GMAC Europe: The future of higher business education is social, adaptable and digital
What does the business school of the future look like? Not exactly an easy question to answer.
However, the latest report from the Graduate Management Admissions Council attempts to address the issue – at least from a European perspective.
At a time when the relevance of higher management education is being reassessed, the council interviewed 19 deans from some of Europe’s top business schools. Its latest report, “The Future of Graduate Management Education,” published this month, distills these discussions into five distinct themes: technology and digitization, social and responsible, content, learning journey and relevance.
The industry paper provides a push on what the deans “predict what the future holds for higher management education and the work needed to remain relevant and functional for society as a whole,” GMAC says in a statement. communicated.
We’ve highlighted some of the main themes from the European Deans of B Schools below, or you can read the full report here.
TECHNOLOGY & DIGITIZATION
As the pandemic has accelerated the use of technology in classrooms, traditional in-person lessons shouldn’t simply be uploaded to an online platform, the report says. Instead, incorporating technology and digitization requires rethinking pedagogy and what classrooms, campuses, and user experience should look like. In-person classrooms, on the other hand, must be able to offer something that online classrooms cannot.
At the start of the pandemic, most business schools were unprepared for fully online learning, but were able to adapt quickly.
“We weren’t prepared not because of the technology, because the technology was largely ready,” says Giuseppe Soda, dean of SDA Bocconi, in the report. “What wasn’t ready was the way we approach online education: all programs, all courses, all curricula were set for non-online programs. … I think in the end we learned to translate our content into something better suited for technology and now we’re ready for the future.
What the pandemic has proven is that business schools can actually expand their reach, interacting with more students who would otherwise be left behind.
“We can actually reach a lot more people at a much lower cost, so make it much more affordable for people to participate in education projects,” said IESE Dean Franz .
said in the report. “There is an opportunity to make education or business education more accessible to people in all kinds of situations – personal and professional.”
SOCIAL & RESPONSIBLE
“The biggest challenge for our academic community is to sit down and create a framework that can figure out how to really reconcile business goals with societal goals,” says Ilian Mihov, Dean of INSEAD.
This, in fact, echoes much of the reporting in Poets&Quants during the last years. Many professors we interviewed tell us they want more emphasis on the role of business in mitigating climate change, promoting social progress, or improving the human condition. And business schools are investing or creating centers to help. Take, for example, the Center for Sustainable Enterprise at UNC Kenan-Flagler or the Center for Business & Human Rights at NYU Stern.
GMAC interviews with European deans revealed that most believe that lessons in ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability should be integrated throughout the business school curriculum. In fact, Anthony Brabazon, Dean of University College Dublin, says students already want these things and business schools need to be able to deliver them.
“Incoming students are much more concerned about environmental issues, about long-term sustainability,” he says in the report. “They are starting to push us as educators to address issues of sustainability, societal good throughout our program profile.”
CONTENT AND LIFELONG LEARNING PATHWAYS
Even though business and technology are changing at a breakneck pace, business education has been slow to keep up. The content delivered in a balanced business education should move away from traditional silos and adopt an interdisciplinary approach. This includes topics such as analytics, data, and innovation, as well as history, sociology, and more.
“We are coming out of a socio-political and economic environment where the game was settled and all you needed was for managers to know how to do pony tricks,” says Daniel Traça from the Nova School of Business and Economics in Lisbon. .
Meanwhile, new students want shorter, flexible, and more personalized programs with more stackable programs. An increase in demand for pre-experience graduate programs and a flattening or decline in demand in the traditional MBA means business schools need to better adapt to student needs.
All interviewees in the report mentioned the need to emphasize lifelong learning rather than the transactional structure of current curricula. Educational options should be available throughout a candidate’s life and career.
“I see a certain fatigue with traditional business degrees,” explains Josep Franch, dean of the Esade Business School. “The market is looking for different and non-traditional types of offerings.”
With the demand for managerial expertise at an all-time high due to major global disruptions, Cambridge Dean Mauro Guillen tells GMAC, business schools need to innovate to stay relevant.
They must also define their raison d’être and their strategy to differentiate themselves in a landscape where the whole world is now the market. “There are thousands of business schools around the world because we had a retail model, a location-based model, where you had to come to a campus,” says Marion Debruyne, dean of Vlerick Business School. in Belgium. “With all the digital possibilities, the question is when this geographical differentiation disappears, what is left in terms of location-based differentiation and differentiation writ large?” She therefore sees a real need for schools to define “what makes your school special”.
Schools will therefore need to define what makes them special through adaptation, experimentation and transformation. “This change mindset, however, is redundant if not applied across the organization, a process requiring leadership that realizes the power of people,” the report concludes.
Read the full report here.
DON’T MISS P&Q’S INTERVIEW WITH INSEAD DEAN ILIAN MIHOV