Some years ago, precisely coinciding with the beginning of the International Financial Crisis of 2008-2009, many analysts, critics and even academics, wondered if business schools were teaching in their famous MBA and other postgraduate courses, the correct knowledge that should be applied in specific situations.
In other words, it is nothing new and this has continued throughout these years, even more so with the profound digital transformation that is taking place in societies (especially organizations), but even with more momentum the question arises from the Covid-19.
And for this reason, from OUR EDITORIAL STAFF, we are going to review, in our opinion, what the current situation is.
As some analysts have pointed out for the past ten years, no form of education is more commercialized than postgraduate training. And then once again the million dollar question: are business schools teaching the right things?
A first issue that must be taken into account is that precisely when there is an economic crisis, there is an increase in enrollment because in difficult times in the labor market there are more decisions to enroll in a postgraduate degree. On the opposite side, when there is a decline in postgraduate course choices it is an unmistakable sign that there is an improvement in the business cycle.
But the approach that we are formulating today, taking into account this difference of greater or lesser demand for postgraduate courses depending on the economic cycle, focuses on the quality and ownership (adaptation to the environment and needs of the moment) of the curricular contents.
Business schools have been facing increased competition on a global scale in recent years. And this was the case until the outbreak of the pandemic. But in the post-Covid-19 stage in which we find ourselves, there are many educational institutions that were affected and those that remain (also on a global scale) are thinking strategically in a different way than they did: because it is not only quality education and training, but what we call “opportunity of curricular content” of the different programs.
There has certainly been a major transformation in the way business schools operate in the aftermath of the pandemic, because fundamental changes have been detected in the structure of the business school market, and perhaps in what they teach and how they teach it.
Relationship between program content and job opportunities
When companies are demanding (job offers) a series of positions that require certain training in NT’s, they are also looking for people with a very good demonstrated academic record (whether, for example, who is studying or has already finished an MBA). On the candidate side, it is obvious that people yearn for the highest income (also stability) and believe that these goals may be possible if they have postgraduate training that opens the doors to an entrepreneurial career.
Business schools have always sold themselves as a way for students to increase their income. In other words, at all times, what prevails to convince candidates is “the improvement of careers, measured mainly in terms of salary, of their graduates.” Which, although it is true, must be qualified enough, since what an MBA candidate is looking for without a doubt, is for his field of professional action to be opened, and if he already has a job, he aspires to a command intermission shortly. But, it is not only the remuneration, but the position that he acquires, the recognition for a training that is a minority that can afford it in front of a great majority of university graduates. In other words, he joins a kind of club of privileged people who are supposed to predominate in the jobs, middle managers and, from now on, in the empowerment of the much-needed new generation of business leaders.
Diversify and grow
The situation that the current training market is posing to business schools after the strong impact suffered by the pandemic is well known: they have basically turned to online training and little by little recover face-to-face courses without neglecting the hybrid training that combines both forms of teaching.
The question is whether the programs have been adapted to the current moment. For example, in recent years there has been an increase in short courses that do not lead to an MBA-type accreditation, but are in demand because they offer training to a series of managers and / or middle managers who are in the middle of their career and who they are also easily pro-cyclical (companies can invest in them in boom years) thus offsetting countercyclical swings in MBA demand.
Likewise, it is not easy for a company to have proof of the return on its investment in the postgraduate training of a chosen employee who is going to occupy positions of responsibility. You have to look at it not only for what that person earns (his improvement) but for the added contribution he is making to the position he occupies, which will surely be an improvement in the productivity not only personal but of his department and / or team that he directs.
However, business schools have now come under fire from several (sometimes contradictory) directions: for paying too much attention to the return on investment of their students, for example, and yet for not providing value for money; also because they are too academic and because they are too concerned with teaching basic practical skills, many of which have become obsolete if the programs or part of them are not permanently adjusted according to how the markets operate and what the impact of the technological innovation, especially in business thinking.
Undoubtedly, what is known as strategic thinking cannot be nourished by practices that are outdated or that are far from the current reality.
Of course, business schools can be important primarily as a selection mechanism; your basic skill may be to choose students, not just train them. Furthermore, business schools certainly work very hard, much harder than other educational institutions, to get their students into the job market. They employ many people from their teams, as well as counselors and professors who help to help graduate students so that they can find work (starting with internships) in companies with which they have an agreement and / or with other types of institutions.
At present, after the great world events such as the Paris meeting for climate change, or the very recent one in Glasgow, it can be seen with a simple reading in the different school programs, a substantial change in terms of concepts of sustainability and neutral actions (of negative effect) made by the man on the environment.
Therefore, when in the title of our contribution today we refer to whether are business schools incorporating the correct curricular content based on the 2030 horizon?, we can say that yes, that seen many programs it is evident that between the pandemic and the natural disasters that have been devastating the planet, there has been a greater sensitivity on the part of the political and business class in general, so they cannot be exempted of this responsibility the business schools, which are one more organization in the economic and social spectrum. But with an addition that other organizations or institutions cannot have: they are the ones that are forming the new management class and also from which the new leaders will emerge who will be at the forefront of organizations and why not governments when we are in 2030.
If there is something in the strategic thinking that business schools have been teaching for years, it is that you have to be able to anticipate. Also responsiveness, as business schools have shown in the face of the impact of the pandemic.
For this reason, in addition to sustainability, we see many programs with a special interest in business ethics, in healthy commercial practices and that are instilled as key attributes of professionalism, that is, the integrity of the people who make up this new ruling class that looks at the 2030 horizon with a very different vision. And of course it will be to the one that thirty years ago the managers had, who only gave an answer to the shareholders in terms of profit maximization. Today it is the shareholders themselves who are looking for a social impact with a demonstrated responsibility in their business actions that make the brand grow because consumers and society in general see that this company is in line with the 2030 horizon.
We must also clarify that the contents that take into account the 2030 horizon, some of them are not yet included in the programs, for the simple reason that nobody knows them. And this is so, since the level of acceleration of robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, virtual reality, neurosciences, 3D printing, environment and the very current generation of energy through renewables, are undoubtedly a number of factors. that no manager who is in leadership functions can be unaware, but any of these factors, thanks to innovation, can undergo drastic changes that have to be considered in practice, and of course, in the curricular contents of business school programs .
Postgraduate training for the next few years will have to take into account that it will be training new managers and leaders who by the 2030 horizon will be physically and mentally full for their age, let’s say they are those in their thirties today. The contents will have to be reviewed in 2022, 2023 and following. It is a non-stop. The sustainability of business schools (pun intended) will be based on the quality of teaching and this will depend 100% on the timeliness of the content, beyond what is basic in business learning.
This information has been prepared by OUR EDITORIAL STAFF