Current influence of social networks in business schools

In the last three articles leading up to this one today, we’ve been looking at different aspects of disruptive innovation, from how business schools compete in a disruptive market to how to harness the power of disruptive innovation to establish a winning strategy. From what we see, at present it is a subject of extraordinary validity and what does not usually happen frequently is that simultaneously the doctrine immediately echoes all this disruptive revolution.

Today we will address the question of how these technologies are transforming education, in particular entrepreneurship education.

Education and social media

Social media is an area in which the education sector is beginning to allow disruptive technologies to enter. And how could it be otherwise, social networking websites are one of the ways that business schools are trying to attract candidates to their various courses, especially online.

While social media is increasingly emerging as an important means of attracting applicants, on at least two continents, Africa and Asia, a recent study of students studying MBA offerings has shown that networks social are essential or very important to attract applications. Additionally, many applicants have been found to use LinkedIn to search for information on business schools, and this and other sites are used to match the schools against each other.

Because what you want to know is the opinion of people who have already attended a course, and who are interested in knowing what they think of the program, the teachers, the relationship established with the students, etc.

Thanks to this novel and rapid evolution that is taking place in the postgraduate market, social networks are also being adopted by the management of the business schools themselves to develop both their market research and their promotions and marketing campaigns.

According to some of the studies that we have been able to review, only the candidates for postgraduate courses who do it offline have currently been reduced to 15%, since the vast majority use email or social networks. The first logical reaction from business schools has been to bolster their social and digital media marketing budgets. This is also based on the fact that it has been observed through each school’s own experience and published studies, that students are no longer solely interested in MBA rankings, but prefer to research online and on social media sites to see personal perspectives of students and understand how the alumni network works.

This means that business schools have focused on understanding which social media channels their potential new students like to use.

Facebook the students’ favorite

All available data estimates that 35% of postgraduate course candidates use Facebook to conduct research on courses and schools, which means that business schools must understand and effectively manage their reputation online in different social networks. What is said about them, opinion, etc.

Another way to keep in touch with both potential students and alumni, is through their Twitter account, because they are establishing a direct and personal relationship, in the same way that they have also started using video interviews in their approach both to accept as to remove candidates.

YouTube, Vimeo or other video platforms are also widely used by business schools as a way to demonstrate what their programs have to offer.

Harvard Business School is a good example of a school that cleverly uses social media to advertise its programs. The example of Harvard Business School is very good, because its videos skillfully play with narration and cinematographic language, to convey the main messages that they want to give and that affect the current time in which we live.

They want to show that also despite the prestige of being considered the No. 1 business school in the world, it is interconnected with this real world, which is diverse and instantaneous where we can all learn, also in a global classroom.

Another added value that social networks provide to business schools is to give potential candidates the opportunity to connect with current students or former students to discover the reality of what the school is like and what they can expect. The opinion of those who previously passed is a fundamental piece of information when deciding. Obviously, another of the keys by which it is essential to control social networks very well from the direction of business schools.

The consequence for candidates is to benefit from first-hand knowledge and this allows them to select the programs to apply that are the best fit for them.

Disruptive technologies as an educational tool

If business schools now use disruptive technologies as marketing tools, what about the examples of programs that use digital technologies as educational tools? Certainly, the quick answer to this question will be MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course), which are massive and open online courses as an online learning modality that is booming worldwide, targeting an unlimited number of participants through the Internet, according to the principle of open and mass education. So can other online learning platforms.

From an analysis of the international market based on all the information we have, it can easily be concluded that while some educational areas have been quick to adopt MOOCs, business education seems to be taking a more cautious approach. We should ask ourselves why of this gap, although one of the big questions facing educators right now is, should business schools enter the format of online education? Also the answer is not in doubt and must be yes, but nevertheless, business schools have been grappling with this question for a long time.

And although they see the need to update themselves clearly, there are some reasons that make us doubt not the concept, because at this point it is agreed that we must follow the train of innovation, but in terms of the opportunity factor.

Harvard Business School itself has faced this issue, like the rest of the institutions, although in the case of Harvard Business School, which is recognized for its excellence in business strategy issues, curiously there has been the paradox that the agreement among Harvard professors on whether the school should offer online education and, if so, how to do so, became an obstacle to faster development of online courses. And although it seems to be a meaningless debate since either all educational institutions adapt to the current times or otherwise they will not be able to survive, there is a point of reason regarding certain reservations that have to do with the fact that the online mechanism it could lead to a reduction in the value of face-to-face courses.

Once again, the Harvard example provides us with valuable insight into why established MBA’s have been so careful about adopting disruptive technologies. They are for the work of online training without limitations, but the top management of the most important schools in the world is thinking that online courses should be produced in such a way that it does not devalue the current strategy, and as we have anticipated in another previous article, must be developed cheaply and easily and must be online.

In 2014, Harvard Business School decided to develop a “pre-MBA” that is available online. The program is called HBX and does not compete with the traditional Harvard Business School MBA. Rather, it is a new product line that helps students develop their readiness for the Harvard program. One of its main mentors, Bharat Anand, a business professor and faculty president, argued at the time that HBX’s main goal was to provide a resource to professionals who never formally studied business but who wanted to fill that gap in their education.

HBX now has three educational components: HBX Core, HBX Courses, and Live HBX. Recreating the classrooms on his campus online was the primary objective. HBX Live! is a digital learning environment that will allow students from all over the world to connect in a single study classroom in real time. The only course available in HBX courses today is Disruptive Strategy and the program uses its own platform, as well as free online platforms such as facebook, youtube and vimeo.

The purpose of HBX live! was to achieve the discussion-based approach of the conventional MBA. Through the HBX live! students can see the location and name of other students on a map when they participate. Then they get a video clip and frames that appear on the screen. Students respond to the questions in the box and then are asked what they learned to measure their proficiency. Live forums are also used and private Facebook groups abound for each group.

Some of the criticism of the online approach taken by Harvard is that there is not enough separation and disruption. On the other hand, the core team is working to improve the program.

In a recent essay published by Anand, Hammond, and Narayanan, the HBX Core faculty, teachers mention how: “As we continue to experiment and explore the potential of online learning, HBX has made a conscious decision to embrace social learning as on. of the principles to anchor your programs online. Online education in general has not recognized the great potential of social and collaborative learning”.

Antonio Alonso, president of the AEEN (Spanish Business School Association) and general secretary of EUPHE (European Union of Private Higher Education)