The future of business schools

So I haven’t posted for awhile, mostly because my thoughts have either been too scattered, too focused on specific classroom stuff that I can’t discuss, or on program development that is hush-hush until formal approval.  At the beginning of November I had a fascinating conversation that really challenged me to think about what are we trying to do here at UBCO that is different than everyone else.  Of course, maybe we don’t have to be different.  Forcing differentiation is not a good thing, it should either come through stakeholder demands, or visionary insight.  I’ve been hoping and praying for some of the latter for a month now!

Note: usually I don’t like to complain without offering potential solutions as well, but today is an exception.  I’ve delayed writing this for a month in hopes that I could find some light at the end of the tunnel, I’m not waiting anymore.

There is substantial literature out there that has suggested that management education needs a serious change of direction.  Personally, I don’t see many significant shifts.  Why?  I think there are three possible (non-independent) reasons: (1) management education doesn’t need to change and the literature is wrong, (2) internally we don’t know how to change nor de we care to learn how, or (3) the risk of failure is too large so we remain in our ruts.Finally,  if all the programs are similar how do we justify what we do?  Why do we all try to replicate the structure of every other major business school?  Maybe, just maybe, there’s room for very unique, very niche management topics.  Perhaps we’ll be offering a management degree for students focusing on alternative travel, real alternative, like time-travel.  Imagine dealing with the human resource or accounting issues involved in that.  Before I work on that program I promise I will first figure out how unique it is, maybe there are already 100 schools offering that program.  Second, I will muddle through my first question in this post which was why can’t management education move forward?