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Challenging the Limits of MBA Education


Curriculum Conceptual Diagram

In recent years, the most important topic in business schools around the world has been to challenge the limits of the left-brain type problem-solving capacity sought by traditional business schools; that is, how to incorporate the viewpoint of “innovation” into education. “Critical thinking,” which is the application of a critical point of view to narrow down multiple alternatives until reaching the best option, is well known, but “creative thinking,” which seeks to create a new idea beyond what has already been indicated, is a topic of broad and current interest. A famous example of such thinking is the design school of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, but a movement for creating new courses and programs to break through the limits of MBA education can be seen among traditional business schools as well.

Compared to business schools that adopt a “problem-solving type (left-brain)” educational method, design schools that practice a “problem-discovery type (right-brain)” approach are different in many aspects, including curricula and teaching methods. In marketing, for example, a product development with a left-brain type solution tends to rely heavily on the “analysis” of potentially statistically meaningful consumer behavior from questionnaire survey results. A right-brain type solution, in contrast, focuses on a thorough “observation” of consumers inside a store to identify needs that are not easily expressed in words. This illustrates how the approach can be quite different even in marketing, and similar curricula exist in other areas as well. Below is an example of courses offered that were created for our institution’s curriculum; a similar movement can be seen in business schools all over the world.