Alternative Credentials In Graduate Business School

Alternative Credentials Continue to Grow within Graduate Management Education

Recent MBA Roundtable poll underscores the growing importance of alternative credentials to meet the market demand for innovative learning opportunities in GME curriculum.
The MBA Roundtable, a global association of business schools whose mission is to advance graduate management education through curricular and co-curricular innovation, today released a new report on Apirl 27, 2021, Alternative Credentials In Graduate Business School.  112 deans, directors, and faculty at 85 graduate business schools responded to report on:

  • What, if any, alternative credentials are graduate business schools offering?
  • How are graduate business schools utilizing alternative credentials in their curriculum?
The survey took place in March 2021.  The following are the key findings of the report.
Seven in ten (70%) agree or strongly agree that alternative credentials are a required strategy for business schools.
Overall, 71 percent agree or strongly agree alternative credentials are a required strategy to remain competitive in graduate management education.  While directors (40%) are more likely than deans (21%) to strongly agree with the sentiment, they are equally likely to agree or strongly agree.  Respondents at both private and public institutions are of similar opinion.

Most graduate business schools now offer alternative credentials.

Overall, 64 percent currently offer alternative credentials and 91 percent of these business schools offer certificates. Few offer badges (15%) or microcredentials (13%).  An additional 28 percent of graduate business schools plan to offer alternative credentials in the next two years.  Public institutions (70%) are significantly more likely than private, non-profit institutions (48%) to offer alternative credentials. Within the next two years, nine out of ten private institutions will offer alternative credentials—48 percent offer them today and 42 percent will offer them in the next two years.  While the vast majority of both institution types offer certificates, public institutions are more than twice as likely to offer badges and microcredentials; albeit a small percentage of private institutions offer badges (17%) or microcredentials (17%).

Data analytics is the most common alternative credential at graduate business schools today.
Overall, a majority (63%) report that the business school offers data analytics as an area of study for an alternative credential.  Nearly half (46%) offer an alternative credential in leadership.  About a quarter or more of the business schools offer alternative credentials in entrepreneurship (38%), finance (29%), supply chain (29%), and marketing (26%).
Meeting market demand and offering lifelong learning opportunities are the most common reasons for business schools to offer alternative credentials.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents' report that alternative credentials are offered to meet market demand (74%) and to offer lifelong learning opportunities (71%). In addition, a majority of respondents report that alternative credentials are used to remain competitive (68%), for marketing and recruiting purposes (68%), and revenue generation (58%).  Nearly half (49%) use alternative credentials for curriculum development.  Private, non-profit institutions are more likely than public institutions to report the use alternative credentials for revenue generation (87% v. 60%), revenue diversification (73% v. 40%), and to fill empty seats in degree program courses (40% v. 19%).
To download the full report, click here.