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The lion’s share of management academics believe that some business schools will fail and others need to merge in order to survive, as online technology disrupts the industry.

The chilling message comes in the latest report from marketing consultants CarringtonCrisp, carried out for the EFMD (European Foundation for Management Development) and ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). According to the report, Looking to the Future, 80 per cent of the 402 respondents said they believed that some schools would have to shut their doors, while others would be compelled to join forces. Eighty-five per cent of the respondents (343 in total) worked in business schools, many of them as deans or directors.

But technology will bring opportunity, too. More than 90 per cent of respondents believed that technological innovation will bring new entrants to the market and that technology will promote the growth of new business models. More than 80 per cent of respondents also agreed that degree students would expect the delivery of their programmes to be part online.

However, there was some divergence of opinion over how executive short courses would be affected by the latest online technologies. Some 40 per cent of respondents asserted that executive education for middle managers would move to an online format, while 30 per cent opposed this view. For senior managers, the case was more clear-cut: almost 80 per cent of respondents believe courses for these senior managers would be largely face-to-face.

Moocs– massive open online courses – were highlighted as one disruptive influence, but less than 30 per cent of respondents believe they will threaten the traditional degree structure.

A second theme to emerge from the report was that business schools will have to be flexible, enabling students to mix work and study to suit their lifestyles. And 70 per cent of respondents believe that business schools will develop more joint programmes with businesses, with qualifications increasingly being transferable between universities and professional bodies.

Business schools also acknowledge that they could do better in finding jobs for their graduates. Some 90 per cent of respondents to the survey say it will be increasingly important to demonstrate how they can increase employability.

The survey of managers and business schools academics took place in July and August 2014. Responses were received from respondents in 63 countries.

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