Business is a fast-changing world, with quantum leaps in technology and globalization making yesterday’s “next big thing” rapidly obsolete.
Business education is changing too — and probably not fast enough. Academia tends to be slow to shake off the shackles of tradition, evolving more incrementally and less radically.
There are few fields in which educators need to remain so informed of the latest trends and technologies, in order to provide their students with an education that is up to date and relevant to the constantly moving target that is today’s business world.
Here are five top trends in business education that are happening now.
1) The Workplace Of Tomorrow Will Need Soft Skills Like Creativity, Communication And Problem Solving.
Advances in artificial intelligence, robotics and computing will replace many workers in the near future. Yet they will also create a demand for skills unique to humans, including creativity, critical thinking, communication, problem solving, innovation, collaboration and adaptability.
Technical skills will always be needed and shouldn’t be overlooked by any business student, but the coming trend in business is big thinkers with the skills to harness the powers of human creation.
2) Digital Learning Platforms, Online Education And Hybrid Formats Will Become The New Normal.
The days of getting a traditional four-year bachelor’s degree followed by a two-year MBA at a brick-and-mortar university are in decline. While there is undeniable value in a broad-based foundation in business education, rising costs have burdened students with enormous student debts and led many to question whether the return on this investment makes it worthwhile.
Also, the rapidly changing business climate has raised many doubts about whether a one-time education is adequate to equip business grads for the changes sure to come in the years ahead. Online education, continuing education, digital learning platforms and hybrid formats that include both classroom and remote education are widely seen as the wave of the future.
3) Expect To See More One-year Mba Degrees — And More Hiring With No Degree At All.
Fast-track MBAs for working professionals are another growing trend, in which people with a given amount of professional experience can attend courses for one year and emerge as certified business management professionals.
In addition, more forward-looking companies are abandoning the requirement for any college degree at all, recognizing that targeted alternative training and real-world job experience can be more valuable than a college diploma.
4) Entrepreneurship Is And Will Remain A Growing Field.
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook are the five most valuable companies in the world — all of them tech companies and all founded by entrepreneurs (several of whom were college dropouts).
The chances are good that all of these companies have affected your life in a personal way. They employ hundreds of thousands of people and have a combined market capitalization of around $5 trillion. And each of them was founded by a small handful of forward-looking people harnessing new, disruptive technologies.
Machines and robots cannot replace this kind of uniquely human innovation. Business schools will and must increasingly teach the skills needed to start new enterprises that can literally change the world, in big ways and small.
5) If You’re Betting On The Future, Think Ai, Stem And Big Data.
Having said all of the above about human innovation, let’s not forget that the machine-based “thinking” behind artificial intelligence (AI) — like the driverless cars that our grandchildren will someday take for granted — are a supremely important component of future business development. And someone will have to create, hone and perfect these technologies.
Studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are among the surest ways to climb aboard this inevitable wave.
The same is true of “big data” — the hyper-explosion of information that is available to us all, but is too much to grasp without intelligent analytics and insightful processing. Talented professionals will be needed in the years to come to turn millions of data points into actionable business plans that will work in the real world.