What will the MBA degree look like in 2100 AD?


One of the most sought after graduate degrees is indubitably the MBA: there are many reasons for this, some related to the demand for top flight management professionals in today’s world, and some related to the opportunities that an MBA degree open up.

We get many questions from people we coach about whether the MBA will still be a valuable degree in the future (since they will have to use their MBAs in the professional world for the next 35 years or so). Our answer to all of them is the same: an MBA from a top flight global business school will retain its value for the foreseeable future.

But what about the long term? In close to a century from now, will the MBA still remain the pre-eminent degree that it is today? Can history teach us anything about the future? What new degrees might crop up as serious contenders to the throne of king of the graduate degrees?

In this Jamboree special feature, we bring you many different perspectives on what the MBA might look like in 2100 AD, and do our best to justify each of them.

MBAs will heavily power the growth of mega industry corporations

Today, about 60% of the MBA graduates from a top Business School abroad go into consulting or finance roles. In the long term, that could change – in a world where there is consolidation in all industries, the biggest companies of the future will see value in developing their own in house consulting divisions.

These will be diverse enough to attract grads away from traditional management consulting jobs, and lucrative enough to lure away some from high paying finance roles. In addition, these would have great growth potential – in a mega corporation, the sky is the limit for a high performer.

Therefore, the MBA of 2100 AD will probably have very different placement profiles from that of today.

As far as big names in the MBA field are concerned, 70% of the top 10 will probably remain the same

As of 2015, we have seen the top 10 business schools globally remain quite stable for a few decades, with the possible addition of INSEAD to most lists. Therefore, the emergence of a new great business school is something akin to a tectonic shift – we will not see the top 10 changing overnight, that’s for sure.

Every few decades or so, we will probably see the emergence of another huge new Business School that takes its place in the Top 10; such a school is likely to disrupt the status quo through an innovation, like INSEAD introduced the one year full time MBA.

However, for the large part, we are convinced that schools like Harvard, Stanford and Wharton will still be global giants in the business degree world, in 2100 AD.

At least one graduate degree is likely to challenge the MBA in terms of popularity

There has been no broad based degree that has emerged as a serious contender to the MBA so far, but we expect a few to step up and do this over the next 85 years. These will probably be driven by urgencies in the external world: just like the need to rebuild the world post the World Wars demanded a cadre of trained business managers worldwide, and led to the explosion in popularity of the MBA degree, there will, no doubt, be other occurrences over the next century that demand training of a different kind.

For example, in case energy and population issues continue to grow in urgency as they are today, we could well see the demand for professionals who can craft and execute sustainability strategies at every level of business and organization operations. If humanity decides to prioritize the movement out to space, it will need a group of professionals who make this happen, and organize our journey to the stars. Any large disruption of this nature could see the creation of a popular degree to train those who will answer the world’s most crying needs.

In addition, we do not expect other popular degrees to eclipse the MBA degree, partially or completely. They will co-exist in all probability – trained business managers will always be needed in the foreseeable future!

Every big Business School in the world will use Virtual Reality systems to reach places they never have before

A large part of the value proposition of joining a huge global Business School is the opportunity to visit and work in geographies you never have before. However, the fact that most of these top schools have a single location limits their intake. Imagine a world where virtual reality could expand the class sizes of an HBS or a GSB, without diluting their quality control at all.

Imagine a world where a classroom case was administered by using Virtual Reality systems to place students squarely in the middle of the business situation described in the case: we are convinced that they would be able to grasp its finer points much more readily. All these are indicators of how MBA schools of the future will use technology to train their students better: they have been forerunners so far, with their early adoption of IT systems. This will continue.

MBA admissions will become more competitive; signing up with the right prep partners will be even more important

Today, getting into a top flight school for your MBA is important, and a lot of people know this. However, since some do not give their prep the time it deserves, the competition is a little less than it will be in the future. In 2100 AD, we might see hundreds of thousands of people applying to each of the top schools, driven by greater information, better publicity mechanisms, and a growing proportion of the world’s population coming into prosperity.

Even today, working with the right coaches for your GMAT and application is imperative. In 2100 AD, it will become even more so. In a competitive environment, the only thing that distinguishes you is the quality of your friends, and this will be apparent going forward.

Interdisciplinary programs will enrich the conventional MBA

In the past decade or so, we have seen the mix of management degrees change for the better: MS degrees that blend management with other degrees (e.g. In engineering) have become popular, while dual degrees blending the MBA with other top flight degrees (e.g. JD, MPA) have emerged.

We expect this trend to continue, and hit its peak by 2100 AD. In a world where the top professionals are striving for differentiation, a dual degree in two important disciplines is one way to assert individuality, and do really well at something that is meant for you. Hybrid degrees will help people choose their skills and hone their applications before going for a full MBA.

We hope that this feature has been a fun look into the future, and that you remain convinced that an MBA is one of the better investments you can make in your future. If at all there are any changes in the pecking order of degrees, they are likely to happen well past our lifetimes, so we should be good for now.

If you would like to obtain the most popular graduate degree in the world from the very best places in the world – top Business Schools abroad – there’s no time to start like the present. If you are looking for a place to prepare for the GMAT or the GRE, Jamboree has coaching options and guarantees coaching quality like no other.

If you would like to think through an application strategy or fine tune your application for success in the top schools in the world, we invite you to drop by one of our many centres, and discuss your MBA plan with one of our experts. If something’s still going to be around – and thriving – a century from now, you should know what it’s all about!

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