IMD is changing the focus of its 46-year-old MBA program.
The Swiss business school announced December 18 that, led by incoming program Dean Seán Meehan, the MBA program will increasingly focus on business leaders’ impact in society — a recalibration to engage tomorrow’s leaders with “global perspectives, digital transformation opportunities, and positive societal impact,” according to a school news release.
“As incoming program dean, I look forward to welcoming the class of 2018,” Meehan said in the school’s announcement, which noted that the IMD MBA will consist of 90 students from more than 40 countries, each averaging more than seven years’ global work experience — making it “arguably the most diverse MBA class in the world.” The new cohort will be undertaking “what we hope will be a transformative experience placing them at the center of a shared learning environment, comprising 9,000 senior executives,” continued Meehan, who will assume the deanship on January 1.
“Our whole community is dedicated to equipping them to face tomorrow’s challenges, ready and able to make a positive impact.”
MORE THAN A THIRD OF MBA STUDENTS GET SCHOLARSHIP ASSISTANCE
Meehan also announced that IMD had awarded 34 scholarships to 38% of the incoming cohort.
IMD, based in Lausanne, Switzerland and Singapore, was named the No. 5 best international business school in the 2017 Bloomberg rankings this month, and the No. 1 school in the 2017 Financial Times ranking of open-enrollment executive education MBA programs. Forbes ranks IMD the top European MBA option for one-year programs, while Fortuna Admissions, a consulting firm comprised of admissions directors from the world’s top business schools, places IMD fourth — but notes the school “continues with its recovery from a rankings fall from grace in recent years.”
IMD’s newly recast MBA program is touting a Business and Society module it says is designed to enable participants to explore cases and meet “central actors” who can discuss these topics and provide best practices. The program boasts a 1:2 faculty-to-MBA ratio and offers what it calls “discovery expeditions” to innovation hubs such as Bangalore, India, Silicon Valley, California, and Singapore.
NO MORE SHKRELIS
The move toward more responsible corporate behavior has been a growing theme in business education, and particularly in MBA programs, for several years now. B-schools are using egregious examples like Martin Shkreli — the “Pharma Bro” who became infamous for mercilessly pumping up the price of a lifesaving drug. Ten years ago, Shkreli — or other offenders like those responsible for the recent Wells Fargo scandal in which the mega-bank opened fake accounts and other products in customers’ names — might have escaped public ignominy. No longer.
Moreover, as mid-tier MBA programs struggle across the B-school landscape, schools have begun to promote these programs as a home for those who might otherwise pursue degrees in public administration or other fields not naturally associated with finance and the making of money. This has diversified cohorts, and curricula have begun to reflect the students’ changing views.
“Business plays an increasingly important role in society,” IMD’s Sean Meehan says. “It is essential for business leaders to know how to find ways of collaborating with other stakeholders, and need to learn to live with increased transparency.”