GMAC Awards $50k to Best Idea for Innovating B-school Education

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, it’s no secret that many MBA programs have seriously rethought their approaches to business education and have taken steps to innovate. Embracing this spirit of change was a recent Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) contest that sought ideas for revamping the way business schools educate management professionals.
The GMAC, which administers the GMAT test, commenced the contest in July and received more than 650 responses to its query for one-page proposals on improving MBA education. Last week, the GMAC announced its top 20 contestants, who will be awarded $262,500 in prizes.
Taking the top prize of $50,000 was Alice Stewart, a strategic management professor at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. While developing a proposal to bring an MBA program to the school, Stewart began honing her winning idea of allowing students to create their own “micro-curriculums,” a concept explained in Businessweek.com’s coverage of the contest:
She envisioned professors from different disciplines creating micro-curriculums, where they’d weave content together from business education, engineering and the sciences. Students who completed the classes, which she dubbed “stackable knowledge units,” would get a certificate. Eventually, they could combine these certificates to earn a business degree, she wrote in her proposal, thereby allowing students to customize their education track.
You may be wondering, if you’re applying to b-school now, will micro-curriculums or any of the other winning ideas be part of your education? The GMAC is certainly doing its part in encouraging b-schools to give these innovations a try: The GMAC’s Management Education of Tomorrow Fund website invites b-schools to submit proposals on implementing one of the top 20 ideas at their institution, for the chance to win a grant to help them do so.
The GMAC itself is no stranger to change. Come 2012, the GMAT exam will include a new Integrated Reasoning Section. All of these developments make one things clear. While business schools and concerned parties might not agree on the means of improving management education, consensus is building around the fact that change is needed.
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