Digital delivery and sustainability the key MBA success

Griffith University's Dr Nick Barter
Griffith University’s Dr Nick Barter

MBA’s must adapt to offer digital delivery and put sustainability at the core of their curriculum if they wish to be successful, according to a new white paper from Griffith Business School.

In the paper, titled “The future of MBA programs: A perspective” report authors Associate Professor Nick Barter and Professor Evan Douglas argue that MBAs must adapt to the changing environmental and technological environment or fail.

“The MBA has faced many challenges in the past and has evolved slowly and surely for the most part,” the report says.

“At this stage of its evolution, the two key challenges it needs to face are the rise of the sustainability imperative and the speed of technological progress relating to the digital revolution.”

“The manager of the 21st Century needs to do business both sustainably and digitally and MBA programs that don’t encourage and enable this are not fit for purpose.”

The report says that in the past MBAs have been almost entirely focussed upon teaching students to maximise corporate profits but with the growth of the world population and the end of the Cold War, sustainability had risen to become a core business objective.

“Sustainability is a concept that is often misunderstood as a nice thing to do and or just another issue to deal with, but also an issue that is subservient to the core activity of making money,” the report says.

“This is a view that is myopic, in our view. Sustainability and symmetrical concepts such as responsible leadership will become core to MBA programs; not least because such concepts address the challenges of 21st Century and infuse organisations and commerce with purpose, and such purpose that it pulls in its wake the possibility of monetary gains.”

The report authors also warned that the digital revolution would transform the higher education sector just like it had the the music and newspaper industries.

It said the growth of Massive Online Learning Courses was just one example of the changes that were coming to higher education.

“These initiatives have not realised their full impact on the market place yet, and over the coming years winner and losers will emerge,” the report said.

“However, the overarching message is clear, the digital revolution is beginning to impact upon higher education, just as it has so many other industries and the expectations of students are changing and thus delivery of education by providers needs to change.”

It said that the key impacts of the digital revolution would be that providers without a distinctive value set and perspective would be commoditised and ultimately disappear from the market, price points would be challenged, MBAs would become more flexible in terms of content and timelines, and MBAs could be offered by a wider range of providers, who in some cases may not be an institute of higher education.


Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (