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Falling student numbers and declining revenues have meant that the past few years have been dire for many business schools, so much so that some US deans have predicted that business schools will literally go out of business.
Rich Lyons, dean of the Haas School at UC Berkeley, has been one of the most vocal exponents of this view and last year predicted that half the business schools in the world could be out of business in five to 10 years. He discusses his views with FT Business Education Editor Della Bradshaw.
Do you still believe that 50 per cent of business schools could be out of business in 10 years?
I do. It was a view that alarmed many schools.
To be clear, among the top schools I think we are offering better value today than we were 10 years ago, so part of this is about redistributing.
There are over 10,000 business schools in the world so when you start thinking about that group from 1,000 to 10,000, I think curated Mooc content and better ways of credentialing students is going to be a heck of a threat to a lot of those players.
Isn’t this an alarming indictment of business schools?
There are dynamics in lot of industries that if your enterprise isn’t capable of adapting quickly enough, it will do you in.
When you go to the top 100 or 200 schools I think the big threat there is that markets like Executive MBAs will globalise and local control will dissipate.
Could technology be the saviour of some business schools?
Absolutely. There are going to be some very big winners and some losers.
So, you still think half the business schools in the world will go out of business in the next 10 years?
I still think half of those 10,000 business schools will go out of business.