What are some of the trends you are seeing both in regards to MBA students and the business world?
Students have realized that an MBA is useful not only for careers in the private world, but also the non-profit, public, and government world. Students know that they need business skills to make an impact in whatever industry or functional area that they go into to improve the society around them.
Have you seen an increase in the number of students hoping to go a more untraditional path, such as working in a startup or starting their own startup than a large organization on Wall Street? If so, what do you think has contributed to this?
Many international students are choosing to go back to their home country than ever before to start their own businesses or work in a family business. This trend has dramatically increased over the past two to three years. I believe this is part due to the tight visa situations in the U.S., but also because there are more opportunities than ever before in emerging markets.
In the US, recent policy changes make it easier for people to crowdfund their ideas since they now can offer equity. Do you see this trend as impacting the MBA / business school world? In what way?
While we do not have data on the methods by which our MBA students secure funding for their entrepreneurial endeavours, our business plan competitions draw individual sponsors, corporate sponsorship and garner national media attention. Given the prominence of our students in the marketplace, I would suspect that they are pursuing crowdfunding as a means to raise capital. Our students are at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship and crowdfunding is becoming more commonplace amongst start ups.
The marketplace is demanding new skills such as collaborative, horizontal management and digital skills. Social media makes it so consumers demand ethical businesses. This is quite different than traditional business culture. How has your school adapted to these changes? What other changes do you for see in the business school world?
We are doing the most interesting and important work in the Nation’s Capitol at the intersection of business and society. Our deep bench of faculty is engaged in questions of corporate social responsibility, sustainability and finance and ethics. What we really care about is are we producing the most ethically and socially responsible leaders in the world and are they having an impact.
It seems that these changes also change the type of personalities that might be best suited for management. Are you seeing diversity in the types of students that are applying to business school (such as artists, etc.)?
GW attracts students not only from traditional business undergraduate majors, but also from social science, humanities, economics and engineering majors. Likewise, while a majority of our students still come from traditional business functional and industry areas, we have seen students come to our program from Teach for America, the Peace Corps, international development as well as the public world, the latter given our location and reputation in the DC area.
The world has gone global. Gen Y and Z have grown up talking to people in other parts of the world during things as simple as playing online games. In the US, Latinos and Women have become an important growth market because of their numbers and significance online. How are business schools addressing this shift in the market?
We realize that the future of education rests in an institutions' ability and knowledge to utilize digital technology to enhance its educational experience. In order to reach a broader audience of diverse individuals who are consuming most of their knowledge in a digital space, universities must reinvent the art of education delivery to meet the needs of its consumers. This does not mean abandoning the traditional in-class experience and course methodology, but rather being creative about how to use digital technology to enhance the educational environment.
Why has HR become such an important field in the wake of the digital revolution?
The economy that we live in has forced many organizations to examine their organizational structures and knowledge capabilities of their human capital. Many of them have found that they could be working more efficiently or effectively by reorganization. With this reorganization, however, there are many considerations that larger organizations have to take. GW has witnessed an increase in job opportunities for strategic human capital positions and projects that this will likely be the trend for the near future.