MBA Outcomes: Traditional, Online or Executive Programs
By: Dr. Karen Terry, WGU Adjunct Faculty
Old models are missing the mark in today’s new learning environment. In 1999, Mark Kretovics—at that time, the assistant dean at Colorado State University’s College of Business—conducted a study of MBA graduates. He analyzed twelve specific competencies deemed important for performing well in business. He then looked at how MBA students got their education in those competencies. He wanted to know the extent to which differences in MBA student learning outcomes are influenced by instructional modality—traditional, online, or in an executive MBA program.
The results were significant—and surprising. Kretovics found that traditional models of business education aren’t necessarily the ‘gold standard’. In Kretovics’ study, the online MBA students self-reported much higher scores than students than their MBA peers who studied on campus. The online students performed significantly better in learning outcomes related to technology skills, quantitative skills, and theory skills – five critical areas that other MBAs did not do well in, especially leadership and relationships.
Skills MBA Students Need for Today’s Job Market
In 2008, Steven Hillmer and Canan Kocabasoglu of the University of Kansas focused their research to understand the needs of organizations that employ MBA students. Their goal was to know what employers want and need from the graduates of MBA programs—with an eye on improving those programs. The results of their in-depth inquiry indicated that the traditional focus of MBA programs, “knowledge of fundamental business concepts,” was ranked no higher than 12th out of 15 dimensions studied.1
If business was utterly predictable and formulaic, then a “cookie-cutter” business education would serve its student, and the companies that hire those students, well. But businesses today want to hire people who are skilled in teaming, thinking creatively, and leading diverse employee groups through change and competition on a global scale.
To produce leaders like that, most universities need to transform their business education to reflect today’s business environment. In the view of many, current MBA education does not prepare students for the new world of business—a world that requires collaboration as much as competition, fresh ways of looking at problems, and leaders that motivate teams.
Wright Graduate University’s MBA Program
Do you want more satisfaction in your career and life? Wright Graduate University helps students achieve that with a personalized curriculum to empower students to become their most authentic self. As WGU students grow in effectiveness as business professionals, they also become stronger, better versions of themselves in the ways that matter most in their lives.
Wright Graduate University’s MBA program develops and hones the complex skills that today’s workplace demands — leadership, emotional and social intelligence, strategic thinking, critical thinking, consulting, problem-solving, communication, and team building.
Investing in yourself as a whole person and leader will do more to catapult your career and emphasize your unique talents, rather than only focusing on the mechanics of business – being a great leader takes both.
1 Doria, Joyce, Horacio Rozanski, and Ed Cohen. “What Business Needs from Business Schools.” Strategy+Business. Last modified November 30, 2003. https://www.strategy-business.com/article/03305.