Forty-one years ago, the world changed forever when the first message was sent over the internet. It should have read ‘Login’ but just contained the message ‘Lo’ as the system crashed.
It may have been an inauspicious start, but more than 100 billion emails are now sent daily – although on some days, you might feel they’re all landing in your inbox. Today, we don’t just shop and get our entertainment online. We increasingly learn via the internet, a factor that has emerged alongside pressure for greater flexibility in our lives and the changing needs of business.
As Vice-Chancellor of Arden University, I believe it’s essential for higher education to evolve if it’s to help make the most of an individual’s potential and meet the needs of the economy. Take MBAs, for example. They’re a globally recognised passport to a successful career in business and have been around for about a century.
I’ve seen the learning landscape for MBA students transformed with real-time webinars, interactive student forums and study groups that span the globe – and all on an array of devices.
But is the MBA still fit for purpose? My team at Arden University has been talking to students and employers. Those discussions have produced a modern MBA, accredited by the Chartered Management Institute.
I think of teaching on typical MBA courses as akin to looking at a bunch of separate cogs all spaced apart, with each cog representing a specific function – for example marketing, strategy, communication or another management area.
On our new MBA, we pull the cogs together, so students can understand how each relates to the other and fires up the machine. That’s what students wanted and employees need from MBA graduates today.
Being able to study at your own pace and at different entry points throughout the year offers vital flexibility. Companies may support their staff, but for self-funders installment plans or even a study break make it easier to manage the cost of an MBA.
Accepting applications from individuals with considerable managerial experience, even if they don’t have formal qualifications, is another important aspect to modern MBA courses. Some 90% of our students work, while others juggle family commitments. The MBA may be a familiar qualification, but it has never been more relevant to modern business and modern lives.