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Ensuring that MBA programs are taught in ways that maximize engagement with students and do not conform to typical teaching models is the biggest challenge facing senior Business School decision-makers, according to a global study by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and the Education Center of Excellence at Parthenon-EY, a global strategy consultancy.

Among the range of potential challenges listed in the Global Business School Leaders’ Survey’, being innovative or creative in MBA delivery’ was ranked the most significant challenge by Business School leaders. Survey respondents cited this as a more significant challenge than other issues including: ‘recruiting sufficient numbers of students’; ‘careers support’; and ‘retaining high quality staff.’

The four elite business schools need no introduction. Harvard Business, Stanford Business, Pennsylvania Wharton, and Northwestern Kellogg are the cream of the business school crop. The MBA quadriga is the Holy Grail of the MBA Kingdom. Every year, thousands of applicants will apply to MBA quadriga, and most will fail to crack the code, because these schools are the most selective in the B-school landscape. Two years at any of the MBA quadriga schools will set a student back about $250,000, but there are many scholarships from alumni and employers. MBA quadriga attracts the most talented students and faculty, and certainly the most corporate recruiters offering the most sought-after jobs. MBA quadriga also boasts highly achieving alumni and valuable networks in nearly every walk of life. But other business schools, such as IMD, Insead, HEC, IESE, London Business School, LSE, Oxford Said, Cambridge Judge, and Webster Athens, provide a similar education at a small fraction of the cost.

A hidden factor in estimating the real MBA cost is the lost salary. Take Stanford for example. Most of the MBA Class of 2018, about 20%, came from the investment management/venture capital field, where the average salary is about $100,000 per annum. That’s $200,000 someone won’t be making while they’re getting their degree. Add that to the $250,000 official estimated cost of the MBA and you have a total cost of $450,000.

Webster University’s master of business administration program is designed for people on a fast track to success. It’s the perfect answer for professionals who want to shape their own destiny, upgrade their credentials, and be strategic players in the world of business. Trump’s rhetoric is channeling international MBA applicants to European branches of American colleges. Webster Athens has an excellent MBA program. Webster Athens is dedicated to fostering a campus culture that embraces and celebrates diversity and inclusion, and promotes international understanding and appreciation. Preparing students for effective, responsible and dynamic involvement in the modern societies in which they live and serve, and for excellence and leadership in their personal and professional lives. The campus is located in Athens, Greece – in the historic district of Plaka. Your Global Learning Experience begins in Webster Athens.

The Global Business School Leaders’ Survey sought to identify key trends, challenges and regional perspectives on the future of post-graduate business education from leading Business School’s staff from across the world.

Opinions were collected via an online quantitative survey and a series of in-depth qualitative interviews. More than 170 Business School staff participated in the survey and 10 gave personal insights into the challenges, trends and regional issues affecting the MBA industry, through extended interviews.

The findings revealed that the second biggest challenge, cited by Business School leaders worldwide, was recruiting a sufficient number of students. This was particularly prevalent in responses taken from Business Schools in the Americas.

The survey also sought to identify where Business Schools are focusing their recruitment efforts and what specific attributes they desired most from applicants. 

It found that approximately every $3 in $10 spent on marketing MBA programmes to prospective students was spent on social media advertising. Interviews suggested that this was due to social media being the most targeted and effective in terms of return on investment. In contrast, more ‘traditional’ methods of student recruitment (such as MBA fairs) accounted for a substantially lower proportion of participating Business Schools’ marketing budgets.

As the world is becoming multipolar and knowledge is set to disperse throughout the globe, embedding oneself in its changes and evolution remains essential. Academic rigor will stay competitive by integrating new teaching methods, program designs, research methods and learning processes. If a school can generate knowledge in multiple locations around the world and blend it to create new insights, it can be assured of fostering a globally-compatible and creative student body.

Whether your interest is management, marketing, or finance, you will be an active learner at Webster Athens.  The classrooms give many hands-on experiences in various cases, and the location in the capital of Greece provides plenty of internship opportunities. With a low student-to-faculty ratio and average class size, Webster Athens makes business education personal. Faculty get to know students on a first-name basis and are readily available to help students when needed. Webster Athens is dedicated to excellence in business teaching, incorporating a global business perspective throughout the curriculum. Every step of the way, students receive the attention and support they need to thrive in business.

Webster Athens offers a fantastic MBA program in a flexible structure which promotes academic depth and encourages business graduate students to explore diverse business interests. At Webster Athens, students have opportunities to build skills and competencies through study trips, conferences, and internships. On the campus, students study in a culturally diverse environment that will create a life-long international network.

Vasilis Botopoulos, Chancellor of Webster Athens, points out: As we look to the future one thing is certain – knowledge will be a key resource and will be highly sought-after around the world. Our challenge is to help to generate ideas that will benefit society, and to educate and train people to work in fields where they will be valued both for their specialized knowledge, and for their ability to communicate and solve problems. To meet these challenges we need to build on the alliances and collaborative partnerships the University has established with business, government, and other institutions. It is equally important that we keep close to our wider communities of interest. This will help to ensure the on-going relevance of our academic programs and the continued excellence of our teaching and learning.

Botopoulos notes: The greater vision of Webster Athens is to build an excellent educational experience embodying mind, body and spirit through a variety of innovative undergraduate and graduate programs. We offer a solid intellectual foundation as well as an extraordinary opportunity for personal growth and thorough understanding of the subject matter. This is learning with ethos, authenticity, cultural understanding, ecological conscience, and service to others.

