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Focus on experience and think globally

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To thrive in 2025, MBA students need to focus on experience and think globally

Lean tiger or lazy tabby? Those are the possibilities facing Canada’s economy in the next decade, according to a recent report from the Human Resources Professionals Association and Deloitte Canada. CanadaWorks 2025 presents three scenarios for our national economy in the year 2025: one in which mining and energy revenue aggravates wealth disparity; a “lost decade” of sluggish growth and government austerity; or the “Northern Tiger” that roars with a combination of infrastructure investment, immigration reform, labour flexibility and education modernization.

We spoke to HRPA vice-president of research and development Kristina Hidas about how MBA programs and students can change themselves—and each other—to put Canada’s economy on the right path.

Canadian Business: What role do MBA programs and students have to play in achieving the “Northern Tiger” scenario?

Kristina Hidas: We need a comprehensive re-evaluation of our education system, and MBA programs are not only no exception, but should be leading the charge.

When I did my MBA at Rotman in 2000, I sat over an accounting textbook learning generally accepted accounting principles, closed the book, wrote the exam, and now I can barely file a tax return. The textbook world is gone.

It’s one thing for me to tell you that they have to change the model, but how do they do it? Things like experience and internships or co-ops are increasingly important so students arrive at a job interview saying, “I have done this and I’m able to do this,” instead of just “I know the theory of this.”

What are some of the biggest challenges facing MBA grads in the near future?

People will be able to work where they want. These degrees need to be transferable if they want to stay relevant.

With a medical degree, if you’re a cardiologist in Russia, it makes sense to recertify here. But with an MBA degree, you have to be able to use it around the world seamlessly. That’s more of a challenge for faculties than students, because for MBAs to stay relevant and for people to continue to want to pay for it, faculties will have to make these degrees transferable and global.

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