Defining the future of work has been a focus of business schools since, well, since business schools have existed. In the era of Covid-19, that mission takes on even greater importance — and suffers even greater limits. There are so many variables that the future, never clearly in view, is now constantly foggy for even the sagest of B-school prognosticators.
Some deans, however, understand that the turmoil of the present can strengthen the future. And the result is new programs, in new formats and platforms, that appeal to new audiences.
At Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business Dean Paul Almeida has been focused on what’s next for graduate business education since long before the coronavirus pandemic. In late 2017, his first year in the job, Almeida predicted that B-schools — particularly smaller schools — would invite crisis if they failed to invest in new technology and new modes of delivery. “We will see more small business schools in trouble,” he said presciently. “The economics do not favor smaller institutions or institutions outside of large metropolitan centers. Business schools with less resources are going to find it hard to compete in an environment where you have to make investments in technology, in pedagogy, and even more than before, in new ways of learning and better ways of reaching out to organizations for career placements and internships.”
As part of a broader initiative to prepare students for AI and the future of work, Georgetown McDonough this month announced the launch of a new online MS in Business Analytics, the latest foray in the school’s search for “future business leaders interested in learning how to understand and use data to create, share, and sustain value.” The new program will begin in January 2021 and applications are open through mid-December.
NEW MSBA WILL ‘LEVERAGE THE HALLMARKS OF THE McDONOUGH EXPERIENCE’
Back in April, Almeida forecasted the launch of the new MSBA degree when he told The Financial Times, “We do feel the students’ pain, the challenge they are facing, not just moving from face-to-face teaching to a virtual classroom but having to study from home and concerns about the future jobs market. But this crisis has planted seeds for innovation and transformation in the use of technology, about the potential for using our buildings differently so that people can study more flexibly and staff can telework.”
Georgetown’s new 16-month online MSBA degree (the first class will graduate in May 2022) is designed for technology-enhanced learning and characterized by small class sizes — the school’s target for the inaugural class is 40 to 50 students. A main selling point will be “flexibility for working professionals seeking to balance their education with work and personal commitments,” according to the school’s announcement: The program will include “a combination of synchronous and asynchronous coursework, with two long-weekend, campus-based residencies that provide integrated, hands-on activities. Students also will complete a Capstone Project that applies the program’s study of concepts, methods, and tools to a challenging business data analytics assignment with a project sponsor.”
Graduate Management Admission Test and Graduate Record Exam scores are accepted, but not required. Tuition is $59,500, in line with similar programs at most of Georgetown’s peer schools. And most of Georgetown’s peer schools have indeed launched similar programs in recent years, with more than half of the top 100 U.S. schools launching some kind of standalone business analytics degree in the last four years. For good reason — it’s a hot degree: According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, nearly all MSBA programs at the leading schools have seen an increase in applications since 2016.
“We have designed our new online MSBA degree to leverage the hallmarks of the Georgetown McDonough experience,” Almeida, who is also a professor of strategy, says. “When you join our program, you will become a member of a caring community and global network of companies and alumni. You will receive individualized attention from faculty and staff, and you will gain a perspective that translates data analytics to provide value for both an organization and society.”
THE GEORGETOWN McDONOUGH ADVANTAGE
The new MSBA program was designed to prepare students for jobs as business analysts, data engineers, or data scientists in the fields of consulting, financial services, risk management, technology, supply chain management, and retail, says Sudipta Dasmohapatra, academic director for the new program. “The curriculum integrates the technical aspects of data analytics with managerial business functions, with students learning to ‘speak the language of data,'” she says — and students will learn foundational skills in accounting, finance, economics, marketing, and operations “through both research-based and applied solutions to real business problems.”
“We are confident Georgetown’s new MSBA degree will prepare graduates to solve complex, real-world problems with the latest data management tools, implement best-practice models, and carry forward a values-based approach to decision-making that distinguishes them and their future,” Dasmohapatra says. “Our students will be prepared to lead in key growth sectors where graduates with deep business analytics skills are highly sought.”
Georgetown McDonough has at least one advantage over its peers when it comes to teaching complex data with real-world consequences: its location in Washington, D.C. McDonough students, whether they are learning on campus or remotely, are connected to a network of people, programs, and numerous data analytics resources, including the Massive Data Institute, “which harnesses modern data and computing power to produce cutting-edge research and improve decision making.”
A priority deadline for scholarship consideration is September 15. Learn more about Georgetown McDonough’s new online MSBA degree here.