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51 BizEd November/ December 2014 I s it time to reframe the value proposition of management edu- cation? Should business schools pay less attention to teaching narrow discipline specializations and spend more time developing holistic think- ing skills that allow students to syn- thesize and integrate information? We think the answer is yes. While there have been new approaches to business education since the 1950s, most of these have been modest, incremental changes that have kept business education firmly anchored in the economic and social sciences. However, rapid and sometimes unwelcome changes in the economic and competitive environments have ushered in new threats and opportunities, and schools must adapt to these realities. In our 2013 book The Business School in the 21st Century, we detail promising innovations in business school curricula. These models emphasize globalization, leadership, integrative thinking, critical thinking, problem solving, and practical rele- vance, while helping students under- stand the underlying purpose of business. We want to explore a few of those models here—but first we want to examine the forces that have led to renewed calls for more radical approaches to business education. The Current Environment Four key factors have rewritten the context in which business schools operate today: ■ Changes in the economy. Economic growth has shifted from the developed nations of the West to the emerging economies of the East and South. In developed nations, fewer students are enroll- ing in undergraduate and graduate programs, and even the relatively stable executive education mar- ket seems to be in a recession. The business education industry is experiencing reduced demand, greater turbulence, and more mar- ket-driven cycles. These new realities mean that speed and agility are essential for academic leaders. Schools must be quicker to adapt curricula and faculty to changing circumstances; they must be quicker to teach dif- ferent topics, research fresh sub- jects, and identify updated compe- tencies for their professors. ■ Changes in our students. Stu- dents at all levels are requesting more project-based learning, which requires a broader and more eclec- tic perspective. This means schools need to change their curricula, consolidate their academic depart- ments, and put less emphasis on discipline-focused research. They will need to move from embedded academic traditions to multidimen- sional, multidisciplinary teaching and research, and they will need to do it quickly. ■ Changes in the job market. Students are increasingly question- ing how companies address issues of sustainability and community. They also are demanding more job-specific degrees, and schools are responding by developing spe- cialized master's degrees in areas such as banking, marketing, human capital management, and data ana- lytics. This is a trend recommended by the European Bologna Accord. Once students have earned their specialized degrees, they might be more interested in returning for general MBAs. ■ Changes in funding. The cur- rent traditional model of business education is expensive to maintain, and sources of funding are drying up. At the same time, stakeholders are paying attention to not only where money is coming from, but also how it's being spent. In many countries, the major portion of business school fund- ing has traditionally come from the state, which perceives education as a public good. However, state offi- cials are reluctant to provide funds to business schools during a time of economic stringency—and during a time when both big business and the financial sector are viewed as anath- emas. Even traditional public fund- ing sources are starting to require students to contribute to the cost of their educations, with the U.K. gov- ernment leading the charge. As state funding decreases, tuition inevitably rises across all stu- dent levels. For instance, in the U.S., more than 100 institutions charge more than $50,000 a year for fees, room, and board for a four-year undergraduate degree. Tuition fees for the top 20 U.S. MBA programs are around $100,000, and an EMBA can cost $170,000. Historically, students have judged the ROI on business tuition to be worthwhile, but increasing tuition might cause them to perceive that the costs outweigh the benefits. In the U.K., the country's high cost of undergraduate tuition appears to be depressing university applications. How are business schools spend- ing their diminishing incomes? Not surprisingly, a huge portion goes to paying full-time faculty, and a smaller amount to part-time faculty. But this reward system is under review. For instance, in the U.K., teaching-intensive universities require faculty to teach at least 250 hours per year at a cost of about

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