A decade ago, anyone who wanted to reach the top ranks of business went to graduate school to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Not so today, according to Harvard Business School professors Srikant M. Datar and David A. Garvin and research associate Patrick G. Cullen. In their book Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads, they note that, even before the economic downturn, employers had begun questioning the value of an MBA; as a result, young professionals were bypassing MBA programs. And when they did seek advanced education, they increasingly were forgoing the traditional two-year program and opting instead for one-year programs, which are especially popular in Europe.
For MBA degrees to restore their luster, the authors suggest, business schools should emphasize leadership and practical management skills and focus less on statistics and models. They also need to devote more attention to issues like accountability, ethics, global markets, and social responsibility that are essential for effective management in today's workplace. In addition, they should hire faculty who can better meld theory and practice in their teaching.
Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads (ISBN: 978- 1-4221-3164-0) is published by Harvard Business Press. The authors discuss their views on the future of MBA education in this Q&A.