Online MBAs To Become The New Normal Within Five Years

online mba

Only one in five business school leaders believe their program will still be available in the classroom within five years as the coronavirus pandemic drives education online.

A new survey of leaders by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and the Business Graduates Association (BGA) showed only 21% of leaders think MBA programs will be taught in a traditional classroom format in five years.

The research showed 38% believe blended delivery will be the most prevalent form of teaching and 38% predict a hybrid approach.

Director of Marketing and Communications at AMBA David Woods-Hale said business schools were moving toward a ‘new normal’.

“The overarching take-away from this research is that things will never be the same as they were pre-Covid-19,” Mr Woods-Hale said.

“Last year, for many, represented a tipping point in terms of education technology and was the year business school leaders crossed the Rubicon into unchartered tech territory and into a future that has, undoubtedly, taken business education into a new phase from which we can never return.”

AMBA, an association of around 270 business schools from around the world, received 216 completed responses from leaders at international business schools as part of the survey.

Global Marketing Manager for Learning Experience at Barco, a technology company, Simone Hammer said the ‘new normal’ in education was digital and flexible.

“While we do not yet know when the Covid-19 crisis will be over, we do have one certainty: education and teaching have been transformed irreversibly, as the resistance to remote learning and the preconceptions associated with it have diminished significantly,” Ms Hammer said.

“As learners have experienced during the past year, there is not one way of learning, but a myriad which will be delivered in various blended ways – face-to-face, fully remote or hybrid/virtual, synchronous, or asynchronous.

“Further on, business schools will be able to expand farther than ever, teaching to a pool of students wider than ever, scaling their teaching to a global level and providing access to new segments of learners.

“It will no longer matter where a student is geographically, business schools will be able to bring together into one virtual classroom the best talents worldwide.”

Key Survey Findings

  • Business school leaders predict that blended and hybrid models will replace the traditional classroom-based delivery of courses in the next five years. Using the MBA programme as an example, 21% of leaders think MBA programmes will be taught in a traditional classroom format in five years, while 38% believe blended delivery will be the most prevalent form of teaching; and 38% predict a hybrid approach.
  • 96% of business school leaders said their school had increased its use of online delivery methods for programs because of Covid-19.
  • 84% of courses were taught in classrooms, pre-Covid-19, and this dropped to just 24% in 2020, while online delivery shot up from 8%, pre-Covid-19, to 68% during the pandemic.
  • 52% of business school leaders believe that online teaching methods are ‘the same as’, ‘somewhat better’, or ‘much better’ than traditional classroom teaching.
  • 76% of participants believe less travel for students was the biggest advantage of online teaching
  • 73% of business school leaders believe the biggest problem with online teaching is transforming courses to fit an online format.
  • 82% of business schools are planning to invest further in technology over the coming two years to enable online teaching; while 18% are not sure or are considering it. No survey participant said they were not intending to invest in online teaching methods.
    Digitalisation is deemed to be the most important concept in the running of a Business School over the next 10 years.

Doug Estwick
Doug is an author for MBA News and Fixed Income News Australia. Doug has been a media and communications professional for more than 10 years, including working as an editor for News Corp's Quest Newspaper group.