Forty-one years ago, the world changed forever when the first internet message was sent. It should have read ‘Login’, but just contained the message ‘Lo’ as the system crashed.
It may have been an inauspicious start to the internet, but more than 100 billion emails are now sent daily – although on some days, you might feel they’re all landing in your inbox.
Meanwhile, there are more than a billion websites out there. 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 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. MBA courses, which have been around for about a century, enable students to gain an integrated and critical understanding of management and organisations.
Of course, I’ve seen the learning landscape for MBA students transformed with real-time webinars, interactive student forums and study groups that cross 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 being like 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.
As someone who is committed to widening access to higher education, a modern MBA opens the door to individuals who might not otherwise be able to benefit.
Being able to study at your own pace and different entry points through 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. Students typically complete an MBA within three years, although it’s possible to do it within 18 months.
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 per cent 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.
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