The main stakeholders in expanding the groups of talented students are the Business Schools themselves
The issue is that business schools seek to attract more talent, as well as all those groups of candidates that are under-represented (that is, they belong to minority groups).
Companies create jobs, but they also have demands regarding the talent they want to perform that role and responsibility.
For this reason, there are stories that perfectly describe what is happening in the international postgraduate training market. This is the case of a young Georgian woman, Tako Barsonidze, who without a scholarship or some kind of help could not afford an executive MBA. Like many women, financial factors remain the main barrier to enrolling in business school.
In Tako Barsonidze’s situation, her concerns arose from the fact that she worked in a middle-income economy, the former Soviet republic of Georgia, and furthermore she belongs to a family from a low-income background.
The 33-year-old, who started her course in September 2022, was raised by a single mother in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the Georgian economy. “We were very poor,” she says. She was inspired to work in business by her grandfather, who taught himself how to fix cars outside the family home and saved them from starvation. “Since I was a child, I have appreciated that companies create jobs,” she adds.
What did she see at the famous London Business School?
She was undoubtedly struck by the London Business School (LBS) EMBA as a way to transition from a legal career to consulting or entrepreneurship. But without a scholarship that covered 50 percent of the $137,100 tuition, she couldn’t have justified the expense. “For me, even half of it was difficult. I also plan to use a loan,” says Barsonidze, who is chief lawyer at the Georgian Power Exchange, the operator of the electricity market. “My salary, which is good for Georgia, is not good enough for European prices.”
Financial aid tool
Financial aid is a tool used by many business schools to attract EMBA participants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including women and black students, as well as those from broader socioeconomic backgrounds.
Barsonidze received her scholarship from the Laidlaw Women’s Leadership Fund. Since 2020, the fund has supported 60 women to pursue a degree in LBS, thanks to a £3.69 million grant from the Laidlaw Foundation.
The school itself has increased its EMBA scholarship budget by 188% year-over-year as employer funding for these expensive degrees has declined.
Also note that there are fewer women and people of color in executive ranks.
While diversity is seen as important for business success and learning outcomes, schools have struggled to address imbalances among underrepresented groups. The picture varies globally, but for example, 33% of FT-ranked EMBA students in 2022 were women. Data from AACSB, the accrediting body, shows that 8.5% of EMBA students in the United States are black or African-American citizens (compared to 12.4% of Americans in 2020).
The cost barrier
Cost is the main barrier that prevents many people from accepting business school offers. In the United States, 30% of female applicants listed funding as their top concern, compared with 9% of men, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council.
That’s because, in the years after college and before an EMBA, women are more likely to work in lower-paying industries, according to Arnold Longboy, executive director of recruiting and admissions at LBS. “Something we’re trying to do is diversify away from the traditional candidate pools: finance and consulting,” he says. “If you look at the education, non-profit or public sectors, there tends to be a higher representation of women in senior positions. So we had to change our mindset in terms of who we’re going to.”
Less chances of promotion for women
Michael O’Leary, senior associate dean for graduate programs and executive degrees at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in Washington DC, says EMBAs are crippled by the structure of the job market. He points out that in the United States women outnumber men at the undergraduate level, and their participation in the labor force now rivals that of men; however, women are less likely to be promoted.
“When you get to the executive ranks, the composition of the job market is skewed,” says O’Leary. “There are fewer women and people of color in those ranks compared to white men, and therefore fewer of them are enrolling in EMBA programs. So we are competing for a smaller fraction of the job market.”
Reconciling studies with work: more flexible programs
Another challenge is that EMBA candidates studying part-time are juggling their degree with professional and personal commitments. Although this means they maintain income, O’Leary says “this is the biggest barrier” to an EMBA, especially for people with childcare responsibilities. Since women continue to bear most of this burden, it can make an EMBA program less accessible to them.
