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February 27, 2007

Hubbard on the 21st-Century MBA: A Great but Untold Story

“We have not shown the business community — and even our fellow academics — the substance of management education in the new century,” Dean Glenn Hubbard said at a recent international conference for B-school deans. “The challenge before us is to get the word out.”


“We have not shown the business community — and even our fellow academics — the substance of management education in the new century,” Dean Glenn Hubbard told hundreds of B-School deans at the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB International) Deans Conference in Las Vegas earlier this month. “The challenge before us is to get the word out.”

Hubbard urged business school leaders to communicate how graduate management education has advanced over the past 20 years. In a speech he titled “The 21st-Century MBA,” the dean described how business education has evolved from a reliance on imparting functional silo skills in marketing, finance and management to honing the skills of entrepreneurially minded people.

“Increasingly, the act of creating — of helping real businesses, helping business owners make consequential decisions, even starting one’s own business — is integral to earning a business degree,” Hubbard said. “MBA graduates must leave our schools with the right habits of critical thought, with the skills to build and lead teams, to work in borderless environments and, often, without national identities.”

Experiential learning is a new hallmark of MBA programs across the country. “Our new Program on Social Intelligence embraces the “learn by doing” approach,” the dean told his colleagues. “Our students leave the School knowing what drives the behavior of individuals, teams, organizations and networks.”

Hubbard also emphasized the close link between business — and graduate business education — and social development. “The 21st-century business school graduate is concerned with eradicating poverty with the most powerful foreign aid program ever devised — investment — and entrepreneurship.”

The speech was the third in a series of commentaries by Hubbard on the value of the MBA. The series began with the dean’s Columbia University Lecture on May 9, 2006, and continued with an article he published titled “The Productivity Riddle” in the Winter 2006 issue of Strategy + Business.

AACSB International is a nonprofit comprising educational institutions, corporations and other organizations devoted to the promotion and improvement of higher education in business administration and management. In addition to its accreditation function, AACSB International conducts development programs for faculty and administrators, engages in research and produces publications and special reports on trends and issues within management education.