MBA curriculums nationwide are making some changes, many say due to the recent ’08 economic crisis in an attempt to focus more on business ethics and areas that MBA programs have previously neglected.
According to a recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek, written by Francesca Di Meglio, Haas School of Business at UC-Berkeley is among these schools to make such notable changes, which Dean Richard Lyons hopes will ultimately cause a “revolution” by producing what he terms as “path-bending leaders.”
The biggest change to Haas’ program is the new emphasis in analytical thinking, flexibility and creativity. Additionally, two primary courses have been restructured: “Leadership & Communication” and “Leading People.” Also, a new one-unit course has been added called “Problem Finding and Problem Solving.” Workshops and coaching sessions on leadership skills are also now included in the new Haas curriculum.
Why the new changes? Lyons and the Haas community created these changes from a very personal standpoint. Lyons is quoted with saying: “Society faces a host of [issues] – be it in health care, energy, materials use, demographic implications, safe water, etc. If paths continue in a straight line, they will hit a wall in our kids’ lifetime, if not our own.”
Other schools have also been seeing somewhat of a dramatic course overhaul – some of which include Yale School of Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Ross School of Business.
According to an article by Greg Bordonaro from HartfordBusiness.com, the University of Connecticut School of Business is trying to create a more student-centric curriculum that gives students a larger say in their overall academic plan. In the long run, the school eventually plans to cut its traditional concentrations, such as finance, marketing, information technology and real estate to allow students to make for themselves a more individual plan of study within those majors or disciplines.
UConn hopes its business school will climb into the top 20 rankings of MBA programs in Forbes Magazine, as it currently remains 27th.
John Fernandes, president and CEO of The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, insists that allowing students more ability to choose their curriculum is a must. According to HartfordBusiness.com, Fernandes also claims B-Schools are attempting to churn out more well-rounded students, who have an ethical compass to guide them in future business decisions. He says, “It’s not enough to just make money anymore. You must also be a good citizen. Many MBA programs are focusing their curriculum on building individuals with enhanced ethical capacity and a stronger commitment to society.”
Many students at Hass felt like the changes in the program were a long time coming. Other business schools, such as Yale, implemented a change in curriculum as early as 2006 with interdisciplinary courses around particular organizations or customers and investors. Stanford began a new curriculum that was focused around customization and flexibility, allowing students to tailor their coursework to their previous education, work experience and future ambitions.
While some critics may question the usefulness of an MBA in today’s society, these curriculum changes seem to be the answer to that question. Businessweek quotes David Garvin, a professor at Harvard by saying, “We talked to many deans and executives and they all say that there’s a greater need for self-awareness on the part of MBAs.”
Looks like these changes are here to stay.
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