Despite a common narrative, MBA programs deliver compelling value for students by endowing them with the skills they need to step up in their careers. However, management roles are changing fast. For MBA programs to continue to hold their edge, they need to ensure that they are adapting their curricula to embed the new skills being demanded from business leaders in a fast-changing economy.
As Burning Glass research has shown, one of the most profound driving forces in the labor market today is hybridization: the combining of skill sets that never used to be found in the same job. Hybridization often drives significant salary premiums as employers scramble to fill the need for new bundles of skills in existing roles. For example, Marketing Managers who know SQL earn an average 10% more than those who do not.
What, specifically, does this hybrid business leader look like?
· Business leaders will need to be data-fluent. The share of MBA job postings asking for data analysis skills is up 23% from five years ago; the share asking for experience managing KPI’s is up a staggering 84% over the same time period. The explosion of big data means that business leaders must be masters of both internal and external data to drive performance, and we are seeing the early effects of that today.
· Business leaders will need to have hard skills. The average posted salary for an MBA with Python skills is $97,000, representing a 10% premium over the average MBA salary ; similarly, the average posted salary for an MBA with UI/UX skills is $98,000. Managing the rapidly-changing landscape of new technologies in the hybrid economy will require a strong foundation of technical skills.
· Business leaders will need to have core foundational skills. This might be the most surprising implication of the hybrid economy. We are used to hearing that managers should learn to code, but the truth is that coders should also learn to manage. As US News reports, Product Managers are one of the hottest jobs for MBAs. When we dig into the skills profile for Product Managers, we find that the share of MBA Product Manager postings asking for stakeholder management skills is up 50% from five years ago. People management does not become less important in the face of rapid technological change. It becomes more important.
Hybridization presents a unique opportunity to business schools to prepare tomorrow’s business leaders for the challenges they will face. The three imperatives of a future-oriented business school are to ensure that their graduates are data-fluent, that they have necessary hard skills, and that they are proficient in core foundational skills. The challenge of the MBA of the future is to address these imperatives in a meaningful way.
To learn more on how to review your MBA program to be better aligned with the labor market, contact us today!