Emory University's Rob Kazanjian on the Changing State of Business Education
Today's MBA students face a turbulent economy, rapid technological advancement, and an increasingly connected world. Rob Kazanjian, Professor of Organization and Management, Vice Dean for Programs, and Interim Dean at Emory University's Goizueta Business School, discusses how business education has evolved to fit the changing times.
What advice would you give students trying to figure out which type of MBA program is right for them?
First, decide on the program length that's right for you and what you want to do with your completed MBA. If you're looking to make a career change, we would recommend the two-year program because it has a built-in internship opportunity. Those looking to accelerate their current career may opt for a one-year or evening program, which also could be a cost savings. You should also consider the learning environment and if you want to return to school full-time or continue working. This could play a role in both the program you choose and its location.
How do you think that MBA admissions requirements have changed and evolved over the course of the last few years?
The admissions process is more rigorous than ever. Admissions officers probe deeper into backgrounds to determine program preparedness. They want to understand your future goals as well as past accomplishments. They also look for resourcefulness, resiliency, and analytical skills more than in the past. The recruiting process is also year-round. So it's more important than ever to enter the process with a clear understanding of your tasks and goals.
How much should students be concerned with their undergraduate GPA when it comes to MBA admissions?
It's not the most important thing, but it is a measure used by admissions officers. It is important to understand that work experience and test scores are also heavily considered in the admissions process.
What are some of the biggest changes you foresee with the MBA and how it is applied going forward?
The MBA continues to evolve. For starters, there's more focus on making data-driven decisions and integrated decision making. We hear from recruiters and CEOs. They want employees able to support plans with data points while considering the traditional 'soft' skills of management.
Keeping a global perspective in mind, how do you think that the MBA is evolving and will continue to change with our interconnectivity?
You are certainly seeing an increase in schools extending a footprint into other countries. This is done with second campuses and extensive international programs. Improved technology is making communication easier, which increases the amount of global perspectives available in the classroom. I believe these trends will continue.
What is the biggest change in thinking you'd like to see with regards to the MBA for students?
MBA students and graduates face a world rife with ambiguous challenges. It's important to develop teaming skills and be able to address problems without complete information.
What advice would you give to a student applying to an MBA program now?
Have a clear understanding of your post-MBA goals. This helps in several areas including picking a program, getting admitted and continuing your professional career. It takes a great deal of self-awareness, which will pay dividends in all parts of life.