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See the Future: Looking Ahead at the Next 10 Years of Business Education Webinar Highlights

Posted By Nicole Zefran, Friday, August 23, 2013
Nicole ZefranYesterday, GBSN hosted a webinar, See the Future: Looking at the Next 10 Years of Business Education, featuring Andrew Crisp, Co-Founder of CarringtonCrisp. Highlighting findings from their recent survey, See the Future, Andrew Crisp looks at the future look of business education. Andrew Crisp talked about interesting changes and trends in business and business education. I've highlighted a couple. 

The survey data was collected in May of this year, with about 5 ½ thousand online respondents from current students, prospective students, alumni and employers across 137 different countries around the world.

CarringtonCrisp identified 5 key issues that they believe are in many business schools minds:

  1. Role of business in society
  2. Value of business education
  3. Sustainability corporate social responsibility and ethics
  4. Internationalism
  5. Technology

Change in business is taking place. To begin the discussion on change, Andrew issued a poll for webinar participants, asking if they have introduced degree programs in the last three years that reflect new approaches to business. 67% of participants answered yes.

Looking at some of the changes that survey respondents were interested in – 87% believe that business needs to be more than just about maximizing shareholder value. 87% of managers/directors agree that business models need to change to better engage society.

How do people perceive business? 45% of undergraduates agree that business is portrayed poorly in the media. The perception of business has been damaged by how the media reports on it. This fact is important when looking at what degrees today's youth may choose to undertake. 1 in 5 and 1 in 3 prospective and current students believe a business education is less valued than other degrees.

Business schools need to be aware when this is no longer the case. People believe a business degree is not as highly valued outside the university or business school. This change is important, both in terms of funding and in terms of numbers.


The study looked at the specific role of business schools from an alumni and employer view. Not surprisingly, there were high numbers in the importance of developing business leaders with strong ethical behaviors, high numbers in focusing on delivering high quality teaching and high numbers in learning and developing graduates that are ready for the world of work.

That being said, interestingly there were high numbers agreeing to the value of developing graduates that are able to think creatively. This is a change seen over the last 2-3 years. Creativity, innovation and change have come to the forefront. The study revealed a high response to the idea of offering programs that go beyond just business. This will help students see a bigger picture. In our last webinar, Creating Jobs: Education's Role in Reducing Unemployment, we talked about the skills gap between employer expectations and what skills students are taught in school. This is because students are often not taught the soft skills and communication skills needed in a position. 

To give an example of the concept of offering programs that go beyond business, Andrew told a story about working with a business school in Canada. This school requires their students, who are pursuing a business degree, to also study something other than business, like politics, history, economics, etc. "If you want to understand business you have to look beyond business,” explained Andrew. Big universities that are able to offer this cross disciplinary type program are in high demand for students and employers. This is a very important trend looking into the future of business education.

When looking at what students value in business education, the study reveals a change in focus. 64% of current and prospective students believe that business education will get them a more fulfilling job. Over the last 2-3 years the importance of getting a high paid job has changed to simply getting a job that is fulfilling. Job enjoyment is now a factor for graduates when entering the workforce. Looking at the value of business education from a corporate perspective, there many responded that there is high value in business education delivering innovation in business. 

The second part of the survey looks at sustainability, corporate social responsibility and ethics, which are now mainstreamed for students and employers. These subjects have always been part of the discussions, but now they have risen in terms of importance and priority.

40% of all audiences agree that there are not enough opportunities to learn about these subjects in business schools. Additionally, 64% of all audiences believe that understanding these issues are key to success in business, meaning that students feel like they are graduating without a skill they believe is needed to be successful in a business career. Consequently, the study reports that just under 50% of all audiences believe that business schools who don’t teach about corporate social responsibility and ethics should be ranked lower than universities that do.

Moving on, Andrew talked about the concept of internationalism and how it needs to be more than just a label. It needs to deliver practical benefits to students. Today, we see every school says they are "international, global, etc.” This term is no longer a differentiating factor for schools, like it used to be. 

Andrew issued another poll, asking webinar participants which of the following opportunities does their business school undertake?

  • Mixing international and domestic students in project groups - 77%
  • Include case studies from companies in emerging markets – 80%
  • Offer language tuition as a part of your business degree – 20%
  • Provide opportunities for international student placement/ internships – 63%
  • Help students with international career services – 50%

Looking at where people want to study, the first choice is USA, which is not surprising. It has been the most popular for years. Other popular countries were the UK, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Germany, Canada and China. It’s interesting to see Singapore and China. Those two countries are typically 4th and 6th. They are the up and coming countries in terms of having opportunity to study internationally. Looking at why people choose those countries to study in, surprisingly the study revealed that many said they were attracted to the sporting and cultural profile of the country.

More than 40% of postgraduate students want to learn about different approaches to business in different cultures’ and expect to see international case studies as part of their learning. Many students complain that a lot of the case studies that they are provided are ones about the big multinationals in western economies. They’re not getting stories about the large growing companies in emerging economies, nor the case studies of social enterprises, NGOs who are working in many countries around the world. More variety and up to date case studies are going to become very important for business schools going forward.

The final portion of the study was on technology. The subject of MOOCs is a very important topic of discussion. Starting with a poll from webinar participants, Andrew asks, What role do you expect MOOCs to play in business education in the future?

  • MOOCs will make very little difference to current models of business education – 3%
  • MOOCs will be just one model of online education - 55%
  • MOOCs will be integral to most business degrees - 35%

Andrew quotes Cheryl Sandburg, COO of Facebook, "If you want to know what people like us will do tomorrow, you look at what teenagers are doing today.”

Technology is not different to young people. It has always been there, it is the way to do things. For the older generation, technology is a change; it wasn’t there in their youth. To not incorporate technology in education would not make sense. There is a change in the way people learn.

The study reports 80% of managers and directors agree that they expect their organization to use technology to deliver more workplace learning in the future. 37% of undergraduates and prospective postgraduates would consider studying for some of a business degree online. 26% said they would study online rather than on campus if it were cheaper to do so. The issue of finance is also important. However, from an employers perspective, online education is not valued.

The study revealed 44% and 53% of managers/directors reported that they would not recruit a graduate who earned an online degree. Over 30% of managers/directors in private and public sectors agree that they would not recruit a graduate who has included a business program from a MOOC as part of their degree. 50% agreed that they are uncertain of what a MOOC offers and how its part of a business degree. On top of selling online education to perspective students, MOOCs need to sell this concept to employers too. MOOCs won’t become successful until employers buy into this concept and begin recruiting graduates who have studied MOOCs.

Looking back at everything discussed during the webinar, Andrew talked about many important changes and trends that have emerged in business education and in the work field of business, all important for business schools to consider and take note of now and in the future. 

Click here to download the power point presentation

Click here to learn more about CarringtonCrisp

Thank you to Andrew and CarringtonCrisp for delivering an informative and interesting webinar.


Nicole Zefran is the Network Assistant at the Global Business School Network.

Tags:  Business Education  case studies  MOOC  technology  webinar 

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