A cost-benefits analysis of MBAs is long overdue

World

A cost-benefits analysis of MBAs is long overdue

Business schools are no longer giving employers what they need, so what needs to change?

Chris Stokel-Walker

MBA programmes have traditionally been the finishing school for ambitious students, who hand over $100,000 for a year or two of studies that promise to jump-start high-paying careers. That venerable formula is showing signs of strain, according to executive education consultants CarringtonCrisp in London.

The company surveyed 508 employers from 22 countries this year and found that 77% believe the MBA needs some form of makeover. Since the 2008 financial crisis, companies and business schools have drifted apart, says Andrew Crisp, co-founder of CarringtonCrisp. The coronavirus pandemic has worsened the disparity by spurring shifts in the economy and the way we work. “There’s this mismatch between what employers are looking for and what many of the business schools are offering,” he says.

MBA programmes focus heavily on corporate finance. Employers want graduates to also be able to handle strategic projects such as broad-scale digital transformation, according to the consultancy, which published the survey results in July. Many respondents said the MBA degree must evolve to be relevant for the future, and they were interested in changes to the delivery of education, including co-creation of content with business schools; approaches to taking a degree that don’t involve full-time study; and short, inexpensive and flexible programmes that deliver appropriate skills for employees and meet the requirements of lifelong learning...

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