How Will B-school Specializations Adapt to the New Normal? |

How Will B-school Specializations Adapt to the New Normal?

By Linda M

Updated May 26, 2020 Updated May 26, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the global economy.

Since mid-February 2020, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average have taken significant blows, plummeting in value as the outbreak spread across the Western hemisphere. The tourism, hospitality and transportation industries have been hit particularly hard as countries have closed their borders, flights have been grounded, and millions of people worldwide have had to cancel pre-booked trips abroad, pushing the global economy closer towards recession.

Higher education institutions have also had to make significant changes to adapt to the new normal we find ourselves in, and with classes, assignments and graduations moving online, students are reconsidering the value of higher education. Petitions to relieve tuition payments are gaining popularity at top business schools such as The Wharton School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Columbia Business School and IE Business School as students and graduates continue to see job offers annulled or postponed to a later date.

However, some industries have benefitted from the pandemic.

This has raised important questions about the skills necessary to maintain business continuity across industries, and business schools are now feeling the pressure to adapt to these shifts in the job market and implement on-demand specializations into their curricula. These might help future graduates be at the forefront of industry-wide economic recoveries, from the most to the least affected sectors.

Here are some of the unique specializations that might appear in the next few years and shape the future of business.

Biotech and Healthcare Management

The companies that have thrived most during the pandemic, such as Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences and Inovio, belong to the biotech and pharmaceutical field. This growth isn’t exactly surprising, as now more than ever, the health sector has proved itself essential in times of uncertainty.

While healthcare specializations already exist for programs like MBAs, it’s highly possible that throughout the 2020s more will emerge, as private organizations rush to place themselves at the forefront of biotech and healthcare innovations, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs and career advancement opportunities.

EdTech Management

Another industry that has boomed during the coronavirus pandemic is EdTech. With schools and universities quickly making all operations digital, EdTech providers have become key players in the sector by helping institutions successfully keep educational prospects afloat.

Moreover, a new survey by online education provider Emeritus revealed that 82 percent of Americans – of which 73 percent attribute their interest to the Covid-19 crisis – are interested in pursuing some form of online education, showing that there’s significant profit to be made from e-learning. B-schools are aware of this, and will likely put forward offerings for MBA candidates interested in kick-starting a career in the sector.

Digital Communication Services Management

Social distancing measures have pushed people to find new ways to communicate. It’s not by chance that video conferencing and instant messaging platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Slack usage has skyrocketed in the past three months.

While it’s unclear what the “new normal” will look like, it would be a mistake to underestimate just how much digital communication services will help reshape remote work and daily life in the near future. For this reason, a specialization in this field might make its graduates the best suited to ride this wave.

Interior Design Management

You might think interior design sounds like a far-fetched specialization for a business school curriculum, but is it? The current state of the world has forced businesses of all sizes to change traditional working practices in favor of remote work, making successful interior designing the key to safely get employees back into offices.

Knowing how to manage such renovations will be of critical importance in the upcoming months and years, which is why an Interior Design Management specialization might soon become a popular choice amongst b-school applicants.

Eco Agri-Business Management

Sustainable agricultural practices have never been as relevant (or important) as in recent years. Sustainability is already a popular MBA orientation at top b-schools such as Stanford, IE, Yale School of Management and Schulich School of Business – a trend that is set to continue throughout the 2020s.

As governments across the world implement funds to protect the agriculture industry during the pandemic, a specialization in eco-friendly agri-business management might start to emerge, paving the way for new food practices and career prospects in the field.


This article was originally published in May 2020 .

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Written by

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 


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