Interesting piece from Inside Higher Ed on Wharton’s revamping of its MBA program. Wharton was the first American business school — a radical idea in 1881 — and is helping move the field forward again with some innovative new ideas. From the piece:
“What we were trying to understand was, going out 20 years, what the world and M.B.A. education should look like.”
Inherent in Wharton’s design is the concession that no one really knows the answer. Changes — in technology, the pace of work and life, global competition, and the environment — have roiled the world, and business in particular, since the last curriculum revamping. Wharton’s solution is to offer tuition-free executive education training to future graduates of its master’s in business administration program, in what it dubs a “radically new vision of business education as a lifelong ‘knowledge partnership.’ ”
According to this new model — which Robertson likened to a sabbatical — incoming students will be eligible to take, for free, a one-week executive education course every seven years after they graduate. About 10,000 students each year have come through Wharton’s executive programs, which now cost between $25,000 for two weeks and $50,000 for a month. More than 800 are enrolled in this year’s entering M.B.A. class. But there has been room in classes and the idea was seen as being important enough to offer for free in small doses, said Robertson. “It’s a notion that, while we may do a good job of preparing students for the next few years, things are changing rapidly,” he said. “They need to come back for job training.”
There are some interesting things in the piece by Dan Berret and I find it interesting that there is little in the piece about pedagogy and new learning and communications styles. BTW, its amazing how much Wharton gets for its executive programs (from the piece: “About 10,000 students each year have come through Wharton’s executive programs, which now cost between $25,000 for two weeks and $50,000 for a month.” 10,000 x $25,000 (at the low end)! Thats a lot of money.
BTW, for a great history on the MBA and some really good nuggets on the founding of Wharton check out Carter Daniel’s MBA: The First Century.