Georgetown has tried to address this problem by making the EMBA program more flexible, increasing the proportion that is taught online, and reducing the amount of travel required. In the 2021-22 academic year, the proportion of women in the school’s EMBA cohorts was 45% above average, while the proportion of US citizens and permanent residents who are ethnic minorities was 47%.
When support comes from employers
Some business schools are investing in their career services as the proportion of EMBA candidates switching employers increases, as it is employers who make it easy to make it possible to finance all or part of the cost of the course. Therefore, for candidates who are looking for their next job, schools have the opportunity to attract these candidates by providing them with a special service that translates into a reduction of dollars or euros in their tuition. In the opinion of Yael Grushka-Cockayne, senior associate dean of professional degree programs at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia in the United States, “I believe that these activities are directly related to diversity, since it allows various people who they couldn’t justify the expense, they feel that they get the return much faster”.
Flexible entry requirements
Schools are also easing entry requirements to be able to recruit from a broader pool. At Insead, founded in France, prospective EMBA students can take the Executive Assessment (EA), a short-time admission test. Shorter than traditional exams, EAs may require less preparation, through courses and training, which can be expensive.
Katy Montgomery, associate dean of degree programs at Insead, says cultivating a diverse learning environment is becoming a priority for business schools because it allows EMBA participants to work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds.
“People will be doing business globally,” she says, “so you have to be aware of your biases, default values, and you have to be open-minded and sensitive and aware of how you work with others. At the end of the day, it makes management more effective.”
The New (Collective) Talent Strategy
Towards a new collective strategy on talent
Given the growing demands of companies for business schools to take the lead in training talent so that the current social and economic reality can be better addressed by executives who are increasingly more prepared for a global and complex world, they demand to face the different challenges training and training programs for those who will become the new business leaders.
Peter Tufano, Dean of the Said School in Oxford, is very clear in pointing out that specifically there is a need to broaden the curriculum to offer a better foundation in philosophy and ethics to reinforce the understanding of the role of business in society and the science behind it. of climate change and the operation of complex systems to ensure that businesses are sustainable. Additionally, business schools must embody and celebrate diversity, which means reassessing the narrow financial measures by which success is graded.
The multiplicity of stakeholders
As companies are called upon to be more purposeful and in tune with a wide range of stakeholders and negotiate their interests, it is clear that business schools must respond to their demands. So they need to research and teach the skills required to respond to all stakeholders.
The Business Roundtable statement and the Davos Manifesto are statements of intent for companies to recognize and promote the interests of multiple stakeholders, rather than simply accepting shareholder primacy. To make these good intentions a reality, business schools must:
– Teach students to understand the nature and implications of stakeholder capitalism.
– Create courses that enable students to understand the needs and concerns of all stakeholders, rather than treating them as instrumental groups to be addressed in the service of enhancing shareholder value.
– Create new metrics to capture the degree to which companies are addressing the needs of their broader constituencies.
– Research and design new feedback mechanisms (e.g., new forms of management accounting and stakeholder accounting, new investment return measures, new contractual structures to create incentives to promote stakeholder interests, etc.).
The need for inclusion
As companies are called upon to become more inclusive, so too must business schools. Existing research amply demonstrates that more diverse environments produce better results. Beyond this reality, we need to admit and educate leaders a quarter century from now. Where will the world need greater management and leadership skills to face the challenges of the horizon 2030 and beyond?
Many schools are working to achieve greater gender balance, but much more will have to be done. It is almost certain that the world’s business leaders in 2045 will not be 60-70% American, the current composition of most US business schools. Therefore, schools must proactively approach now to find and train talent in those regions where management skills will be most needed in a generation.
If society in general is serious about the need to be more inclusive, there are many opinions that say that the current metric of success for MBA rankings should be completely rejected: salaries. The salaries of MBA alumni three years after graduation represent 43% of the Financial Times Ranking and a higher fraction in other rankings. However, the Financial Times’ own data on MBA graduates shows that men earn 16% more than women three years after graduation. And it is known that the geographical and sectoral differences are even more extreme.
