MBA graduates drawn to lifelong learning, survey finds

SOURCE: Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
A majority of MBAs sought lifelong learning in tech-related areas.

By U2B Staff 

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The world of business is evolving and the key to business survival lies in the ability to innovate and remain agile in the face of challenges, making lifelong learning an indispensable offering to MBA graduates.

The recent pandemic has highlighted the need for business leaders across the globe to drive their organisations from one that reacts to one that anticipates and prepares for the future thus making the MBA an asset for professionals determined to stand out from the pack in the competitive world of business.


The Association of MBAs (AMBA) and the Business Graduates Association (BGA) carried out exclusive research on lifelong learning that focused on the views of 2,110 MBA graduates from around the world.

The research sought to gauge how satisfied MBA graduates were with their qualifications as well as examined their continuing relationships with the business schools at which they studied in relation to lifelong learning and their continuing development.

The research shows that more than a third of MBA graduates (34%) have sought to continue their education beyond their MBA programme, and have accessed lifelong learning post-MBA from their own business school.

The survey confirms that as the world remains volatile and uncertain, businesses are crying out for a new breed of leaders to future-proof economies and innovate through complexity.

“This new breed of leader needs people skills, as well as focus and this presents business schools with the challenge of developing these game-changing traits and relevant skills both while studying on a degree programme at the business school and  as this survey confirms throughout their future careers and lives,” the report states.

The research also revealed that MBA graduates were keen to pursue lifelong learning in additional management programmes if offered by business schools to its MBA alumni.


Additionally, it was also found that a large majority of MBAs who sought lifelong learning were tech-related refreshers. The most popular topic cited by respondents was data analytics for managers (47%) closely followed by digital strategy (45%).

Other popular topics among survey participants, included strategy execution (42%), global leadership (41%), and global strategy (39%), the research found.

Postgraduate lifelong learning or refresher courses on topics and modules that are common core elements within traditional MBA programmes were found to be less interesting to the survey sample.

Less than a fifth were interested in completing additional management programmes with a focus on economics (19%), supply chain management (17%), strategic HR management (16%), business ethics (16%), statistics (15%), or accounting (12%), the research revealed.

David Woods-Hale, Director of Marketing and Communications at AMBA & BGA commenting on the research findings said that as business changes continually, so do individual career paths.


Woods-Hale added that this is especially true in an increasingly volatile world of business where MBAs must keep abreast of evolving trends and issues constantly, and make sure they are nurturing and enhancing the skills they need continuously, to succeed in their career trajectories.

“With that in mind and considering these postgraduate reflections, business schools have an opportunity to remedy knowledge gaps in their alumni by keeping contact with graduates and offering access to lifelong learning in a variety of ways,” he adds.

“If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that business continuity and success depends on leaders who know what they want to achieve and understand how they can make a difference in the world.”

He adds that the pandemic-led challenge provides an opportunity for not only traditional business educators and business schools – but also for the corporate world and other training providers to offer executive and custom education.

“This piece of research demonstrates that graduates, for the most part, are satisfied with their MBA experience, hold a high opinion of what their business school has offered them after their graduations, and have ambitions to continue to grow and hone their skills,”

Woods-Hale added, “The test which the business school community will have to collectively pass, is taking this thirst for ongoing development and compete – or collaborate – with the corporate world strategically, effectively, and quickly.”