The Netherlands' Nyenrode Business Universiteit has announced that it has begun the process of reshaping its International MBA program.
Instead of providing standalone courses and modules, the MBA will instead deliver curriculum based on integrated business practices, such as Information, Innovation & Digitalization, Strategy, Markets, and Globalization & Competitiveness, among others.
Designing an MBA program around integrated business practices makes sense when you look at how business happens in real life, according to Christo Nel, the program's director.
“Business isn’t run as separate courses but as a set of integrated real-life practices," says Nel. "It is our commitment to run a degree program which prepares people for business. To do so, the content needs to be as close to this reality as possible. The restructure of our program reflects what students and employers want to receive from an MBA.”
In the new MBA program design, students will as much as 30 percent less time in lectures. Instead, there will be more opportunities for in-company projects and other work-based learning.
Other aspects of the redesigned MBA program will include regular "meet-the-CEO" sessions, which are designed to connect students with executives; and a range of personal leadership development activities.
In recent years, an increasing number of business schools have been designing MBA curriculums around integrated management themes and challenges, rather than focusing on specific functional areas. When redesigning its MBA program in 2006, Yale School of Management pointed to the blurring of organizational lines as a reason to teach this way.
"Most business school curricula remain compartmentalized by discipline — Marketing, Finance, Economics, and so forth," said Yale at the time. "This model made sense when a successful career was characterized by vertical advancement in a single field within a large, functionally divided corporate bureaucracy. But today, managerial careers cross the boundaries of function, organization, and industry, as well as cultural and political borders."
A recent redesign of the MBA at Oxford University's Saїd Business School suggests a similar approach: the school has organized its curriculum around significant management themes–Entrepreneurship, Global Rules of the Game, and Responsible Leadership.
Nyenrode's MBA redesign will begin rolling out this year, and changes will be introduced over a three-year period.