How the School of Business Is Rebooting the MBA for the Digital Future
For many business schools, securing accreditation from AACSB International is about gaining membership to an exclusive club of the world’s most elite colleges.
For Stevens Institute of Technology, however, it opened the door for the university to provide leadership into the digital future of business.
Less than five years after earning accreditation, the Stevens School of Business is leading a national effort aimed at retooling traditional management curricula for a digital era. By selecting Stevens to head the project, AACSB has endorsed the university as one uniquely positioned to ensure that the MBA curriculum evolves with the times.
Known as the MaCuDE (Management Curriculum for the Digital Era), the Stevens-led effort will coordinate the work of deans and faculty from more than 100 universities as they examine core disciplines of finance, marketing, leadership and strategy with an eye toward the needs of tomorrow’s workplace. PwC will provide financial support.
Topics of study could include such digital technologies as artificial intelligence, internet of things, robotics, blockchain and augmented reality — tools and skills you’d be hard pressed to find in an MBA curriculum at the moment.
“The future belongs to MBAs who code,” stresses Gregory Prastacos, dean of the School of Business and principal investigator for the initiative. “Leaders increasingly need technology-driven insights to quickly seize new opportunities in the marketplace. Our emphasis has long been blending business and technology to ensure leaders are prepared for an ever-changing digital environment.
“I’m excited to share what we’ve learned with some of the world’s great universities and, in turn, to benefit from their expertise as we collaborate to reinvent business education.”
Why Stevens? In addition to its leading business teaching and research, the university’s proximity to New York City has enabled access to leading firms such as American Express, Facebook, Pfizer, UBS and Google, who join Stevens advisory boards and submit curricular feedback.
“In two board meetings last spring, the disruptive importance of digital technologies was highlighted by each of these companies, as was the need for academia to adjust their programs to equip graduates with the right skills,” explains Prastacos.
The MaCuDE teams will spend two years meeting with corporate leaders and discussing skills and technologies that should be added to, subtracted from or refined in business curricula.
“Literally everything we do is affected by IT, data and transaction processing,” summarized PwC partner A. Michael Smith. “In my brief time with Stevens, I’ve been very impressed — and I am certain that the combination of our brands will create substantial momentum to ensure successful completion of the project.”