MBA Programs Start to Follow Silicon Valley Into the Data Age

MBA Programs Start to Follow Silicon Valley Into the Data Age Greg Pass, the former chief technology officer of Twitter, put the matter succinctly. The M.B.A., he observed, is "a challenged brand."

That's because the degree suggests a person steeped in finance and corporate strategy rather than in the digital-age arts of speed and constant experimentation — and in skills like A/B testing, rapid prototyping and data-driven decision making, the bread and butter of Silicon Valley.

Those skills are not just for high-tech start-ups. They are required now in every industry. And leading business schools are struggling to keep pace.

Mr. Pass is on the faculty at Cornell Tech in New York, where an innovative new program brings M.B.A. candidates and graduate students in computer science together. Meanwhile, across the country, colleges are adding new courses in statistics, data science and A/B testing, which often involves testing different web page designs to see which attracts more traffic.

Business plan competitions have become common. Students' ideas usually have a digital component — websites, smartphone apps or sensor data — and prizes are up to $100,000 or more. Innovation and entrepreneurship centers have proliferated. Dual-degree programs, with a science or engineering degree added to an M.B.A., are increasing.
Graduate business schools have picked up the digital ethos of experimentation and new ventures. At the Stanford Graduate School of Business, 150 elective courses are offered; 28 percent of those did not exist last year.

"We're responding to the best practices we see in the outside world like A/B testing and working with massive data sets," said Garth Saloner, dean of the Stanford business school. "We're adapting."..

Read full story: CNBC

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