Graduate Management News

February 2014

The Newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council

PD to GO: Our Moving World and the Shifting Nature of GME

Explore the strategic shifts in graduate management education.

Graphic for PD TO GO blog

Last month at the 2014 Leadership Conference, co-hosted by GMAC and the MBA Roundtable, Professor Dipak Jain opened the event by exploring strategic shifts in graduate management education. While Dr. Jain inspired so many “ah-ha” moments for our audience, we’ll choose a few to share with PD TO GO readers. 

Former dean of both INSEAD and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Jain stressed that you can’t consider business schools outside of the context of global business. From the pre-19th century up to the 20th century, business focus shifted from colonialism, or land acquisition, to capitalism, or the free-market competitive landscape of today. In the former, the major “business” players were countries and success metrics hinged on strength and political power. Capitalism saw a shift to corporate players where success equaled profits. As we move further into the 21st century, we are now undergoing a focal shift to entrepreneurialism. In this business context, the individual becomes the key player while purpose and significance are becoming our new success metrics. 

What does this mean for business schools? Our focus must shift as well. We must help develop the human capital that will shape business. By providing global experiential learning opportunities we can encourage our students to learn more than just “hard” skills. Through exposure to different cultures and business environment, our students will develop the much more complex and context-dependent skill-sets of ethics, social responsibility and sustainability. Yes, academic relevance and rigor will always be part of our educational mission, but we must also recognize the importance of providing learning that will foster high-impact results. 

Jain smartly identified how management education functions in the greater global business world. Business transformation today is being impacted by globalization (enabled by technology), hyper-competition (increased by complexity), uncertainty (regarding economic, social, and political standing), integration (between business, government, and society), and public scrutiny (around transparency and accountability). Feeding from this, management education faces increasing pressure to maintain its reputation by enriching curriculum, embracing online pedagogical tools, and engaging communities. 

In sum, Jain suggested that in today’s evolving business environment, the success measures of impact will shift profits and/or acquisitions to significance and purpose. This makes it a transformative and exciting time for business schools, which are creating leaders who have passion, vision, and the ability to harness both. 

Hope to see you all at the upcoming Annual Conference in June!