The Future MBA, week 10: Admissions bootcamp
The Future MBA, week 10: Admissions bootcamp
For 100 days I am posting 100 ways that we could rethink and reimagine the MBA, to transform it into a tool for creating the sustainable leaders that our organizations and the planet need.
I’ll explore all aspects of the MBA, ranging from curriculum and research to partnerships and campus activities. Some ideas could be put into practice tomorrow while others would require a complete rethinking of the way we view the MBA.
This brainstorming of ideas is meant to encourage discussion, so please share your thoughts and comments and elaborate on the ideas you find the most interesting.
Day 64: The social environment
The MBA is an intense, one- to two-year program focused on business. But the business sector operates within a much wider environment that is not fully explored or presented within the degree. How can we create a generation of graduates that have a better understanding of the world that business works within?
The Social Environment is a core course focused on providing students with a basic but sound background on what is happening on planet Earth. This course looks at the impact of the 7 billion humans on earth, where they are and what they do. This includes population and demographics, indigenous and aboriginal people, and customs including language, religion and tangible and intangible culture. It will look at the impact of humans on earth including buildings, urbanization, transportation and agriculture as well as international development. The course also will introduce students to international goals, targets and organizations working to strengthen and protect our social environment at the local, national, regional and international level, and learn why this is relevant for business.
Day 65: Minor
The good thing and bad thing about an MBA is that it immerses you in a world of business for months. Most business students have very little exposure to anything non-business-related during their degree program. If we need a new generation of leaders who have a multidisciplinary frame, how can we expose MBA students to other disciplines throughout their program?
The Future MBA will require all students to complete a minor in a topic outside of business school. If the business school is part of a larger university, they will have access to programs on campus. For other schools, students would have the opportunity to take courses at schools in their city, country or internationally. A student interested in going into fashion could do a minor at a fashion school in London, New York or Milan. Other students may choose minors in drama or engineering. This not only would give students the chance to learn different perspectives but also the possibility to interact with those working in another field and to share knowledge and learnings across disciplines.
Day 66: The job search
For most, the post-graduation job search starts the day you arrive on campus to begin your MBA. In fact, before students even have a chance to sit back and think about their future and the options they have, they already have missed recruiting for several industries. Students often don’t have the chance to explore the full range of career options available to them and recruiters' strict schedules often puts additional pressures on students that take them away from the MBA itself.
In the Future MBA, students will be enrolled in a class over the duration of their studies focused on careers and personal development. The course will introduce a wide range of career options with guest speakers and presentations from each as well as information sharing from current students and alumni with experience in those industries. It will look at career progression in and between industries and will teach students effective job search skills and how to prepare themselves through their CV, networking, cover letters etc. The course will provide space for students to explore their career and life goals in the short, medium and long term. Towards the end of the course, the students will look at what success means to them throughout their career, the kind of balance they want to have and what is important to them. It also will look at how to identify and take advantages of opportunities throughout a career, how to deal with stress and how to make difficult choices throughout a career/life.
Day 67: Admissions bootcamp
The challenge with providing one type of testing to enter into the MBA is that you inevitably attract a certain kind of person able to perform in that test. How can the MBA better attract a wider range of students who despite not having a strong background in math/reasoning would be valuable additions to the MBA community and successful alumni?
The Future MBA will have a range of ways to gain admission into the program, in addition to the traditional entrance test. Students may go through one or several ways to raise their chances of entry depending on their educational and career background. One way would be the admissions bootcamp. Potential students would come to campus for a long weekend or two during or before the admission process to be introduced to a range of basic business skills they will need to successfully complete the MBA and be put through individual and group exercises. Not only would this allow the school to assess their suitability, it also would give potential students a chance to learn more about the school and make an impression on admissions officers.
Day 68: Failures?
The lessons during a typical business degree revolve around best practices and success stories. In the Future MBA, students will have access to a course called Failures. Although examples of failures and mistakes inevitably come up in a range of courses, this course only will look at failures. It will explore examples of small, medium and large-scale failures in companies of all shapes and sizes, how they came about, how they were handled, what could have been done differently and what could be changed to ensure that they don’t happen again. It also will look at company discussions that had or could have had a negative impact, as well as examples from students’ own experiences. The course will look at how to approach failures and how to learn from them to build stronger projects, companies and careers without being afraid of failure.
Day 69: Politics
If graduates of the Future MBA are better prepared to put sustainability into practice in ways that make sense for organizations and the planet as a whole, it will be important that they make an impact across a range of sectors besides business.
The Future MBA will have a range of short courses that introduce students to non-business careers and provide them with the skills to succeed in those areas as well as bring skills and tools from those sectors into their business careers. The first will be focused on politics. This non-partisan, issue-neutral course will focus on how to run a campaign, including budgeting, polling, fundraising, public speaking, staffing, working with consultants and leadership. Students also will have the chance to work on real campaigns or even start their own.
Day 70: Teaching
It is crucial that we train the next generation of managers and leaders to understand sustainability and be able to put it into practice throughout their careers and in any job they have. The key to this happening isn’t necessarily the range of courses, experiences nor technology. The key is what they are being taught in the classroom and more important, how they are being taught. The challenge is that the teachers themselves often are not equipped with the tools, time or sometimes even desire to teach sustainability effectively. Their training and reputation usually revolves around research.
The Future MBA will give professors the choice of three tracks. They can become researchers, teachers or a combination of the two. Depending on the track they choose, they will go through additional training during their Ph.D and periodically after. Researchers will be provided with additional communication skills to be able to repackage and communicate their research to interested audiences. Professors who choose to be teachers will be provided with additional training in curriculum development and effective teaching methods. Professors can choose one track for their whole careers or change on a more short-term basis, and they will be rewarded and judged based on specific criteria relevant to their chosen track.
Top image by StockPhotosLV via Shutterstock.