Ethics Is Priority No. 1 for Prospective MBAs

The latest “Tomorrow’s MBA” report cites responsible leadership and flexible formats as important to the next generation of master’s-level students.

WHAT ISSUES ARE top priorities for prospective MBAs? Most want business schools to design curricula that cultivate responsible and ethical leadership, according to the most recent Tomorrow’s MBA survey.

“Future students tend to see responsible leadership as a fundamental aspect that runs through business education teaching and research, not as a specialist add-on or elective,” says Andrew Crisp, author of the study and owner of CarringtonCrisp, a consulting firm in the United Kingdom.

Crisp collected data for Tomorrow’s MBA between November 2019 and December 2019, in association with the management development network EFMD. The survey received responses from 672 prospective MBA students in 21 countries, with the largest respondent groups located in the United Kingdom, United States, India, Thailand, Canada, China/Hong Kong, and Malaysia. According to the survey:

PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS WANT MBA PROGRAMS TO ADDRESS:

  • Responsible and ethical leadership 70%
  • Diversity and equality 67%
  • Challenges such as poverty and climate change 66%

THEY PREFER TO BE TAUGHT BY:

  • Only qualified academic staff 39%
  • Some business executives 37%
  • International staff 34%

THEY MIGHT CONSIDER PURSUING, IN LIEU OF AN MBA:

  • Specialized master’s degrees 69%
  • Professional qualifications 56%
  • MicroMasters or similar stackable credentials 51%
  • Free online courses such as those offered by LinkedIn Learning (52%) or MOOC platforms (43%)

“Prospective students are demanding content outside the confines of the traditional MBA,” says Crisp. He adds that the MBA is under pressure as prospective students consider alternative educational options.

Crisp concludes, “You can summarize the current MBA market in two words: accelerating change.”

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