MBA education globally is revalidating itself. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) reported stable demand for MBA application volumes in their October 2018 study, but there are significant differences between programs. Biggest declines are seen in the traditional 2 year programs whereas programs that have added topical concentrations and flexibility with online modules have gained double-digit growth.
Despite the recent success of the concentration programs, it is hard to see graduate degree becoming predominantly a specialist degree given its traditions. Masters degree continues to attract people who are undertaking or are planning to undertake a career transition from a specialist or technical role to a role involving general management elements. This requires tactful balancing of general and concentration courses.
Business simulations are experiential learning tools that allow participants to run their virtual businesses in teams while competing against the other teams. Students practice a range of skills, including communication, team-work, self-management, short- and long-term planning, problem solving, and commercial skills. A good business simulation integrates different functions and creates a holistic learning experience that allows the participants to link their decisions with bottom line performance.
The biggest increases according to the GMAC report are seen in the data analytics concentrations. It is not a surprise that especially people with a STEM background are attracted by these concentrations, but it also seems that the demand for more analytically minded masters is increasing in general. Business simulations create a dynamic environment where students develop and implement strategies, analyse their own performance, and benchmark against competitors. Simulations also provide a range of reports where students can apply data analytics tools, like predictive analytics with linear regression.
Demand for flexibility is a no-brainer in today’s world. Online learning has become mainstream and people are prepared to complete courses without ever meeting their professor or class-mates in person. At the same time team-work and communication skills are very high in the recruiters’ wish lists. Modern business simulations provide a platform where these skills can be practiced. Simulations can be used equally well in a class-room or online. Students can use their laptops and mobile devices and practice virtual team-work.
In summary, business simulations create engagement, students can apply what they have learned in theory, practice social and collaborative learning, and learn to cope with uncertainty. In addition, simulations can help both the program and students to assess learning outcomes.
This article was originally published here.