Richard Lyons, University of California, Berkley’s Haas School of Business expects that one half of the business schools in the country will be out of business in ten years, though he says it could be as soon as five. Given this prediction, Robert Lytl, an education consultant for the Parthenon Group, is advising that business schools begin focusing on building strong online programs to secure a future.
Even top schools are expected to go online, which means trouble for low ranking business schools. Students who would be unwilling to travel for school will now have access to a top tier education without relocation. Smaller schools will need to find a way to emphasize the importance of in-person business programs in a way that makes their value over online programs abundantly clear.
They might choose to place focus on the professor/student interaction, peer interaction, or experiential learning opportunities. While some of these things might be possible in an online program, they’re certainly more difficult. The difference may be in the community developed while in collegiate programs—a community of likeminded individuals with similar goals and a network of businesspeople. Online programs do not offer the experience of immersion, as many who enroll in these types of programs work or have families that require time.
But do entrepreneurs even need formal business school? Jason Hartman doesn’t think so, and he’s not alone. There is something to be said for simple real world experience, and programs that offer education outside the context of a university are popping up here and there. There are apprenticeship style programs, internships, and other types of nontraditional forms of education happening to prepare budding entrepreneurs for the world of business.
But some argue that business programs offer the chance to explore other (related) disciplines within the context of entrepreneurship. An MBA may also be a selling point to potential investors down the road, though early investment may easily provide another way to make the money you need to begin a business.
Either way, it is clear that business education is going through a period of drastic change. What do you think? Does business school provide an advantage in the business world? Does it hurt? Share your comments below! (photo credit: HPUPhotogStudent via photopin cc)