MBA Providers: Approach Sector Specializations Strategically

MBA Providers: Approach Sector Specializations Strategically

by Dr Vijayender Nalla, Content Director and Founder at Agribusiness Academy.

Over the last year, we at Agribusiness Academy have been reviewing the MBA (Masters of Business Administration) programs offered around the world (specifically in the US, India, UK, Netherlands and Germany). As a result of our team effort we have managed to closely review the curriculum and specializations offered by more than a few 100 programs.

Our secondary research combined with several One-2-One discussions with decision makers in some of these institutes and of-course businesses that are hiring the processed talent confirmed that most institutes are trying to compete with look-alike core curriculum's and functional specializations (HR, Finance, Marketing). Strategically speaking there is not much of a product differentiation and in pure business terms most of these offerings have or becoming a commodity. This piece here provides more detailed insights: Will the MBA Degree Become Less Valuable in the Near-Future?

Of-course, some of the forward looking providers are experimenting and this piece here provides some examples of curriculum innovations: https://www.inc.com/john-rampton/15-of-the-most-innovative-mba-programs.html

I personally feel that there are opportunities for most (if not all) of the MBA providers to differentiate their programs by offering sector/industry specific electives/majors/specializations/Programs.

Let me explain with a clear case: United states Agribusiness Industry expects (by 2020) to have about 27,500 open positions for business and management each year while the industry specific programs (agriculture economics, agribusiness management, Agribusiness Msc etc) are producing less than half of these number of graduates currently (more details on this research here): https://www.purdue.edu/usda/employment/acknowledgements/. The numbers would not look very different in most Food and Agribusiness heavy countries.

Leaving the discussion of the quality and suitability of the sector graduates for another day, we know for sure that there is an opportunity for the general MBA institute graduates to not only fill up these positions but to excel in them. The online education models that are sector specific offers a lot of potential for the MBA institutes to collaborate closely and offer sector specific specializations that meet the direct needs of the businesses that are and will be interested in recruiting your graduates. Agribusiness Academy is servicing a few such forward looking institutes and are able to satisfy their learners and engage the industry better.

While, I have provided the example of agribusiness, the need for sector specializations exist in most industries. Industry will not only love to hire your talent but will also be keen to engage with your institutes better.

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