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Doomsday for the MBA schools?

04 Dec 11:00 by Charlotte ANSELM

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MBA schools innovation

In a quarter of a century, most business students will never enter a classroom. The faculty lectures, the MBA student discussions and the homework assignments will occur instead over the Internet, where each part of the educational experience can be played as many times as it takes to fully absorb or satisfy, as if it were a Seinfeld rerun.

The world’s most famous professors will more likely be compelling teachers—rather than journal-published researchers—and many of them will be free agents, unattached to a single university. Technology will allow for free-agent faculty, able to teach directly to students, with the university being what it will increasingly be viewed as: just another middleman taking a profit. Professors won’t need an affiliation with a university, because technology will allow them to create their own brands.

The costs of academic learning will plummet. And much of education will be modular in nature. Students will pick and choose from the best professors and the best colleges and universities worldwide to construct a degree of choice. Some of the experience will still be on-campus, but much of it will be delivered online. There will be little need to go to one MBA schools for several years and sit in classrooms with other students. The greatest asset universities now hold—the ability to grant a degree—will have so greatly diminished in value that it will become little more than a quant notion for the learned.

A DOOMSDAY SCENARIO?

A doomsday scenario for business education? Not really. The nominal purpose of a business MBA schools is for academic learning. But as learning becomes increasingly available online, it’s likely that the other functions of a traditional on-campus experience—student selection, extracurricular leadership and social development, career management and alumni networking—also will become unbundled. Most MBA schools inevitably would lose their allure.


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