An MBA for the Future of Work

MBA Students Collaborating

The way we work is changing. Employers are looking beyond job experience and titles when looking for candidates to join their teams. In a 2018 report by the World Economic Forum, skills that will be in highest demand in the workforce by 2022 include analytical thinking, active learning, creativity, complex problem solving, and emotional intelligence. At Babson, those skills amount to what we call entrepreneurial leadership.

The new Babson MBA, launched in spring 2019, is focused on fostering the entrepreneurial mindset that will thrive in the future of work. This way of thinking can be applied in any field and in any context. Graduates will be ready for wherever the workforce takes them.

Market-Aligned Courses

Through the curriculum redesign, Babson has created a shortened core, focused on innovative electives to customize the program for each individual student’s goals. These electives are market- and industry-aligned. They use current and relevant topics to give students tangible skills they can implement right away.

Marwa Gad Mohsen is a visiting associate professor in the MBA program at Babson. She revamped the curriculum in her Consumer Behavior course to align more closely with what the market and students were looking for.

“The material I teach should be following the trends in the market especially with consumer behavior, which is evolving and changing all the time,” said Mohsen.

The students also were looking for courses that were better aligned with their current or future roles. “They want contemporary topics, not cases from the 1970s or even 2000s,” said Mohsen. “They want to study what they will be doing in their day-to-day work, whether that is a full-time role or creating a startup or new venture.”

Employer Involvement

How do you create a curriculum that you know will actually work? Ask employers. Cheri Paulson, senior director for the Graduate Center for Career Development at Babson, did just that when helping to create the new MBA.

Paulson recognizes the key to producing ready-to-work graduates is intentionality about course selection from the beginning. “It is not just about taking the popular courses but about understanding courses for career relevance,” says Paulson. Faculty is working to make sure that what is taught in the courses relates to the “world of work.” Students are coached from the beginning of their program to select courses that will get them to where they want to be.

Employers also want students who are continuing to better themselves, and who understand themselves in terms of the market. “If you’re not asking for feedback externally, you are only assessing in your own head,” says Paulson. “Knowing how to keep building is an investment in yourself.”

Feedback from employers strengthens Babson’s positioning in the market. Employers say Babson graduates are “collaborative, action-oriented, analytical, and entrepreneurial.” Entrepreneurial is the differentiator.

As professionals, they [Babson students] aren’t afraid to dig in, pivot, do what is necessary, and move forward. Being curious about where the problems are, not waiting to be told what to do.

Cheri Paulson, Senior Director, Graduate Center for Career Development

Continuing to Iterate

With the future of work constantly changing, continuing education has to keep up. This new Babson MBA isn’t the end. It’s just the beginning.

Continuing to listen to the market and employer input, creating new and relevant electives, and listening to what students and the future of work needs are all imperative to the success of the MBA.

Lily Awad, senior associate director at Babson’s Graduate Center for Career Development, kept employer feedback about technical skills in mind when creating new electives and courses.

“The feedback [from employers] was really helpful and confirmed a lot for us in terms of technical and soft skills we need to continue to develop in our students,” said Awad.

Babson is now offering cocurricular workshops in technologies such as Tableau and Agile through the student affairs office, and continuing to engage with faculty on what more can be done. Some electives also have a career development component, so the students are tailoring their projects to their personal career goals. Through this experience students come out of school ready to work.

Systems thinking, critical thinking, high emotional intelligence, agility, and resilience—growing your entrepreneurial mindset. These skills will set you up for success in this new way of working.

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