Look To Markets & Social Change for New Era of MBA

What does a New Era of MBA mean to you?

I think it’s important to know the current and future direction of the MBA. So, several months ago I decided to figure some things out. I wanted to put traditional assumptions in the background and re-learn: 1) what the MBA credential is all about?;  and, 2) what it means for prospective candidates today? Then, I proceeded to immerse myself in multiple aspects of all things MBA. From MBA students to institutions to degrees to employers, I have been schooled. I plan to cover more specifics of what I learned in a subsequent post. As I was gathering information, I realized the only way to intelligently answer the question was to frame it. The remainder of this post attempts to do just that.

According to some estimates the MBA dates back 114 years. Its popularity has been unprecedented. By 2012, it had become the most successful graduate degree ever conferred in the United States (see chart below). Given the sheer force and magnitude of its history we should expect it to change. Although I have read of its supposed demise from scores of commentators (i.e., most have agendas and realize benefits if it does), and understand the many challenges it faces, I am encouraged by positive developments I see as it tries to remain relevant in a new era.

MBAMostPopularDegreePerhaps the pace of change in education is not fast enough for some, but I think that’s because no one person nor single organization owns the MBA degree. It is a shared resource and more subject to the ebbs and flows of our world than the manic pace of technology change; and, let’s face it, who’s totally capable of keeping up with changing technology? Therefore, I see the MBA being more connected to and predicated upon markets and social change.

No doubt the business world is far different today than when the MBA started but so too are the generation of students, schools and employers that currently feed into and take from the MBA degree. Some signs of change are also revealing themselves in the marketplace, which should be noted because events occur in markets before we realize what is actually happening.

So, I have an idea. Using the marketplace and social change, let’s put our heads together and predict the new era of MBA. Under the heading to this article with #NewEraMBA in your response, please generously add your comments to this post and any other social media you use.

Likewise, in my next set of entries, I will use the guidelines above and attempt to cover important developments I see happening in this #NewEraMBA. In a last installment to this series, I will highlight thoughtful trends from all who have kindly shared their opinions with me. Finally, given enough feedback, I will organize all of the great ideas, credit all co-contributors and publish a final report.

Let’s see what we can come up with. Judging from the recent series of Presidential debates, I bet this exercise will be a lot more productive than government’s attempt to reform education. Thanks for reading, sharing and offering up all of your valuable opinions.

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