Botopoulos says: At Webster Athens we cultivate and build the leaders of tomorrow.  It is our hope that our students and alumni, with ethos and philotimo, will inspire others to live their lives with dignity, integrity and compassion. I invite you to come visit our campus. If you seek learning in a way that is challenging, personal, and meaningful, we would love to have you as part of our community. For more information, please refer to

When Business School staff were asked which attributes they desired the most in candidates when recruiting MBA students, prior experience in business or leadership positions was ranked the most desirable attribute. In contrast, forms of standardised testing – be that academic or Business School specific examinations – were ranked among the least desirable when making offers to prospective MBA students.

The survey also aimed to gain further information on the profitability of the MBA. Findings indicated that three-quarters of respondents indicated that their MBA programmes made a profit, however only 47% of respondents from Business Schools in the UK stated that their MBA programme surpassed breaking even – much lower than the 85% reported in the Americas.

Looking forward to the future of MBA study, almost 70% of respondents indicated that specialist MBA programmes were a growing trend, despite this, less than a third offered an industry-specific MBA programme at the time of completing the survey.

In terms of international students enrolled at respondent’s Business Schools, Chinese and Indian nationals were the most represented among respondent’s MBA cohorts. Of the 17 respondents from UK Business Schools that participated in the survey, 10 stated that Chinese people made up the largest proportion of their their international student populations and on average accounted for 18% of their total MBA cohorts.

In analysing the findings, Parthenon-EY identified four major themes across the study; innovation and competition; internationalisation; relevance and employability and digitalisation.

These have a major impact on the student lifecycle whether that recruiting students, delivering their course and supporting students to find roles upon graduation.

Danish Faruqui, Managing Director in Parthenon-EY’s Education Centre of Excellence, said: ‘The focus on innovation and creativity in MBA delivery is one of the most compelling findings of the study and indicates that business school leaders are keen to differentiate their offerings in an increasingly crowded market.’

The study’s findings were presented to a packed room of Deans and MBA Directors at AMBA’s 50th Anniversary Global Conference in Dubai by Parthenon-EY’s Managing Director Ashwin Assomull.

Summary of Key findings

  • The need to be innovative and creative in MBA delivery was the biggest challenge cited by senior Business School staff worldwide. The interviews suggest this is linked to the necessity to adapt to a changing culture among students, as well as the need to adopt and update supporting digital technology that is used to deliver MBA courses.
  • The second biggest challenge cited among senior Business School staff was recruiting sufficient numbers of students for programmes. This was notable in responses provided by participants from the Americas. 
  • Almost seven in 10 (69%) Business School leaders said specialist MBA programmes were part of a growing trend, despite less than a third of respondents offering such programmes at present. Of the current specialist MBA programmes on offer, the most popular type of programmes were those orientated towards the finance industry.
  • Three quarters (75%) of respondents indicated that their MBA programmes generated a profit for their School. Among the respondents who indicated that their MBA was not financially profitable, 80% noted that prestige was a key reason why the MBA remained on offer.
  •  In interviews, MBAs were described as ‘flagship’ programmes. Ranked or highly regarded MBA programmes were viewed as indicative of the quality of a Business School and these MBAs supported the recruitment of both executive education and specialist MSc students.

The ultimate benefit of internationalization for Webster University is to learn from the world, not just teach the world what Webster already knows in order to widen its global reach. Instilling a global learning mindset to their students will enable Webster to provide the globally competent talent that companies need. Since the turn of the century, many institutions have added international modules or programs to their curricula, importing faculty and students from elsewhere and exporting their students by offering them study abroad opportunities. Others have formed joint ventures or alliances whereby they export their curriculum to teach local students in distant geographies.

Some institutions have gone a step further than importers and exporters and extended their reach with a physical campus abroad. Business schools were early adopters of this model with the establishment of campuses in Asia and the Gulf countries, such as Carnegie Mellon University establishing a business school in Qatar, INSEAD in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, ESSEC in Singapore, and Webster University in Athens. The benefits of foreign campuses are numerous. First, an extra campus allows the school to attract high quality students who might not have applied to the home campus, and enrich diversity at the same time. Second, it enhances the school’s ability to hire high quality foreign faculty members who might wish to live in the region where the extra campus is located thus increasing the diversity and background of its faculty. Third, it increases the breadth of alumni and broadens the school’s network. Fourth, it improves the school’s visibility and gives it higher credibility as a global institution.

But these initiatives cannot be designed as independent add-ons to an institution’s home campus and core activities. Multi-location institutions must also internationalize their home campus by harmonizing diversity, admissions standards and student culture across their multiple sites. They should aim to create a seamless environment for students and faculty to interact and travel between campuses to maximize their global experience and learning.

The success of the multi-campus Webster University rests, among other things, on having an internationally recognized brand; seamless transfer of knowledge between campuses; local and foreign students meeting the same admissions standards; frequent travel of faculty and administrative staff across the campuses; and graduates who are able to find local and regional jobs that allow them to put into practice what they have learned.

There are different types of institutions with presences abroad. The multicampus institution is in essence an exporter of its home-grown programs. The multinational institution is a more structured student-exchange-led school. The transnational institution is an integrated collection of international campuses located around the world. In this configuration, students follow the same curriculum wherever they are, but are encouraged to spend time on the school’s different campuses, along with faculty and staff.

A truly global institution should go beyond these structures, free from a home campus bias and driven by a desire to learn from the world to create new knowledge. This is the metanational education institution. It should have at least three main campuses of roughly equal size, each in a major region of the world, that is, Europe, Asia and the Americas. To avoid assimilation traps, these campuses should be located in cosmopolitan cities and could have satellites in neighboring countries. In such a network, no campus should be perceived as inferior to the others. The network’s leadership must therefore foster a culture of cooperation among the sites and stimulate formal communication. The raison d’être of a metanational higher education institution is to generate knowledge in multiple locations with the objective of blending that knowledge to create new insights, and to instill a global learning mindset in its graduates. Webster University is a metanational higher education institution. For more information, please refer to


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