What's happening? Garvin calls this the "hollowing out of the MBA marketplace." The "product" -- students with an MBA education -- is less in demand by employers, who want their prospective leaders equipped to meet the new challenges of a global market. The foundation that business schools taught over the last 50 years -- analytics, models, and statistics -- are now being, if not replaced, at least supplemented by new requirements in the workplace.
As Garvin tells HBS Working Knowledge in an interview:
"MBA graduates increasingly need to be more effective: they need to have a global mindset, for example, develop leadership skills of self-awareness and self-reflection; and develop an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of business, and the limitations of models and markets."Specifically, Garvin points to three "needs."
- Greater self-awareness. Executives want managers who understand the impact they have on the performance of others.
- Development of more practical skills. Today's managers should come equipped to lead teams, run meetings, deliver effective presentaions and give performance feedback.
- Understanding the big picture. Modern organizations are complex organisms, and leaders, to be effective, must understand the context of how decisions are made. It's often better to find a good solution that can be executed easily rather than the 'right' solution that would be disruptive to implement.
You are an experienced manager who has been around the track a few times. So what's your advice to B-schools on what they should be teaching their students?