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by Vault Education Editors | October 28, 2009

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Since the beginning of the recession, critics have called for a sea change in the MBA curriculum. Well, business schools took note. In fact, business schools have long been able to evolve and respond to the changing needs of the economy (for example, during the last economic downturn, they added more ethics courses). According to a survey by MBA Roundtable, a nonprofit organization that "serves as a catalyst for thought leadership on MBA curricular design and innovation," 69 percent of MBA programs have made a "significant revision" to their curriculum since 2005. Moreover, 89 percent of business schools reported that more changes are in the works.

From the press release, the most popular curricular change was the introduction of more applied content (e.g., project-based courses), leadership development classes and courses with a "global perspective." In addition, 25 percent of business schools reported that they had added a new specialization, such as health care or entrepreneurship, in the past three years.

Interestingly, negative public opinion wasn't the motivation for these changes. Rather, according to the MBA Roundtable survey, "The most common motivator by far was internal quality improvement initiatives, with 64 percent of participants selecting it as one of their motivators." However, saying that all curricular changes were inspired from within would be a stretch, as 34 percent of business schools indicated that "competitor schools" were a motivator.

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