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The future of the MBA degree

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article about a future path for the MBA degree. The article, linked above and subscription required, explains how this pandemic has provided proof for the viability of online education. It further explains that lifelong learning is essentially a requirement in today’s rapidly evolving markets.

As a result, there is a demand for a more flexible and cheaper lifelong MBA where recipients can continue taking online classes as they see fit.

We have several thoughts on this. First, there seems to be a ‘cheapening’ with various Ivy League certificates showing up on resumes above the actual degrees. Would a move in this direction accelerate this apparent trend? We fear so.

Second, there is significant value to the networking that occurs alongside the academic learning. While many business schools work hard to ensure the online students connect with each other in meaningful ways, is this as effective as in-person friendships? How would online friendships rank with your existing in-person friendships? (Serious question! Please comment through the AdmissionsBoard link below!) If they don’t rank nearly as high and you’re still at home with your existing friends, it would seem the networking won’t be nearly as effective.

Third, if this becomes the future direction, we are reasonably confident that currently minted MBAs will get a chance to ‘upgrade’ to the lifelong learning model at a significant discount. We don’t see any business schools turning down this revenue source and, furthermore, we don’t see any business schools risking their current alumni relations.

Maybe we’re old fashioned and not in tune with the emerging technology as some of our blog readers. (See our serious question about online friendships versus in-person friendships.) The future of the MBA degree certainly isn’t set and, based on the huge increase in applications, demand for in-person, campus learning isn’t drying up any time too soon. Again, please feel free to leave your comments on this futurist topic on the AdmissionsBoards link below.

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