August 30, 2021
Does today’s MBA education fall short?
Old models are missing the mark in today’s new learning environment. In 1999, Mark Kretovics—at that time, the assistant dean at Colorado State University’s College of Business—conducted a study of MBA graduates. He analyzed twelve specific competencies deemed important for performing well in business. He then looked at how MBA students got their education in those competencies. He wanted to know the extent to which differences in student learning outcomes are influenced by instructional modality—on campus, via distance learning, or in an executive MBA program.
The results were significant—and surprising. Kretovics found that traditional models of business education aren’t necessarily the ‘gold standard’. In Kretovics’ study, the distance MBA students self-reported much higher scores than students than their MBA peers who studied on campus. The distance students performed significantly better in learning outcomes related to technology skills, quantitative skills, and theory skills. …. five critical areas that other MBAs did not do well in, especially leadership and relationships.
In 2008, Steven Hillmer and Canan Kocabasoglu of the University of Kansas focused their research to understand the needs of organizations who employ MBA students. Their goal was to know what employers want and need from the graduates of MBA programs—with an eye on improving those programs. The results of their in-depth inquiry indicated that the traditional focus of MBA programs, “knowledge of fundamental business concepts,” was ranked no higher than 12th out of 15 dimensions studied.
If business was utterly predictable and formulaic, then a “cookie cutter” business education would serve its student, and the companies that hire those students, well. But businesses today want to hire people who are skilled in teaming, thinking creatively, and leading diverse employee groups through change and competition on a global scale.
To produce leaders like that, most universities need to transform their business education to reflect today’s business environment. In the view of many, current MBA education does not prepare students for the new world of business—a world that requires collaboration as much as competition, fresh ways of looking at problems, and leaders that motivate teams.
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Wright Graduate University’s business-focused programs develop and hone the complex skills that today’s workplace demands — leadership, emotional and social intelligence, strategic thinking, critical thinking, consulting, problem-solving, communication, and team building.
Investing in yourself as a whole person and leader will do more to catapult your career and emphasize your unique talents, rather than only focusing on the mechanics of business – being a great leader takes both.