The convergence of talent between organizations and Bbusiness Schools
The present times are more extraordinary than ordinary. Especially after the end of a pandemic that collapsed the economy of the entire world during 2020 and 2021. Therefore, we are going to look for how this convergence should be established:
1º) The isolation of the teams must be ended and the talent made use of seamlessly
It’s time to put an end to talent management strategies that are siled across departments in organizations. The trend is that different teams need to come together with their unique perspectives to get to the ultimate business goal.
Gone are the days when employees were simply hired to do all the tasks. In the same way, the bad habit of not strategically aligning the work of suppliers with the work of employees has also been eradicated. This implies that the objectives of the internal teams in the organizations do not cross, but rather converge.
In the new world of work, HR, Talent Acquisition, Strategic Sourcing and Finance will work closely together, aligning on talent strategy, sourcing channels, and especially considering performance and cost. The tools will make it possible to improve transparency and collaboration among members of the corporate family of any organization.
2º) The talent strategy will be a collective effort, not isolated
The Talent Acquisition, Business Partner HR, Finance, Contingent Workforce and Strategic Sourcing teams of managers will work together to ensure their respective key business groups understand and articulate the work they want to do, the work being worked on currently, its objectives, what are the deviations that must be corrected and the best supply channels to meet its objectives.
Academic and business discussions and debates should consider the following aspects regarding the required skills
Regarding the work: what is the role to be performed versus type of project and need for the required skill; what is the basic knowledge and experience required versus what is not essential or basic. In other words, what education and training is required.
In terms of speed: time to hire, time to productivity, taking advantage of known relationships.
Regarding the cost: expected permanence of the salary + benefits or rate, or rate of payment + profit margin.
Employee commitment: Efforts must be made to motivate talent and also to communicate this, so that the policy regarding the search for and retention of the best talent is known.
Regarding the management of work teams: enablement of management, collaboration and training.
Regarding quality: how to define, measure, track and share the quality of work, and how it should be incorporated into all processes.
Regarding risk: competitive alternatives, possible delays, required compliance.
These new Collective Talent Strategies will produce more efficient and sophisticated results
Operational teams will enable mature processes around recruiting and talent management activities. Managers will be able to make better business decisions based on data and expand their options, being able to go from one decision alternative to several complementary and equally valid ones.
Cross-functional collaboration and goal setting
Cross-functional goals will give teams the priorities they need to make decisions. Instead of isolated goals, the idea is to focus on talent acquisition that cares only about employees and building alliances to influence better decisions.
No longer will a single reason be the decisive factor, it will be a complementary consideration along with several other possibilities that will have to be considered. The new philosophy will have teams working together to help advise the company using a whole workforce perspective. Trust will be built between teams when concerns are understood and respected among their peers. The objectives will be understood by all and worked on collectively.
Arrangements for these teams to meet at least twice a year as a collective group to discuss the talent pipeline, the projects at stake, the skills needed, and the prioritized deliverables will keep all parties abreast of the most important developments in the business and the role of each team in driving success.
Increased talent search channels
The world is a big place and there are lots of new ways to find and attract talent. Managers who understand their different sourcing and compensation options will make better decisions about how to get the job done. With collective intelligence and guidance from HR, Talent Acquisition, Strategic Sourcing and Finance, sourcing considerations and best paths will become clear.
Understanding how to most effectively fill or grow skill gaps allows teams to scale, prioritize, and be agile. Different sourcing channels will have different benefits to consider. Understanding the market where they are currently going with regard to an in-demand skill set is key to understanding how to best attract and engage them.
