Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Disrupting the MBA: How new educational models can reshape the full-time MBA
by Tsung, Wendy P., Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2016, 163; 10158527
Abstract (Summary)

The traditional, full-time MBA program environment has become increasingly tumultuous. The many pressures facing business schools, from declining interest of applicants to the burgeoning number of schools and degree formats, have led many to predict that the model cannot continue as is and is ripe for change. Many believe consolidation in the business school marketplace is inevitable and survival is not guaranteed.

Business schools instruct students that, in today’s competitive environment, companies must be able to adapt and quickly respond to changes in the business environment. However, business schools do not seem to have practiced what they preached. Although most business schools would say that they are continuously improving the degree, they likely would agree that most of the changes have been incremental and that the traditional MBA program has remained largely unchanged since its inception. The primary purpose of this study is to explore how the full-time MBA program might be transformed by seeing how four highly ranked business schools would view innovations developed by two leading business schools and whether reengineering the educational model also transforms the business model.

There is a strongly held belief that the traditional two-year, in-person MBA will continue to be relevant but may be sustained only by the top-20 schools. The hundreds of other business schools will be forced to adapt, but the degree and urgency to which they do may vary based on their perception of the school’s standing and their willingness to challenge existing beliefs around their brand image, pride of creation, and entrenched incentives.

Change and adopting innovation do not guarantee success. Likewise, doing nothing does not guarantee failure. Change, however, is inevitable and might happen quicker than business schools anticipate because of market forces. Business schools that have the most to lose already have begun experimenting with innovation outside their reputation-based full-time program. Should the expertise built and lessons learned from this experimentation be incorporated into their full-time programs, the established schools may witness a new pecking order.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Zemsky, Robert
Commitee: Beardsley, Scott C., Moneta, Larry
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Higher Education Management
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 78/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Business education, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Business schools, Change, Higher education disruption, Innovation, Management education
Publication Number: 10158527
ISBN: 978-1-369-13535-0
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