In an acknowledgement that one size does not fit all, from September MBA students at Anderson School of Management at UCLA will be able to customise their programme to suit their career objectives.
Following in-depth research and close consultation with employers the school has redesigned its full-time MBA programme - both the core and the electives - so that it focuses on both student flexibility and employer expectations, or becomes what the dean Judy Olian describes as “market facing”.
The revised curriculum will allow first year students to decide when they will study marketing, finance and strategy as well as incorporating separate classes in leadership and communication early into the programme. During their second year students can opt to take courses in marketing, finance or consulting or a custom track for those with “unique interests”. These tracks will be complemented by certificate programmes in areas of interest including sustainability, real estate and entertainment.
Students also take part in a 20-week client project, acting as consultants to companies.
“Employers expect MBA graduates to be ready, from day one, to add value to their organisations,” says Prof Olian.
The revamp she adds, will mean that the redesigned curriculum will be closely aligned to students’ career interests, so that on graduation students will enter the job market as experts in their chosen field.
Anderson is not the first school to take a long hard look at its curriculum. Last year its Californian neighbour Haas at Berkeley overhauled its core curriculum under the leadership of the then new dean Richard Lyons. Sweeping changes were announced that emphasised experiential learning, creativity, problem-solving and experimentation. And Sunil Kumar, who has recently taken the helm at Chicago Booth also has his eye on the school’s curriculum, suggesting that Booth extend its core strengths of finance and economics to include further academic strengths such as organisational behaviour.