How will technology affect MBA programs?

Download Image for News

How will technology affect MBA programs?


The Master of Business Administration (MBA) remains a highly sought-after qualification across sectors and industries, both locally and globally. There are many reasons for this. “The challenges of the 21st-century business landscape require leaders/managers to have a multidiscipline skill-set, and the multifaceted nature of the MBA and its orientation towards integrating all parts of the whole are therefore the ideal incubator for shaping the requisite skillset,” says Dr Cobus Oosthuizen, dean of the business school at Milpark Education.

But the MBA, like many other programmes and sectors, is likely to be disrupted by further advancements in technology through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Here’s how MBAs of the future will be shaped by technology:

1. Programmes will have to be adaptable: “I argue that programme content of future MBA programmes will not be the primary requisite imperative as information becomes more democratised, but rather the design of the programme and the associated learning environment that is created,” says Cobus.

2. To be relevant, it will be less about what business schools ‘think’ students need: “It is critical that business schools understand what students should be prepared for, and design backward from there,” says Cobus.

3. Students will be able to study from anywhere and MBAs will become cheaper: There will no longer be a need for ‘feet under the classroom table’. “As a result of technological advancements, geographical location will no longer be a constraint, and costs will be dramatically driven down, making the MBA more accessible,” adds Cobus.

What will the MBA look like in 2030?

“My submission is that the MBA in 2030 will have far less emphasis on the business management functions of finance, marketing operations, HR operations, and the like. Greater emphasis will be on, amongst others, complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, cognitive flexibility, sense-making, social intelligence, cross-cultural competency, virtual collaboration, design mind-set, futures, and strategic foresight.

“There will be less ‘discipline-specific’ modules and more integrative, immersive group projects. Proctored examinations will be something of the past as students will demonstrate competence by means of portfolios of evidence, reports and presentations on real-life projects,” concludes Cobus.

07 Sep 2018