Should You Obtain an M.B.A.?
A Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) has always been a highly-coveted degree for corporate professionals and entrepreneurs because it opens doors for professional growth, learning, and networking.
Unfortunately, there has been a decline in enrollment in M.B.A. programs in the United States. Reasons for this are discussed below.
In recent years, enrollment in M.B.A. programs in the U.S. has seen a slight drop. Those who are currently employed hesitate to enroll in programs because traditionally, M.B.A. programs are two-year, full-time programs. Prospective students do not want to leave their job, specifically their income, as the cost of living increases. To add to this, the cost of taking an M.B.A. is rising. The opportunity cost of leaving their job to go back to school is too high.
There is the problem of the quality and relevance of M.B.A. programs. A lot of programs have stuck to the long-held traditional, capitalist principles in their teaching and assessment. Students are taught how to earn a lot while keeping costs low. This principle is not entirely wrong, but times are changing–we are living through a different set of challenges and are forced to reconsider the values and practices of businesses. This somehow shows how disconnected M.B.A. programs are from the relevant issues that the world is currently facing.
The very nature of work is changing, so the way future leaders and employees are educated and trained needs to change as well. Young professionals and prospective students will be looking for specialized degrees that tackle a diverse set of issues.
There is increasing competition from business programs in Europe and in Asia, where some programs are only 18 months long and are relatively cheaper (considering the strength of the U.S. dollar against other currencies). This is one of the reasons for the decreasing number of M.B.A. students in the U.S.
Adapting is the Only Way to Survive
To remedy the predicament of declining enrollment, schools have been looking for innovative solutions to attract more students while taking into consideration the needs of prospective students. Here are some strategies that M.B.A. programs are starting to roll out:
- Offering non-traditional M.B.A. programs that have a more compact, flexible, and cheaper curriculum
- Online degrees tailor-fit for working professionals
- Cutting-edge and socially relevant curricula with or accelerated completion times, as opposed to the traditional 2-year course
- Offering programs that focus on tech, sustainability, and social responsibility
Having an M.B.A. degree is still as prestigious as it used to be. Fortunately, M.B.A. programs all over the world are starting to adapt to the needs of students. Students have more choices to consider in terms of the program specializations and industry that they would like to focus on.
However, there is still more work to be done to make sure that M.B.A.s remain relevant in the future. Moving forward, M.B.A. programs will benefit from incorporating practice that encourages inclusivity, equitability, and plans to build a greener future.
Prospective students will benefit from doing a bit of research as to what type of program will facilitate their professional growth. More importantly, future M.B.A. students can look forward to programs that will allow them to focus on their family, full-time work while taking the M.B.A. program.