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Anna Farrus

The author is Director of MBA Recruitment and Admissions, IMD

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BW Businessworld

Future Of Education Is Global And Digital

Millennials are now the main target audience for MBAs, with Generation Z about to join the MBA market. The needs of these future leaders have shifted significantly compared to the needs of previous generations.

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Emerging populism, new technology every day, volatile global economies the business landscape is complex and business education must continuously adapt to keep up with it. The MBA is at the heart of management learning, but the current world environment is putting the programme to the test. 

One of the best gauges of the health of the MBA programme is the GMAT admissions test used by 7,000 programmes and more than 2,300 business schools around the world. The stewards of that test, The Graduate Management Admissions Council, report a 0.6 per cent decrease in test-takers. Moreover, only 64 per cent of the scores sent to business schools in 2018 were sent to MBA programmes. Around half the test takers being under 25 may explain one of the most significant developments in postgraduate business education – the emergence of many master’s in management programmes and other innovations around more traditional MBA programmes.

This is how the world of business education has kept up with all the current political, regulatory, governance and technological challenges facing businesses and young managers. These are exciting times; MBA programmes are adapting to collectively reinvigorate the industry. The role of the MBA is as relevant as ever. 

Millennials are now the main target audience for MBAs, with Generation Z about to join the MBA market. The needs of these future leaders have shifted significantly compared to the needs of previous generations, and these will continue to change as time goes by. The way these generations learn, and work, is different. The idea of lifelong education is becoming more and more relevant, and skills must be constantly updated to allow for a more agile and flexible career journey.

At IMD, we have thought long and hard about what all this means for our MBA programme and its participants. Working closely with our faculty and with recruiting companies from around the world, our MBA programme is anchored in our understanding of their talent requirements: leadership development. Companies come to IMD first and foremost to find future leaders of their organisations. Leaders from now on will have to operate effectively in an environment which will be more global, more digital and more entrepreneurial.

Global: There is no denying that the world is becoming more global. Companies expect their leaders to be able to bring this perspective and have a bigger impact. Our MBA is extremely diverse and creates a space where our MBAs are able to understand different perspectives and viewpoints. 

Digital: We don’t really know where technology will take us in the near future, let alone in the long term. But digitalisation is increasing and that is the direction all companies are taking. Our MBA has a digital component in every subject being taught, allowing our participants to immerse themselves in the digitalisation of businesses.

Entrepreneurial: Organisations expect their leaders to be more agile, flexible and innovative. Being able to think outside the box and implement ideas and changes in a fast-moving environment is key to the success of all companies. 

We believe that future leaders will have to be comfortable in these environments and be able to adapt quickly to whatever new situation they face. Organisations face uncertainty daily, and so the MBAs who will become the leaders of these companies must be able to deal with a high level of ambiguity while being able to adapt to the ever-changing environment of organisations around the world.



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