How the Digital Era Is Reshaping the MBA Experience

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Business schools around the world need to stay ahead of the curve to produce high-quality graduates and decision-makers to take on the rapidly changing landscape around them. Now, what are MBA programs doing to prepare their students for the future?

The Rise of Digital MBA Degrees

About a decade ago, the only way anyone could earn an MBA degree was to attend a business school for two to four semesters, effectively putting their career on pause and forgoing steady income. In the modern digital age, students can attend MBA programs remotely, at whatever times suit them best. We have technology to thank for changing the fundamental way business schools offer their lessons, with many of them holding classes that are in part or even entirely online.

Even though full-time in-class lessons are the more widely popular form of learning, online MBA programs are becoming increasingly more appealing over time. 2016 saw 57% of business schools with online MBA programs experience an increase in applicants—a dramatic increase from 50% in the year prior.

One of the fundamental reasons why online MBA applicants are rising in numbers is partly due to time constraints. Employees don’t want to lose momentum by putting their careers on pause for two years. Online programs like Nexford MBA, due to their flexible nature and learn-at-your-own-pace curriculums, give students the ability to further their studies while fulfilling their full-time job obligations.

How Technology Is Reshaping MBA Programs

So, while it’s clear that business schools are opening new digital doors for full-time-working applicants, how are they preparing their graduates for the future? Future applicants will be happy to learn that business schools are focusing on offering a more direct approach to equip their students with the knowledge and skills they need to adapt to the changes in the business world landscape.

Emphasis on AI and Machine Learning

Business leaders need to take initiative in harnessing the potential of what digital resources can offer their companies to grow. As AI is rapidly creeping into nearly every facet of life, including and especially in business, it makes sense for business schools to include relevant courses in their MBA curriculums.

BusinessBecause stated that Stanford Graduate School of Business and the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University will offer FinTech courses in the near future. Other business schools are going the extra mile by creating specialized MBA programs that place a heavier emphasis on business analytics.

Adapting New Learning Styles

Digitalization has greater effects on the MBA experience than simply forcing business schools to modify their teaching and learning formats and updating their curriculums. Whether you noticed it or not, the way we obtain and retain information has shifted to become a more personalized environment with a greater focus on instructing and supporting, which can be done through VR or the application of role-playing.

Online education has shifted from a monotonous format consisting of how-to videos to become one that is more catered to the needs of every individual participant. For instance, the IE Business School in Madrid has created an immersive VR classroom that perfectly portrays in-person learning and interactions for students from around the world.

Lifelong Learning

Due to how fast-paced changes to the business world are, lifelong learning has become a must-have skill for all executives to remain professionally up-to-date. Ongoing changes in industries have made it unquestionably more important for executives to avoid mastering strategic and financial analysis techniques at a certain point in time. New career opportunities are proof that what you learned a mere five years ago may be partially inapplicable in the modern age.

In addition, people are more prone to moving to a different industry and even geographical location. MBA students are hungry to discover what awaits them in uncharted territories, so knowing how to figure new things out is a more vital skill as workers, specifically millennials and up, hop from one job or place to another.

Soft Skill Development

You’ve probably heard claims that technology—e.g., robots and AI—will slowly take over the workforce and force human workers into the streets. Experts consider this a grossly embellished assertion with no basis in reality. While it’s clear that automation is improving workplace efficiency, AI is creating more job opportunities than it’s allegedly taking away. As such, soft skills—the ability to communicate effectively with others—remain crucial for management and leaders in businesses.

MBA programs, both on-campus and online, can help students develop technical know-how and judgment of moralities. They offer a mix of interactive platforms that simulate real-world communication and stimulate self-actualization.

The MBA Experience Is Fine-Tuned to Suit the Future

Real-world changes have forced business schools to fine-tune their curriculums and learning formats. MBA programs can offer students relevant skills to become more adept and managing and leading upon graduating. If anything, the MBA experience can increase your appreciation for those parts of business that technology has not and cannot claim.

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