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AMBA: course fundamentals “must change”

More than three-quarters of global business school leaders believe the fundamentals of the MBA will change within the next five years, and more than two-thirds think the content could be improved, research from the Association of MBAs and Business Graduates Association has revealed.

Two thirds (67%) agreed that the delivery or content of their MBA program could be improved. Photo: AMBA

Leaders in India said they are particularly confident in delivering technological change

The AMBA & BGA business school leaders survey, which polled 358 decision-makers at business schools across the world, showed that a quarter of survey participants do not think their campus is being run as efficiently as it could be.

“These findings demonstrate that… there is scope for improvement in MBA delivery”

As part of the survey, business school leaders were asked how likely or unlikely it is that the fundamentals of the MBA are likely to change within the next 10 years.

Some 77% said they think that it is likely, including two in five (40%) who think that it is ‘very likely’.

Two thirds (67%) agreed that the delivery or content of their MBA program could be improved, although more than half (53%) stated ‘tend to agree’, suggesting that most leaders recognise some scope for improvement.

Slightly more than half (54%) agreed that ‘my business school’s campus is being run as efficiently as it could be’. Conversely, a quarter (25%) disagreed.

‘These findings demonstrate that most leaders believe that MBA delivery methods are likely to evolve over time and that there is scope for improvement in MBA delivery,” said Research and Insight manager at AMBA & BGA, Will Dawes.

Leaders were also asked how important various pieces of technologies would be in running business schools in the next 10 years.

Big data is perceived to be the most important of these technologies, with 95% of business school leaders stating that it is important, followed by experiential learning (94%), digitalisation (93%) and AI (86%).

When asked about the introduction of automation almost half (47%) said their school is prepared, while the same proportion (47%) said they are not prepared.

When asked about some technologies, most leaders said that their institutions are not prepared to embrace the technology: three in five said that their school is unprepared for the introduction of augmented reality (63%) and virtual reality (60%).

Leaders in India said they are particularly confident that their schools are successful in delivering technological change, and were more likely to strongly agree that their business school has developed new and innovative ways of delivering programmes (63% versus 25% of leaders worldwide).

They are also more likely to agree that their business school is fully prepared for opportunities that the fourth industrial revolution will offer (63% vs. 35% overall).

Other regions where leaders are more likely to agree that their business school is fully prepared for opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution include China (71%) and Africa (50%).

“Some schools do not necessarily believe that they are as advanced in their journey to introduce new technology”

It is important to note that leaders from no single region held significantly negative perceptions of technology delivery, the research paper explained.

However, leaders from North America and the Caribbean and Europe (excluding the UK) are more likely to think that their business school is not doing well at ‘using new technology to deliver teaching and learning’ (50% and 37% respectively versus 32% overall.)

“These results are further evidence of mixed levels of confidence in whether MBA curricula meet the needs of the biggest tech employers,” said Dawes.

“Leaders are broadly optimistic about the future of the sector… [but] some schools do not necessarily believe that they are as advanced in their journey to introduce new technology into their institutions as they could be.

“Yet it is also clear that schools are gearing themselves up to introduce new technological concepts and see the opportunities that this presents,” he added.

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