Report cites business schools' failure to modernize

Researchers at Hult Labs, an internal think tank at Hult International Business School, recently released The Future of Business Education and the Needs of Employers, a survey of 90 C-suite executives from global Fortune 500 companies. The study asked for executives' perspectives on MBA programs and whether those programs equip graduates with the requisite practical skills to make a meaningful impact for their employers.

Interviewees expressed overwhelmingly that, despite efforts to modernize MBA programs, business schools continue to do a poor job preparing students to enter the workplace, largely because they do not adequately measure the skills and behaviors that prove most useful for evaluating talent and predicting success.

"Despite employer needs for more graduates with better skills and abilities, business schools are clearly still behind the curve in producing these graduates," said Hult President Stephen Hodges. "While much has been written about the need for business education to modernize in the face of 21st century change, not much actual change has occurred. Some programs have introduced new course topics and a renewed emphasis on practical skills, but a fundamental rethinking of how student abilities are measured and meaningfully improved during an MBA needs to occur for business schools to stay relevant."

Interviewees referenced the following shortcomings in their critiques:

  • Business schools make their learning experience too structured, which prevents them from developing students who are able to tackle tomorrow's challenges.
  • Business schools continue to overemphasize theory, and should instead concentrate on providing real-world experiences.
  • Business schools don't emphasize ten critical skills and abilities: self-awareness, integrity, cross-cultural competency, team skills, critical thinking, communication, comfort with ambiguity and uncertainty, creativity, execution, and sales.
  • Business schools don't measure student progress or ability in these skills accurately or rigorously enough.