Why Queen’s Revamped Its MBA

If you could change anything about MBA education, what would it be?

We do, all of the schools, do a great job in content. But it would be good to see not just case studies—to have more experiential education. Also, building up critical thinking skills to make the education more than writing exams and papers. That will elevate programs and the MBA brand to a different level.

What, if anything, do you anticipate being the biggest disruption to MBA education in the near future? Like MOOCs, for example?

I see MOOCs as being more of a different way of delivering an education. The way students take courses and become part of the MBA experience may be different. As this generation becomes more mobile friendly, we will see technology impacting delivery–and maybe content. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I don’t’ see any major changes, personally.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a director of an MBA program?

Recruiting is a big challenge. Making sure you have a class that is high caliber. You are sifting through a lot more files to get the caliber of students you want. Work experience is very important to us. There are more applicants with minimal or no work experience. It’s a challenge to get those students with experience.

Other challenges are external. We couldn’t control what happened in 2008 and the length of the recession. We are starting to see the light at the end of tunnel. We can’t control some of those external forces.

To help recruiting, we have stopped taking written essays. What are companies looking for? The are looking for communication. We use Kira Talent video questions, and it has helped us develop behavioral type questions in interviews. It helps us see if candidates can think on their feet.

Could a response in a video interview make or break an admissions decision for an applicant?

I don’t think it could make or break a decision. If it is so bad, then possibly. But we mainly use video to help set up interviews. We don’t have preset questions and we understand staring into a web cam and answering three questions randomly makes people nervous. Not everyone can do it well. So will it eliminate folks? No. We are not looking for perfect answers. We are looking for how they prepared and how professional they come across. Usually it’s a GMAT score that will make or break an applicant.

What usually happens is the person will run out of time. One minute moves quickly when you are behind the camera. But it’s not that difficult, students can do practice runs. We’ve heard most students have more angst going through the process, but once they go through it they say it really wasn’t that bad. They don’t have to go through six months of writing and editing and we get an answer that is raw and unedited.

What’s your word of hope and word of caution for this generation of MBAs?

My word of hope is the world is your oyster. It doesn’t look like it now but there are tremendous opportunities. The demographic bulge is retiring. There are tremendous needs for a good skill set. I am in my 50’s and I look at how the world looks now compared to what it looked like in the 80’s and there are huge opportunities. Get a great education. Make sure you follow your passions and the world’s an oyster.

My word of caution? Be patient. People want to get to the top very quickly. Be patient and make the right decisions to go in the right direction.


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