Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Will business schools go the way of the BlackBerry?

Quinlan to discuss issue at special March 18 panel

Business schools have long provided the knowledge base that has helped launch successful companies, creating wealth, employment, and economic prosperity around the world. However, recent widespread corporate scandals, the continuing financial crisis, stunning failures of venerable companies (Research in Motion’s Blackberry, Xerox, Kmart, etc.), and the rise of online MBA programs have begun to call into question the traditional business schools’ legitimacy and moral authority as the primary purveyors of business education. Can business schools afford to take their future success and survival for granted?

On March 18, Quinlan will bring together thought leaders from around the globe to tackle this question head-on. The discussion, entitled Crisis in Business Education: Defining the Road Ahead, will be hosted at Loyola's Water Tower Campus and feature five distinguished panelists from prominent world organizations:

  • Rakesh Khurana, PhD, Harvard Business School
  • Edward Zajac, PhD, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
  • David Patton, PhD, executive vice president, American Council for International Education
  • Judith Samuelson, executive director, Business and Society Program, The Aspen Institute
  • Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Oxford Internet Institute; author of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think and Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age

The panel, moderated by Quinlan Professor Abol Jalilvand, will offer perspectives and strategies for moving forward. As a precursor to this discussion, Professor Jalilvand shared a few thoughts as to where this crisis came from and how Loyola became the thought leader on the topic.

What brought this crisis to your attention? 
Business schools are facing significant challenges including declining applications, widespread overall dissatisfaction with the quality of MBAs, shrinking job prospects, increasing global competition, and the rise of new educational platforms such the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). If these challenges are not addressed in a sustainable and timely fashion, business schools’ viability will be threatened. Schools are not sure how to deal with the changes to move forward.

Why is this issue being addressed now?
Today, business educators are nervously watching rapid changes in the global business environment and are grappling with the question of whether they are prepared to adapt their business models to such emerging changes effectively and quickly. Universities are realizing that they are not just ivory tower academic institutions, but also organizations navigating in turbulent global market environments. They now realize that their industry is rapidly going through a restructuring phase, which may change the face of the higher education industry in the future. 

What is the goal for the conference?
The idea is to bring thought leaders and best-selling authors to provide perspectives on recent developments in business education and make recommendations about moving forward. Five outstanding individuals from the US and abroad, representing universities (Harvard, Oxford, Northwestern) and nonprofits (American Council of International Education and The Aspen Institute) have accepted our invitation to present their views and develop a white paper on the conference’s proceeding. 

What is Loyola’s role?
The Quinlan School of Business and Loyola University Chicago are taking a leadership role in Chicago and nationally to discuss the challenges in business education and the predicaments of future business schools. The fact that we can get these people together at Loyola is an important first step in addressing the crisis in business education. 

What does this mean for the future of business schools?
Demand for business education is still quite strong, but it faces several challenges. However, every challenge is an opportunity. With this crisis, we have the opportunity to create a model for a more focused education that reaches more people and is less costly. Business schools should be able to play a more effective and enabling role in the future. In the next decade, we will see a lot of change in higher education.

Want more? Register for Crisis in Business Education: Defining the Road Ahead on March 18 from 5:30–8:30 p.m. at Loyola's Water Tower Campus and hear from five distinguished speakers about where the future is headed.