What’s driving the future of business education?

14 November 2019

Whether it was Niels Bohr, Yogi Berra or someone else who first said ‘It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future’, they could have been speaking about business education today. Of course, there are many drivers of change in business education, but in our work six themes seem to recur with growing frequency.

  1. Globalisation – while in some places there is a something of a retreat from the world, elsewhere international student numbers are growing. UNESCO predicts the number of tertiary students worldwide is estimated to grow from 214.1 million in 2015 to 594.1 million by 2040. Alongside growing demand for higher education, there is also increasing international competition among providers. In 2008, five of the FT top 100 full-time MBA programmes were in Asia, in 2018 that had risen to 15.
  2. Changing patterns of student demand – rather than a focus on undergraduates, the market for business education will increasingly be about those already working. Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, in their book ‘The 100 year life’, highlight a likely growing need for people to reskill throughout their working lives. While these ‘students’ may not want a traditional on-campus experience, they may look to business schools to help them with learning.
  3. Changing employer demands – not only will employers become growing consumers of business education to reskill employees, but the skills they seek will also change. Data analytics and AI skills are already in demand, but the CarringtonCrisp study, ‘Executive Education Futures’ also found a growing interest in Managing a multi-generational and diverse workforce, Societal impact and Business model innovation.
  4. Technology – will impact business education in many ways, not just programme delivery. The Babson Survey Research Group report in 2017 found that more than 30% of higher education students in the USA (6.36 million) took at least one distance education course, part of a trend that has seen year-on-year growth for 14 years.
  5. Business models – with pressure on state funding in many places, schools are being forced to rethink their business models. Some are even adopting ‘freemium’ models, giving some content available free of charge to draw students in and then charging for additional content or driving income through alumni support.
  6. A wider world – business schools are looking to collaborate more, to help business better understand its place and role in wider society, tackling some of the great global challenges such as climate change and poverty.

If you have a view on the future of business education, please take part in our global study. ‘See the Future’. CarringtonCrisp, working with EFMD and GMAC, has just launched the ‘See the Future’ study to get a better idea of what students, those working in business education and employers think about the future. All those completing the survey can get a free copy of the final project report when it is published next February. If you would like to know more about the study or want help promoting it to those at your business school, drop us a line at info@carringtoncrisp.com To take the survey and leave your views, go to https://bit.ly/2NjsvbU

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