February 2021
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Business Schools Are No Longer the L&D Solution
TD Magazine

Business Schools Are No Longer the L&D Solution

Monday, February 1, 2021

Employers are turning to online learning to reskill and upskill workers.

Organizations are relying less on business schools to supplement their L&D initiatives for leadership development, according to A New Way of Learning and Working, a report that the Executive MBA Council commissioned and CarringtonCrisp conducted. While most employers see the need to reskill as key to future employability, they are prioritizing less-traditional learning solutions as the preferred method for their workers to attain new skills.


For the report, CarringtonCrisp surveyed 100 employers and unearthed noteworthy findings about both employer and employee perceptions of traditional business school education. Researchers discovered that a little more than half of employers use business schools to supplement their L&D needs, but there is a growing indication that business schools need to be retooled to remain relevant. Instead, a greater number of employers have turned to online providers, such as LinkedIn Learning, as well as professional, industry, and trade groups for more relevant learning solutions.

Of the survey respondents not using business schools, the majority said that other providers offer learning solutions that are a better fit for their L&D needs and that traditional education programs are "too theoretical" and out of touch with challenges businesses are facing. Further, some said that they aren't getting the return on investment from traditional business school programs that they hoped for.

And this shift away from business schools is likely to continue: "Eight out of ten employers in the survey definitely or mostly agree that they anticipate more of their management and executive development to involve blended learning, including online delivery, in the next three years." Additionally, employers see microcredential programs and stackable credentials as viable options for reskilling and upskilling employees.

How can business schools improve their curriculum to meet employer needs? Survey respondents pointed to support of lifelong learning, more flexible approaches for learners to complete coursework, and improved relationships with organizations to ensure that the curriculums prepare learners for real-world business needs. "Business schools will increasingly need to become learning partners for employers rather than just degree factories."

About the Author

Derrick Thompson is a former writer/editor for ATD.

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