I emphasize constantly the importance of school research at this stage of the MBA application process. First of all you need to figure out which schools best support your goals and provide a reasonable chance of acceptance to know where to apply. Furthermore, demonstrating a strong grasp of each school’s strengths and curriculum along with some feel for its culture is a critical element in a successful MBA application. Enter The MBA Tour, which presents numerous opportunities to learn about top MBA programs at its events around the world.
Additionally, its CEO and Managing Director, Peter Von Loesecke, is a keen observer of the MBA scene. As the 2012 MBA application season start to gather steam, I turned to Peter for a brief interview and his observations on graduate management education.
LA: What do you see as the 3 most significant changes in graduate business education in the last ten years?
PVL: One- The rise of experiential learning either through direct contact or focused MBA programs.
Two-The increased attention on sustainability which encompasses an ever broadening array of topics from environmental issues to ethics.
Three- Globalization of learning which includes everything from exchange programs to required international learning projects.
LA: Do you feel that the rise of European and Asian business schools could dethrone U.S. schools as leaders in graduate business education? What are they doing right?
PVL: The rise of European and Asian business schools is only natural as business education becomes more and more important for training executives outside the US. Culturally, these programs do offer a different experience for MBA candidates and are in a better position to offer business education to the local market. US programs are recognizing this and are collaborating with many non US programs. I think in the coming years you will see many great programs emerge that will challenge the popularity of US programs. It’s already happening in Europe and will happen in Asia.
LA: Do you feel that experiential learning is going to replace cases? Or do you feel that case study schools will still use primarily case study in the classroom, but also add experiential elements to their curricula.
PVL: Personally, I believe the case study method is still relevant for educating students on how to approach and think about solving real business problems. Experiential learning is a good opportunity for students to see how business school methodologies can be applied in a practical world, but case studies can still be used to teach a disciplined approach. I think the debate on the mix of case and non case is still relevant.
LA: Where do you see graduate business education going in terms of geography and methodology in the next 5-10 years?
PVL: I see the business education market in the US recovering slowly and the business education in fast growing economies (China and India) becoming in high demand. The challenge is that many students will not want to leave their jobs and will want flexible programs that provide an education part time. However, the emerging part time models will offer an interesting alternative to full time programs
LA: How have MBA fairs changed in the last ten years? Are there any lessons for applicants?
PVL: More and more MBA programs want MBA fairs to bring in candidates for the immediate application season. That’s hard for some regions where students must go through an immigration process and international move at the same time. Schools are also looking for better prepared students as websites distribute more and more basic information about their programs. Therefore students need to be better prepared to ask questions that are less about general information and more about how well they know a program and what it can do for them. We will not exist as a company if we were to have students come to our events and ask what the average GMAT score is at a school.
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