The Dynamism of Business Schools

Santiago Iñiguez. Dean. IE Business School

20 June 2006

The future of business schools appears promising as students become increasingly interested in studying abroad.

Rapid growth and change in business schools

Business schools--probably the most dynamic segment in higher education-- are currently undergoing the most rapid transformation in their history. This sweeping change is due to the fact that competition between business schools is increasing, driven by globalisation and the growing number of schools. Underpinning this trend is the exponential growth in the number of students studying abroad.

Students have become more internationally mobile due to the fact that it is increasingly easier to get information on programs abroad. Students also have more options for financing study outside of their own country (study grants and credits). According to the Institute of International Education, by 2010 the number of students studying for university degrees outside their own countries is expected to exceed 5.8 million.

Technology and its role in the classroom

Furthermore, new technologies have had a significant impact on teaching systems and methods. Some business schools, such as the Instituto de Empresa in its global MBA program, have already adapted the potential of web 2.0 into their curriculum. The use of technological advances in this field is unstoppable; with each day more and more professors introduce the use of blogs, pod casts, clickers and digital cameras into their tool box of teaching materials. Meanwhile, this trend is coupled with the ever increasing interest of students in distance learning.

With the latest figures pointing to an increase of interest in MBAs, after years of stagnant growth, business schools are meeting the challenge by expanding their programs to include a larger student base and offering a greater variety of program studies. The most interesting opportunities will lie in new programs such as a Masters in the Science of Management, which will include a variety of specialisations such as finance and marketing. According to some estimates, the implementation of the Boulogne Agreement (the Higher Training Euro) will give rise to more than 12,000 new master’s degrees in Europe, with a potential demand of around 500,000 students, all in the area of business studies.

New alliances to meet new challenges

What is more, over the next few years we will see the epicentre of business management teaching shift from the West to areas in Asia, such as China and India. This is causing European and American schools in this region to work more closely to form alliances and reach common strategies in order to meet this growing demand.

Corporate social responsibility will also have an ever growing importance in this international arena, leading to greater research and teaching of this material as it becomes an intrinsic part of the core curriculum in all of the main business programs offered at a master’s level.

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