As much preparation as an MBA degree offers, it’s unlikely it will provide the answers to every conceivable scenario you’ll encounter over the course of your career. In fact, “If all you know is how to answer questions today, you won’t be very useful in five years,” says Mike Trick, senior associate dean of education at Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business.
With that in mind, Tepper will launch a new MBA curriculum this fall that aims to provide the structures and fundamentals that equip students to answer whatever questions they encounter—whether they crop up in one, five, or 20 years down the line. According to the school, these changes include pushing analytical decision-making to a new level in order to create the modern marketplace’s next generation of business leaders.
A cornerstone of the new curriculum is an extensive four-week orientation program called BaseCamp. Conceived as a comprehensive overview of everything from specific business topics to skill set workshops and networking opportunities, BaseCamp is designed to help students figure out what they’ll be learning, why they’re learning it and how to apply the material to their careers.
A Recruiter-Friendly Timetable
Business fundamentals will become the core of the first year, so that students have already seen the key content they need for internship interviews by the end of their second mini-semester in December. In the second year, students will have the chance to use their electives to apply their learning to real-world business situations.
“We are seeing trends elsewhere in business education that are moving to a more a la carte approach to classes,” says Trick. “That is not for us. We are keenly aware of the coursework that best prepares our students for their internships at the end of the first year based on what companies are demanding. Our approach is validated by the students when they return in the fall. The new curriculum makes sure that all of our MBA students are benefiting from this fundamentals-first approach.”
Tepper’s new MBA curriculum will also feature a sharper focus on immersive learning and career development. Without sacrificing core classes, four individual weeks at determined points throughout the program will address a specific need in the development of MBA students, such as leadership development, job searching, or experiential learning.
New Leadership Skills Assessment
All incoming MBA students in the Class of 2014 will participate in a new personalized leadership skills assessment to help develop their oral and written communications and leadership skills throughout the program. The assessment and an immersive 2-day workshop were piloted in 2011, the school says, and have helped students better integrate their leadership and interpersonal skills alongside their quantitative, analytical expertise.
“There is no better complement to powerful analytics than strong communication abilities,” says Laurie Weingart, Carnegie Bosch Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory and co-chair of the curriculum review committee.
“The combination of the two will create MBA graduates with exceptional talents and of incredible value to businesses. The final personal assessment for each student closes the loop on our MBA experience and begins their journey as alumni and professionals who are demonstrating the power of analytics within companies around the world.”