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Association of MBAs (AMBA) Director Predicts Future MBA Trends

ambaAn article in today’s Independent provided a glimpse into the future of the MBA degree as the director of a global MBA accrediting body shared his picks for the top five MBA trends of 2015. Andrew Main Wilson is CEO of the Association of MBAs (AMBA), described as an international impartial authority on postgraduate management education. In this role, he pays close attention to the ever evolving MBA. In the near future, he tells us to look for alternative funding sources for MBA studies, a wider range of specializations, more growth in entrepreneurialism, curriculum changes and flexible delivery and learning.

Citing the AMBA 2012 Salary Survey, Wilson notes that corporate sponsorship of the MBA has been and continues to fall, which has led to the development of new funding sources, such as crowd funding and peer-to-peer lending. These, he says, “are likely to increase in popularity – and are certainly going to become a trend in 2015.”

Wilson also anticipates the comeback of the MBA specialization, which was highly popular about 10 years ago. The specializations of 2015 will include some from the past, such as ones related to finance, marketing, strategy and technology, but new ones will also become more prevalent, such as luxury goods, healthcare, aviation, education and energy, Wilson writes. Citing input from MBA recruiters, he also anticipates a rise in specializations in areas such as human resource management, project and program management, marketing and supply chain management.

Something else Wilson sees in his crystal ball includes a growing trend toward entrepreneurialism as part of the MBA. Notably, says Wilson, entrepreneurial MBA studies are becoming increasingly popular both in the eyes of students and employers. Whereas in the past, big employers might have been reluctant to hire MBA graduates with significant entrepreneurship coursework for fear that the new recruits would use the job to learn the ropes before leaving to start ventures of their own, today’s large firms are increasingly recognizing that innovation and entrepreneurial skills are vital to enable them to compete,” he writes.

Several leading business schools have already begun to implement the curriculum changes that Wilson predicts will be a fourth trend in the near future. Some of the most significant changes to core curriculum are likely to be more focus on leadership, entrepreneurship, more specializations and greater emphasis on corporate/social responsibility, he says.

Lastly, Wilson predicts that greater expectation on the part of students for flexibility in the way in which they learn will drive further innovation in how MBA programs are delivered. This could range from programs featuring multiple entry points throughout the years to blended learning platforms combining both online and classroom-based teaching. And business schools offering multiple locations will become increasingly common, especially with an ever growing focus on globalization within the business world.

Read Wilson’s complete article, “Five MBA Trends for 2015,” in the Independent.