Dominique Turpin analyses the issues and forces that are buffeting business schools.
The world of business education is facing its biggest opportunities and challenges in history. Four major forces are starting to shape the future of business schools over the next five, ten or 20 years.
The first issue concerns public funding. This is becoming more difficult to obtain as governments have less money to spend, at least in some parts of Europe. As a result some schools are having to merge, as we have seen already in France, for example.
The second issue is demographics. Europe and Japan in particular face the challenge of an ageing population. When you want to predict the future, the only sure thing is that tomorrow you will be older than today. Consequently, you only have to look at demographics to know that some countries are going to face problems.
The third challenge is economic. Economic problems in Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and elsewhere are seriously affecting job opportunities for business school graduates and participants.
The fourth factor is technology, and this will become even more important in the future. We all know that e-learning will be a massive challenge as well as a huge opportunity for business schools around the world. “MOOCs” (massive open online courses) are a reality, and e-learning could reshuffle the cards in a way that may well change the fate of a number of schools.
Technology will most likely mean that an increasing number of new competitors enter the management education market. And there will be a new type of competitor that approaches companies with executive education “solutions” and says: “You don’t need to send all your people to those big expensive business schools. We will go onto the web for you and find all the good stuff that is available, package it and sell it to you at a fraction of the price that traditional business schools would charge”.
The questions for anyone entering the e-learning field are still how to finance it and how to develop a sustainable competitive advantage. Many people have become very used to getting lots of things free from the internet. So, how do you price your – offering? And how do you develop a competitive edge? What will be the key success factor? The school’s brand? The faculty’s reputation? Or a combination of both?
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See more articles from Vol.07 Issue 02 – ’13.