1. MBAs aren’t what they used to be
According to an article in the Globe and Mail, the number of students taking GMAT tests is going way down. There was a 23 per cent drop from 2010 to 2013.
The Globe story quoted Ilian Mihov, dean of the highly ranked European business school INSEAD in France: “Mihov said many students have decided an MBA is only worth the escalating cost at a top-ranked university where job prospects are better. Others are turning to different types of business training as an alternative.”
“Many people have realized that if you cannot do an MBA at a top school, then it’s not clear that you have to do an MBA,” said Mihov. “The return on your investment in terms of time and money may not be worth it.”
2. If you want to get ahead you need to be innovative – and businesses are realizing this
PwC Canada has been recruiting from the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program. James Davidson, senior manager of Campus Talent Acquisition, says, “Digital technologies are transforming the way we do business. It’s clear that forming a digital strategy will no longer be enough to succeed, so companies will need to develop a business strategy that fits this new digital age.
“At PwC Canada, we help our clients navigate and create sustainable value for their digital future. To achieve this, we are looking at programs such as OCAD U’s Strategic Foresight and Innovation, for people who understand strategy, sustainability and innovation from a different perspective and who are experienced in research, planning and development.
“We need management consultants who are innovative thinkers, with a design-first mindset, that have evolved their skills in the digital space. We are looking for individuals who are accustomed to working without a blueprint, and whose broad industry experience is complemented by content and strategy development, diversity of thinking, as well as strong project management and people skills.
“OCAD U’s Strategic Foresight Innovation program can deliver individuals who have a critical mix of skills and whose contributions, insights and forward thinking could create extraordinary value for any organization.”
3. Strategic Foresight and Innovation is the only program in the world that combines design thinking, strategy, foresight and innovation
Design thinking is a way of solving complex problems like a designer – it’s different than usual business thinking because it spends much more time researching problems. Designers look at the issue of larger systems and test new models to make better-informed conclusions. Design thinking takes more work but it hits the mark a lot better. It also puts user-experience first – satisfying human needs and interests.
Studying foresight adds another level. It’s about looking for signals of change on the horizon that can have implications for the future. This thinking helps to “future-proof” an organization or company so it isn’t blind-sided.
4. The program isn’t as intensively-focused as an MBA on business, but it doesn’t ignore it
The Strategic Foresight and Innovation program focuses on creating innovative business models and financial sustainability for new products, services or organizations. The business world thrives on innovation and this program teaches better strategic thinking. At this year’s Hult Prize semi-finals, teams from the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program competed against mostly MBA teams from the best universities around the world, including Harvard.
Who had the best business models? Judges told the Strategic Foresight and Innovation teams their models were better than the MBA teams.
5. Wider perspectives and diversity equal more innovative ideas
MBA programs often attract students with business backgrounds, but the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program has a much broader and diverse range of students. This program attracts lawyers, business people, scientists, architects, musicians, writers and public-sector employees, to name just a few.