The Future of the MBA

Chief executive of the Association of MBAs (AMBA), Andrew Main Wilson, and AACSB executive vice president and chief strategy and innovation officer, Dan LeClair, discuss what the MBA will look like in the future.


Dan LeClair: [00:15] There are people that say the MBA will simply go away at some point. What do you think about that?

Andrew Main Wilson: [00:36] You then come to the next key factor, which is ourselves, AACSB, AMBA, and all our schools need to make sure that the evolution of the MBA happens at a sufficiently fast pace to make it as desirable in 10 years' time as it was 50 years ago.

LeClair: [00:54] What are the two or three things you think need to change in an MBA?

Main Wilson: [00:58] Here are the three things that I think need to happen. The first one is, in the digital revolution, certainly the blended, the well blended MBA, needs to be created by every school, and that's very important. People are looking at that at the moment.

[01:16] Some are doing very well. We've just accredited our first 100 percent online MBA from a quality school, and there will be more, but it's the blended learning MBA that will be the future. The question is who you partner with to make sure you can afford that content and that you have faculty well trained in it.

[01:36] The second one is you've got to be able to cost effectively make sure that the perception and reality of your MBA is that of building global citizen MBAs for the future, who are fit and ready for purpose for small entrepreneurial companies or large multinationals, and to be more aware as a global citizen, because every business needs to understand cultures better, and they need to understand global trading.

[02:07] No particular country is an island, even the mighty USA. The MBAs of tomorrow need to be able to trade comfortably with other countries.

[02:17] And then the third area is to cleverly watch the affordability as you grow, because one of the criticisms of the MBA is it's too time consuming and too expensive. A part-time MBA and blended learning helps the convenience of the MBA program because you can keep your job and learn at your own pace.

[02:38] On the affordability side, it's going to be difficult to increase prices of MBAs too much, and you've really got to be a great marketeer to show the value of your MBA program. Some of the marketing and creativity is surprisingly average in our industry.

[02:55] You've got a great product, but you need to keep the price particularly as you go blended competitive enough, both part time and full time, for people to say, "Actually, the work return on this MBA is still great value. My salary will still go up 30 to 50 percent in the two years afterwards, but it's affordable, be it part time or full time, still today."

Filmed April 2017 on site at AACSB's International Conference and Annual Meeting (ICAM) in Houston, Texas, USA.