Tracking the Trends in MBA Curricula

More schools are switching from general management curricula to industry-specific programs to serve their constituents and differentiate their programs.
Tracking the Trends in MBA Curricula

As business schools adapt their MBA curricula to meet the changing demands of students and employers, it’s no surprise that some of their program emphases have changed dramatically in the past five years. To track these changes, AACSB’s Knowledge Services department has compiled data about program emphases drawn from questionnaires completed for the 2005–2006 and 2009–2010 academic years.  

Some overall trends: An emphasis on e-business is fast losing ground, possibly because technology has become so integral to doing business that it’s no longer taught as a separate subject. Schools also seem to be backing off on programs devoted to general management or functional disciplines. Instead, they’re focusing on specific industries—including subjects as broad as healthcare and as narrow as luxury management—as a way to differentiate their programs.

The number of programs with a focus on social responsibility has doubled, but because that number was only five in 2006, the jump seems relatively modest. Still, it’s a trend worth watching. Other subjects that more business schools are emphasizing include real estate, entrepreneurship, and the various aspects of globalization. Due to the constantly evolving nature of business, these numbers are all likely to change by the time surveys are conducted again in five years.