Two young men working in a finance lab. Data from their screens is overlaid on top of the image.

Bringing management curricula into the digital era

Ask a recruiter what kinds of skills they expect job candidates to bring to the table, and you’re likely to hear about artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics, the internet of things, augmented reality and so on.

This is not what you’ll find in most business curricula.

Chart showcasing results of an AACSB survey. 59% strongly agreed with the statement 'Technology is going to have a transformative impact on business disciplines over the next five years.' Another 41% agreed.

Management Curriculum for the Digital Era (MaCuDE) is a transformational effort by the world’s top business schools to understand the challenges wrought by digital transformation, and redesign academic offerings to ensure students graduate with the mindset, knowledge and skills required to lead in this new world.

The goal of MaCuDE isn’t to expect managers to be experts in cognitive computing, or to condition students to allow technology to think for them. Rather, it’s designed to equip professionals with the skills they’ll need in a workplace where learning machines, real-time data and actionable analytics are the norm.

‘The greatest challenges associated with digital transformation are understanding the new sets of strategies and the changing value of business resources — and few executives understand these.’

Dr. Eric K. Clemons, University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School)
67% of respondents said their business programs do "a little bit" to prepare students for the digital age. 33% rated their programs as adequate. 0% said "a great deal."

About MaCuDE

MaCuDE is an AACSB International-sponsored initiative, led by Stevens Institute of Technology, that is uniting leaders in academia and industry to examine core disciplines like finance, marketing and accounting with an eye to areas ripe for disruption. The initiative is financially supported by PwC, a professional services firm and leader in recognizing the kind of tech-focused upskilling required of a digital enterprise.

More than 100 business schools have joined one of the discipline-specific areas of this project. Those disciplines are:

  • Accounting.
  • Finance and quantitative finance.
  • Management, organizational behavior, HR and leadership.
  • Marketing.
  • Information systems.
  • Analytics, operations research and management, and data science.
  • Strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Cybersecurity, privacy and law.
  • Future of learning and work.

What is digital transformation?

Digital transformation is the use of technology by a company to change its core business processes in search of competitive advantage. That may include artificial intelligence, the internet of things, robotics, blockchain and augmented reality. Business schools have been slow to address these concepts; by involving so many schools in MaCuDE, deans and faculty leaders will learn to change their perspectives — not just their curricula — and bring a sense of urgency and agility to rethinking degree programs, hiring practices and research priorities.

‘B-school students deserve curricula that embrace digital disruption and transformation, inspiring them to meet the needs of our global society.’

Dr. Tom Robinson, president and CEO, AACSB International

The excitement surrounding MaCuDE demonstrates the understanding among business schools that there is much work to be done here — but also much enthusiasm about sharing what they’ve learned with one another.

5% of U.S. firms are led by digital-ready managers

80% of CEOs say they lack important digital skills

Source: PwC

MaCuDE timeline

The MaCuDE initiative is envisioned as a two-year project of intense collaboration.

Phase I: Survey existing business school curricula, with an eye to the kinds of skills that are needed in this area in the future. (Three months; completed)

Phase II: Interview industry leaders to better understand skills gaps and key technologies where employees require upskilling. (Six months; in progress)

Phase III: Each discipline group prepares a new curriculum for its area that can inform MBA, specialty master’s, executive and undergraduate programs. (Five months)

Phase IV: The curriculum recommendations are compiled into a final report by Stevens and the steering committee, which will issue a comprehensive curriculum, including course outlines, cases and additional modules. This final report will inform curricular refreshes at business schools worldwide. (Six months)