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MBA Programs Evolve to Meet Student Needs

B-schools are focusing on entrepreneurship and experiential learning to give graduates an edge.

Changes to MBA curricula are intended to help students compete in the job market.

Changes to MBA curricula are intended to help students compete in the job market.

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Some b-schools are borrowing a page from the corporate book to build skills through outdoor experiences, where instructors teach basic survival skills, but leave most of the decisionmaking to the expeditioners, to instill confidence in their ability to lead. At the same time, educators are realizing that a simple field trip is not the answer to understanding global business.

At TCU, for example, students who wanted a global perspective used to get a 10-day trip to Munich and London. Now, everyone takes a new first-semester course on global business and can choose from several electives such as international marketing, international finance, and a global supply chain course, plus 5 additional 10-day trips (including to South Africa and China), in the second and third semester.

Educators agree that there's no end to change in sight. "The next five years will be the biggest time of change in education that we're ever seen," says Kellogg Dean Sally Blount, who thinks getting an MBA online for little or no money will become a reality in the near future.

Says UIUC's Echambadi: "The world was very different 10 years ago, but reasonably predictable, like chess." Now, he says, the game is more like poker.

This story is excerpted from the U.S. News Best Graduate Schools 2014 guidebook, which features in-depth articles, rankings, and data.