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  • Lynsey Graham MD

MBA Programs

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

By Lynsey Graham

Blue Ocean Strategy

The article highlights the shift in MBA programmes towards greater flexibility, customisation, and skills focus, advocating for differentiated offerings that align with real-world needs.

This comprehensive article provides an in-depth examination of the modern challenges facing Business Schools and MBA programs globally. The pandemic has disrupted conventional education, leading to a significant drop in enrolment and a shift towards online and hybrid programmes. Current and prospective students are looking for flexibility, both in terms of scheduling and program customisation. Employers, on the other hand, are seeking graduates with not only technical skills but also soft skills like writing, critical thinking, public speaking and teamwork.

A survey conducted by Wiley, an educational company, shed light on the most significant challenges faced by MBA programs, such as declining enrolment, differentiation from other programs, and enhancement of students' analytical and job-ready skills. Specialised MBA programs, focusing on specific skill sets, have been a growing trend, with enrolment increasing by 19% in 2021.

The article also noted areas for improvement, especially concerning the skills prospective and current MBA students often lack, such as analysis, research, critical thinking and writing. As a result, there is a push towards providing customisable, relevant and real-world training to address these gaps.

As per the survey findings, differentiation, real-world projects and experiences and training in soft skills are deemed vital for a competitive MBA program. To address the real-world needs, schools are focusing on in-demand skills like data analysis, optimising current offerings for effectiveness and efficiency and offering boot camps and pre-MBA courses.

The article highlighted the rising acceptance of online business degrees, with more than 70% of employers considering them equal or superior to traditional programs. Consequently, business schools are offering programs in various formats, with self-paced customisable modules allowing students to tailor their learning experiences.

Furthermore, the MBA programs need to be flexible and regularly updated to align with the evolving job market's needs. Industry-specific badges and certificates could enhance the credibility of an MBA degree and networking opportunities and career guidance can help students apply their skills practically.

Finally, the article underscores the need for MBA programs to stand out by offering flexible, customisable programs that provide in-demand skills. Wiley offers a suite of services to assist in this endeavour, including real-world content, customisation options, certifications and skills courses. With these resources, business schools can provide the training today's students require and remain competitive in the evolving educational landscape.

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