAs. Two consequences of this are that some schools with lower IT budgets will struggle to keep pace with the largest institutions, and that a spate of partnerships for sharing electronic teaching platforms is likely to occur between business schools. Dr Jorge Farinha is Vice-Dean of Porto Business School, University of Porto.

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The MBA in 2013 – Deans’ Predictions

The MBA in 2013 – Deans’ Predictions

Dr Kathy Schwaig: Kennesaw State University 1. Reposition MBA programs will reposition themselves to better serve the changing marketplace by providing more online options and flexibility to a demanding and busy customer base.

 Successful corporations don’t operate in silos; neither do successful MBA programs.”

2. Relevance MBA programs will move towards a more integrated curriculum, rather than the traditional silo approach, in an attempt to increase the relevance and impact of the degree. Successful corporations don’t operate in silos; neither do successful MBA programs. Students and employees need to think and work from a crossdisciplinary stance in order to add value to their organizations.

3. Risk-taking MBA programs will embrace more and more principles of entrepreneurship and prepare students to apply these principles as entrepreneurs themselves, or as intrapreneurs in medium to large companies. Dr Kathy S. Schwaig is Dean, Dinos Eminent Scholar and Professor of Information Systems at Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University.

Dr Shawn Daly: Niagara University  Business schools will utilize the certification systems of respected professional associations.” 1. External Certificates and Internal Badges A nascent trend in higher education, the movement toward third party recognition gets underway in 2013. Business schools will utilize the certification systems of respected professional associations and outside “auditors” to assess knowledge, skills, and abilities beyond the traditional classroom testing system. At Niagara University, our advisory board has recommended four broad categories of skills – leadership, people and teamwork, technical competencies, and client acquisition. We’re working to operationalize such an assessment and reward system beginning


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in 2013-14. In addition, Niagara University will be aligning the curriculum for students to achieve (or progress as far as possible) toward major certifications in the various business-management fields. 2. MBA Students Stop Getting Younger (and MBA Student Populations Stabilize) A two-decade trend that logically must end sometime - perhaps 2013 is the year? As more and more of the (formerly) traditional aged MBA students (27-35) already have MBAs, it stands to reason that the total MBA population will level-off or even begin declining. The growth of MBA programs has been fuelled

not only by increasing demand, but also an unsustainable dependence on widening the net of potential applicants to younger applicants. In addition, for most MBA programs a tipping point may occur in 2013, whereby the dominant population is no longer late 20’s/early 30’s students, but early to mid-20’s students. This, in turn, requires changes in the content and processes of the program in order to meet the needs of a less mature and experienced student body. 3. Technology is the Mainstream The creation and wide-spread usage of electronic communications engendered the online education revolution in the 90’s. 2013 may be

the year in which the trend is fully internalized into the business school system. Not merely via online programs and courses, but technology-enhanced hybrid courses, which subtly (or not so quietly) emphasize the managerial and communications skills required to participate effectively in the electronically mediated teams found in business, government and other organizations. Thus, the usage of such tools has become engrained in our business school ecosystem and hence – technology not as online business education, just business education. Dr Shawn P. Daly is Dean of Niagara University’s College of Business Administration.

Laurie Walker: Kent State University  Recruitment processes will be adjusted to accommodate the changing needs of potential applicants.” 1. Global EMBA Partners Established Executive MBA programs will increase emphasis on acquiring global EMBA partners in order to pursue growth on an international scale. These partnerships will assume a variety of forms, as is currently the case for existing Executive MBA partnerships. These different forms will reflect Executive MBA program creativity in crafting mutually beneficial partnerships that fit the unique needs of each program.


2. Corporate Tuition Reimbursement This will continue to decline in the United States. As a result, Executive MBA applicants will place added emphasis on program cost. Recruitment processes will be adjusted to accommodate the changing needs of potential applicants. By way of example, during the recruitment process programs will allow for adequate time to answer each applicant’s specific questions related to

program cost and the value of program content. Adjustments might include smaller recruiting session sizes that provide potential applicants with more opportunities to ask questions that are particular to their needs. 3. Increased Online Content As online classroom technology improves, the online content of Executive MBA programs will increase slightly. The trend will be toward fewer on-site class meetings.

★★ Alexandra Skinner is Group Editor-in-Chief at the International Graduate Forum.

Given that an EMBA program’s strength centers on live, in-class discussions between experienced business professionals, EMBA programs will not move toward an entirely online model. 4. Global Content The global content of Executive MBA programs will be further leveraged as a competitive advantage over other types of MBA programs. There will be an expansion in the number of Executive MBA project assignments that require visits to international locations.

Laurie Walker is Director of Executive MBA Programs at Kent State University.

The MBA in 2013: Deans’ Predictions featuring Emad Rahim  

The world is changing rapidly; 2012 saw the rise of the MOOC, the fall of the Euro and, in-part thanks to the London Olympics, a resurgence...

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