Digitization, teleworking, hybrid environments, soft skills and even a new relationship with workers are just some of the changes that have occurred after two years of the pandemic; a social, economic and health crisis that has had a notable impact both in the business and academic worlds: “We cannot predict the future (…), but we can assure you that technology has transformed jobs, businesses and even sectors. The skills with which we have worked and that have been taught to us throughout our career are less and less adjusted to what is required in a world where the only constant is change”, says Borja Adanero, co-founder and executive president of The Power Business School. Preparing students for a work environment characterized by unprecedented flexibility and fluidity is, precisely, one of the main lines of the different master’s degrees in Business Administration (or MBA) offered in person, hybrid or on-line.
“We have to recognize that the future of work has already arrived for many skilled workers. Digitization and remote work are increasingly imposed, and there is a concern for the well-being of employees”, says Luis Vives, vice-dean of Programs of Esade Business School. A transformation that, he adds, implies assigning a new role to the offices, so that they become spaces that foster collaboration, learning and innovation. It is about “being able to generate a spirit of community and belonging in a distributed context, which allows maximum productivity to be obtained thanks to digital tools”.
And it is that covid-19 has not only caused a series of structural changes whose importance, by the way, begins to fade little by little as it progressively returns to face-to-face. It has also brought about a fundamental shift in worker motivation, as Norman Kurtis, Dean of Programs at IE Business School: “The biggest change is the students’ search for purpose. Increasingly, students want to work in a company or organization that is aligned with their values, while other aspects that have traditionally been great motivators (such as position or remuneration) lose importance, in relative terms”.
Featured trends in 2022
In the current context, prestigious MBAs will continue to be relevant (on-line or hybrid) that foster not only the necessary skills to be an entrepreneur and innovator, but also teach cooperative leadership and favor the development of a series of soft skills (or soft skills) that the labor market already demands, and whose importance the pandemic has only increased: critical and analytical thinking, the ability to solve problems and self-management, active learning, communication skills, empathy… “It is important understand that knowledge always ends up being outdated, while skills allow us to navigate complex environments and be resilient”, says Vives.
One of the growing demands among the participants of an MBA program is to develop the necessary skills to innovate and undertake, in order to not only be able to work in already consolidated companies, but also create their own companies. That is why, says the Esade professor, “many business schools are considering how to develop ecosystems that support innovation and entrepreneurship, from the development of the idea to the search for financing, through business angel or venture capital”.
But there is also another series of trends worth monitoring: greater specialization within MBAs (through concentrations or tracks)more importance of sustainability in curricula, greater application in real projects and duration as a differentiating factor (with MBAs of 10 or 11 months) and its impact on ROI [el retorno de la inversión, por sus siglas en inglés]. “In addition, there is an increasing need to train students in wellness, so that they have the right tools to manage their physical and mental health. Therefore [en IE] four years ago we created the Center of Health, Wellbeing and Happiness, that offers seminars, activities and courses on vitality, resilience, attention, empathy or mindfulness”Kurtis says.
Among the greatest challenges facing the labor market in the short and medium term are the urgency to solve the imbalance between the current skills of workers and those demanded, digital conversion and the increase, by companies, of digital profiles and technology, from big data until the Computer Science. But, in addition, and in the long term, “the need to relocate (with the need to retrain) a significant percentage of workers without digital skills and who occupy jobs that, to a large extent, will be automated”, points out the co-founder of ThePowerMBA ; the importance of positive leadership and the role of continuous learning (lifelong learning).
“Companies will have to reinvent professional profiles and bring them closer to the demands of an almost imminent future, and for that we will have to learn both new skills that adapt to existing positions (upskilling)how to acquire others for new jobs (reskilling). Adanero also draws attention to a new phenomenon: the growing difficulties of employers to recruit and retain. Before there were many companies where people fought to get in, but now it is not like that. Talented people, in general, look for a dynamic, close and flexible culture”.
Choosing the most appropriate MBA
They may look similar, but not all MBAs are the same, and that is why it is advisable to do some research before choosing one in particular. Having an MBA from an institution of proven prestige can help make a difference in a professional career, and allows students to “develop a holistic vision and skills to better manage not only in the current context, but above all in the world that we aspire to create”, reflects Vives. A good MBA can not only open the doors to very competitive sectors such as consulting and investment banking, but also has an employability of over 90%, and causes a salary increase of around 32.9%, according to data from the consulting firm Hamilton.
The first thing, in any case, is to be clear about the objectives that are intended to be achieved and the time that can be dedicated to it, in order to opt for a full-time master’s degree (Full Time MBA’s) or partial (Executive MBA’s). Meanwhile, when choosing the educational center, factors of various kinds come into play. It is important to look at the prestige of the institution in the business and academic sphere, both nationally and internationally (a factor that will depend on the quality of the faculty, the international accreditations of its programs, the content and the teaching format (face-to-face, on-line or blended); the pedagogical model and the culture of the institution; the link with the business world and the services offered by the school, such as a job bank or the network of alumni The profile of the other students and the flexibility of the master’s degree are, in addition, other aspects that must be taken into consideration.
Now, face-to-face on-line? It depends on the circumstances of each one, since the quality of the training will depend more on the institution and the faculty, rather than on the format itself. “Hybrid formats offer the possibility of extracting the best from face-to-face and remote learning, although they require greater effort (in synchronous temporary dedication) and physical travel to attend classes,” explains Vives.
The cost, of course, is a factor that must also be taken into account, due to the disparity of programmes, services and prices: tuition starts at 585 euros for the master’s degree on-line of ThePowerMBA up to more than 120,000 euros of Global Executive MBA from IESE, a face-to-face program that, over 17 months, takes you to six cities on three different continents. The option to do a master’s degree on-line or hybrid can often lower costs and provide a greater degree of flexibility, especially if we need to combine it with other work or academic occupations. So, for example, the Executive Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, of UOC, costs 8,965 euros, while the Executive Master in Finance (from Esade) rises to 23,000. Both formations led the last ranking FSO 2021, that includes the best institutions that offer master’s degrees on-line focused on ADE and Spanish speaking. On the other hand, it is important to remember that each business school has its own system of scholarships and financial aid, based on academic or professional merit.
Can you do an MBA with 15 minutes a day?
According to Adanero, co-founder of ThePower Business School, yes. The MBA of this school offers two versions (75 and 120 hours, the latter with digital marketing) structured in sessions of only 15 minutes a day. The content, explains Adanero, is the same as that of a master’s degree from a traditional business school, but explained in a more effective and practical way: “50% of the classes are theoretical; 25% present success stories and another 25% serve to analyze cases of companies that are changing the world. The mistakes they made in the past are reviewed and the strategies that made them successful are studied, so that they can replicate them.
“We believe that learning should be incorporated into your daily routine, and not the other way around. Why should you have to quit your job or put your life aside for two years?” asks Adanero. “Also, it is scientifically proven that your brain switches off at a certain point. So why not learn in little pills?
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