Talent’s commitment preference
One of the most growing differences is the commitment preference of talent; some may not want to be an employee. How do you continue to draw the skill set to complete the job? The skill sets you want may come in the form of a consulting team or a contractor rather than an employee. Or if time is a factor and it normally takes 6 months to hire an employee, it might be more efficient to hire a well-known specialist provider first. Managers who understand sourcing trade-offs will make better-informed talent decisions.
Operational Efficiencies for Managers
Instead of separate workflows, managers will experience consolidated processes that effectively help them search for the various shades of talent in the marketplace, and within the company as well. Instead of moving from one group to another, the work will be centralized in teams that understand both sides and get the manager into the best channel.
There will no longer be an onboarding team for employees and another for non-employees; an application form for this and another four for that. Workflows will be created with administrator efficiency and experience in mind. Fear of joint work will not lead to ineffective operations.
Better and tangible manager training
People management is a fundamental principle within teams. Today, training is largely based on providing employee performance evaluations, difficult discussions, and compliance-related issues.
However, very little vendor management training is done. If there is any training available on the contingent workforce, it is usually in the form of “don’t treat them like employees” rather than the more necessary “How to effectively manage standards, outcomes and goals across the workforce?”
Among large organizations, there is rarely any training on how to use your budget, monitor vendor projects, or, more tactically, how to write a good statement of work (SOW). The statement of work or Statement of Work (SOW) is a description of the specific services that a provider is expected to perform, indicating the type, level and quality of the service, as well as a schedule of deadlines and times.
One of the biggest training gaps is how teams should work with an outsourced provider and manage their KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
The gaps stem from no one team owning the entire lifecycle of the vendor workforce. With the new way of working, collective education and guidance will allow managers to be more effective in managing their workforce. Basic talent management principles and tactical training will provide perspective on how best to find, engage, and collectively produce with employees and non-employees.
Greater knowledge and understanding of the total workforce
With cross-functional teams working together, data collection will be normalized to see the big picture. Shared data, metrics and goals will allow companies to better understand how work is actually being done and whether or not it is going well. Work tracked in a way that considers all data attributes will tell the best story.
One place where all teams see the same set of data helps build trust, a set of facts, and a collective sense of ownership of data integrity. Being able to see how employees, contractors, and suppliers are working together productively and profitably will allow the business to understand what is working well and what needs to change.
Actual Workforce Planning
And out of all this, transparency, crowdsourcing, data and efficiency, real planning can take place.
We can understand how time to fill affects productivity, we can see which talent is performing best, we can see who are partners and who are employees, and we can see when and why we needed multiple workers.
So we can say “let’s do it again” or “let’s make a change”. We can consider whether this will require more of the same or different, both in the short and long term. We can make predictions, change resources, and find ways to do it better, faster, and with more value.
Progressive HR Business Partners
The scope of an HRBP or Human Resources Business Partner who is a human resources specialist who, instead of being part of the company’s HR department, and who works closely with the company’s management, is part of its council management or integrated into a specific business area, it will soon be expanded to encompass elements of all talent search potentials. As they sit down with the companies they support, they’ll be able to gain perspective from their cross-functional partners to help teams forecast, plan and strategize on how best to achieve their goals.
With a more modern perspective on how talent can be engaged, new ideas and thought leadership can be easily shared. If they need deeper level experts, they will know who to bring into the conversation, as they already do with Compensation, Benefits, Learning and Development and HRIT (High Rate Information Transmission).
What’s next in the world of work? The other question: What will be the role of business schools?
Without a doubt, we are immersed in change and there are still more to come. Neither technology stops nor societies and countries. Therefore, the paradigm shift on talent affects all types of organizations, of course also postgraduate institutions.
The isolated forms we are working on today will be something that once was: a relic of how older companies once worked. Redundant and confusing processes. A crowdsourced talent strategy will bring teams closer together with aligned business goals and arm their colleagues with broader perspectives and real data to drive decisions.
The role of business schools will not only continue to be important for individual talent and the personal career of each individual, but it will also be essential for this new collective vision of talent applied to organizations.