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Is the MBA Future Ready? B-School Leaders in India Most Confident About Delivering Technological Change

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B-school officials in India were the most confident about their institutes’ capabilities and success in delivering technological change, according to a survey by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and Business Graduates Association (BGA).

Future of Technology in Management Education

The report titled “The Future of Technology in Management Education” is the first of a three-part series that looks at key issues in management education. It sought responses from 358 people associated with business schools across the world.

The school authorities in India were more likely to strongly agree that their school has developed new and innovative ways of delivering programs (63% vs. 25% of leaders worldwide).

They were also more likely to agree that their Business School is fully prepared for opportunities that the fourth industrial revolution will offer (63% vs. 35% overall).

The report is about how the Business Schools view the impact of technology in all aspects of life including management education and if they were fully prepared for readying the students to meet the demands of a new digital world.

The report looks at how Schools incorporate innovations into their teaching and operational practices. “The research finds that while Business School leaders widely believe that these technologies are important, there is less confidence that their Schools are ready to utilise them and there is perhaps potential for more clarity around how new technical capabilities can best be applied to learning and in the operations of management education providers,”  says Will Dawes, Research and Insight Manager, AMBA & BGA.

B-Schools Leaders in India Most Confident About Ability to Deliver Technological Change

Report Methodology 

AMBA & BGA had conducted an online survey among the B-school Deans, Assistant Deans and Senor Managers connected with program delivery, careers, and alumni services from August 14 to September 30, 2019.

The questions centered around perceptions of technology, how it was being used by the schools at present and steps being taken to prepare for the future. A total of 222  participants completed the survey in full and 136 gave partial responses.

While 46% of the respondents were based in Europe, approximately one in six (16%) were based in the UK and around 12% in Latin America.  Around 7% of the respondents were in  Africa, 6% in China (including Hong Kong). 5% in Asia and the Middle East (excluding China and India), 4% in India, 3% in North America and the Caribbean and 1% in Oceania.

Overall Perceptions Of Future Changes

When contextualizing the introduction of new technology into Business Schools, it is perhaps useful to explore overall perceptions of future changes in program delivery. Leaders were asked how likely, or unlikely, they think that the fundamentals of the MBA were likely to change within the next 10 years. More than three quarters (77%) think that it is likely, which includes two in five (40%) who think that it is very likely.

A small percentage put themselves as neutral or in disagreement that the fundamentals of the MBA were likely to change. One in 10 (12%) stated that it was neither likely nor unlikely. Around 6% thought it was fairly unlikely and less than 1% believed it was very unlikely.

Some of those who think that the fundamentals of the MBA were likely to change in the next decade directly cited technological innovations, both in terms of the provisions Schools will need to take to adapt to new ways in which companies operate and how Schools deliver their programs.

Perceived changes to MBA in next 10 years

To the question, how likely or unlikely is it that the fundamentals of an MBA will change in the next 10 years 230 participants responded. While 40% answered very likely, 36% responded with fairly likely. Neither likely nor unlikely was preferred by 12%, fairly unlikely by 6% and very unlikely by just 1%.

On improvements in the delivery or content of the MBA program, 67% stated it could be improved. Around 53% said they ‘tend to agree’, signifying that there was some scope for improvement rather than a substantial change.

While 54% agreed to their Business School’s campus being run as efficiently as it could be, 25% expressed their disagreement.

In the importance of technologies, Big data topped with 95% of Business School leaders stating that it is either ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ important (64% saying it is ‘very important’). This is closely followed by experiential learning (94%), digitization (93%) and AI (86%).

Data visualization was considered to be important by 83%, followed by automation (79%), virtual reality (63%) and augmented reality (60%).

Meanwhile, Schools were most prepared to embrace experiential learning (83%), closely followed by digitization (75%) and big data (75%). Perceived preparation is lower for other technologies (58% for data visualization and 51% for AI).

The response to the introduction of automation perceptions had almost half (47%) saying that they were prepared and not prepared (the remainder were unsure).

Will MBA Curricula Meet the Needs of Tech Biggies?

On the MBA curricula meeting the needs of the biggest tech employers like Apple, Google and Tesla, 16% of the respondents were very confident. The percentage went up to  60% when is combined with those who marked ‘fairly confident’.

However, 29% were not very confident and 1%, not at all confident. Around 10% indicated that they ‘don’t know’ suggesting that there was some lack of awareness about how MBA programs can support technology-focused employers.

Conclusions of the Report

The Report found technology firmly entrenched in the consciousness of the vast majority of senior individuals running Business Schools. They are broadly optimistic about the future of the sector and appear to view new technology as an important factor in their collective vision.

It is also clear that some Schools do not necessarily believe that they are as advanced in their journey to introduce new technology into their institutions as they could be – particularly in North America and the Caribbean and Europe (excluding the UK) – but also when it comes to the use of specific types of technology.

However, this does not stop them from gearing up to introduce new technological concepts and see the opportunities that this presents. Given the changes that leaders were anticipating in the delivery of MBAs, technology seems likely to be crucial in guiding the trajectory of MBA delivery over the next decade.

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