Poets and Quants reports that Hult Labs (affiliated with Hult International Business School) recently did a study "What Employers Want" focusing on how well business schools were meeting employer needs. They interviewed 90 C-suite execs, managers and academics to gather their impressions about MBA programs. There were three major concerns raised:
1. Metrics: schools use grades to measure academic performance but they do not measure whether students are gaining skills in such critical areas as communication, leadership or team skills.
2. Emphasis: MBA programs do a good job teaching traditional subjects such as finance and marketing but fall down in 10 areas: self-awareness, integrity, cross-cultural competency, team skills, critical thinking, communication, comfort with ambiguity and uncertainty, creativity, execution, and sales.
3. Theory vs. Practice: those surveyed think there is too much theory and not much application in most MBA programs.
My take: NC State's Jenkins MBA has a distinctive approach to management education that emphasizes applied learning. All students must now complete a semester-long project sponsored by a real organization that forces them to apply theory from the classroom. The program also provides strong training in most of the 10 areas cited above and is looking how to improve in all areas. So in 2 of the 3 areas cited we are in much better shape than most business schools. Alas we do give grades and probably should consider how to get real time feedback to students throughout the program on their communication and interpersonal skills.
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