Four futures for bized (none are great for all)  

Prior to the pandemic, the standard business school model was teaching profit maximisation to students and providing it to vice chancellor via enrolments from overseas. Time have changed and will keep changing, SCU researchers warn

“While few would have predicted that a pandemic would bring the Australian higher education sector to its knees, COVID-19 merely represents the vector by which its reliance on international students and lack of sufficient diversification of income has been exposed,” Owen Hogan, Michael B. Charles & Michael A. Kortt (all Southern Cross U) argue in a new paper for the Journal of Public Education Policy and Management.

They asked academics, stakeholders, students and officials what could replace the standard cash-cow model of business schools all doing the same thing in the same way – and report four alternative futures.

Unbundling services: low trans-border mobility and low perceived value

A growth of small courses and training packages “aligned to industry needs” from private organisations and “agile education providers”.

Only business schools “offering high-quality, multi-disciplinary business courses” (mainly Group of Eight, Australian Technology Network and Innovative Research Universities schools) last the decade

Export commodity: high trans-border and low perceived value

Universities go for international growth but struggle in competitive markets. At home they are thought to be promoting theories antithetical to social justice priorities.”

“Plagued by poor management, lack of quality and diminishing returns from the initial international student drive, some universities closed down their business schools, while some lower-ranked public universities disappeared altogether.”

Premium pathways: low trans-border mobility and high perceived value

Demand for bized focuses on innovation and sustainability. “The social licence of business schools was enhanced, although improvements in the baseload public funding handed to business education were marginal.” More private competition also reduces research funding, leading to a decline in the research rankings. International enrolments fall.

Educational tourism: high trans-border mobility and high perceived value 

Successful business schools focus on value for money, career-appropriate learning industry-partnerships. They diversify international student markets by reducing fees for Africa and India. Private teaching-focused providers focused on the domestic market emerge.