Survey Says American MBA Programs Prepare Students Better Than Anywhere Else

MBA programs in the United States feel overwhelmingly confident that their graduates are prepared for today’s workforce—and that they are better prepared than their European and Asian counterparts.

According to a Kaplan Test Prep survey of over 200 top business schools across the United States, a whopping 95% think American business schools better prepare their students than European business schools do, and 92% said the same about business schools in Asia, despite their growing global prominence.

Given the number of contrary news reports over the past year, it is perhaps surprising that 95% of surveyed business schools say that “today’s MBA graduates in the U.S. are properly prepared for the changing employment landscape.” This evaluation comes at a time when many business leaders are questioning whether U.S. colleges and universities are preparing students with the skills needed in today’s workforce.

A Gallup study last year shows that a third of business leaders disagree with the statement that “higher education institutions in this country are graduating students with the skills and competencies that my business needs.”

Recognizing the skills gap, many business leaders are working with business schools to make sure the MBA degree stays relevant, and some business schools are significantly revamping their curricula to give students the skill sets needed to excel in an increasingly tech-focused economy.

In what may become a trend among business schools that are changing their curricula, Kaplan’s survey finds that 26% currently offer a course to teach students how to code; 64% don’t and the remaining were unsure.  Of the 64%  that said they’d didn’t offer a coding class, just 7% said they may develop one.

“American business schools continue to produce many of the world’s top leaders in a host of industries, from finance to technology to healthcare, but despite the confidence in their ability to meet workforce needs, many business schools understand they must continue to evolve so that their graduates have the know-how needed to thrive in a competitive, increasingly technology-driven global economy,” said Brian Carlidge, Executive Director of pre-graduate and pre-business programs, Kaplan Test Prep.

“We think MBA programs may increasingly offer their students the opportunity to take courses in both coding and data science in the years to come to give them basic knowledge in two areas that businesses are increasingly taking an interest in,” Carlidge added.

For the Kaplan survey, admissions officers from 204 business schools from across the United States – including 11 of the top 30 MBA programs, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report – were polled by telephone between August and September 2014.


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