A business school education is a ticket to a better life. But whether it’s an MBA, specialized master’s, or other degree, it’s not the end of the journey.
That’s the big takeaway from a recent massive survey of business school alumni, who say B-schools aren’t providing enough opportunities for further learning post-graduation.
“Rather than business school being an end, for many alumni it is just a beginning,” says Andrew Crisp, author of the report, Alumni Matters, released in March. “While there is a sense of a warm, fuzzy glow about the relationship with their school, when it comes to the details, the engagement that creates a valuable relationship for both the school and alumnus, there is something missing.”
77% WANT ONLINE ACCESS TO B-SCHOOL CONTENT
The 9th annual Alumni Matters report from CarringtonCrisp, in association with EFMD, asked 1,726 business school alumni across 76 countries about how their business school engages with them, what they want as former students and what they can offer their school.
The answers boiled down to this: As many reassess their careers and seek new skills amid the Covid-19 pandemic, B-schools are dropping the ball.
More than three-quarters (77%) said they would like to have online access to lectures and other content from faculty, while 56% said business schools should create programs for alumni to enable lifelong learning. Of particular interest: short course non-degree executive education, informal learning opportunities with content from guest speakers, studying entirely online, and informal learning opportunities with content from schools/departments other than the business school.
MANY WANT HELP WITH NEW VENTURES
Most (56%) of the survey respondents also say that past students should be offered preferential rates to study future programs with their school. Some of these learning opportunities already exist; crucially, more than half (52%) of alumni are unaware of what is currently available to continue their learning.
Not all views were negative. Around half of survey respondents agreed that they are part of the alumni community (51%), have a sense of belonging to the school community (54%) and are connected to their business school (51%). But while most alumni are very proud of their business school (88%), far fewer feel engaged with their school (39%) which leads to a range of missed opportunities.
The research also revealed a spike in interest amongst alumni in starting a business: 57% of respondents said that they are thinking of starting a business and are seeking advice, and 40% are seeking opportunities to invest in new businesses.
“For schools looking to build a reputation in entrepreneurship, providing additional resources for alumni may prove invaluable,” Crisp says. “As supporters and promoters of a school, and likely future customers, alumni are a key audience to involve in discussions about the future of learning and the future of their business school.”
Read the full Alumni Matters report here.