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January 28, 2023

Carey School of Business redesigns MBA program

By JAMES SCHARF | January 30, 2020

The Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business is located in Harbor East.
SARAH Y. KIM / The News-Letter

The University’s Carey School of Business recently announced that it is planning on launching a drastic redesign of its Master of Business Administration program. 

The changes, which should become part of the curriculum in Fall 2020, will offer two additional pathways toward the degree. 

The analytics, leadership and innovation pathway will offer an increased focus on the analytical aspects of business. The health, technology and innovation pathway will focus on health care. The latter pathway seeks to utilize the University’s strength in medicine to help students become leaders in health-care management.

Carey Associate Professor Eric Helzer was involved in the development of the new curricula.

He explained in an interview with The News-Letter that he believes that employers are now looking for a different set of skills than they were in the past. 

“There’s an excitement around using analytics and advanced data science methods for answering business problems,” Helzer said. “There’s also a deep need for leadership capabilities and for people to be able to bring insights about human behavior to understanding business problems.”

In an interview with The News-Letter, Carey MBA student Jess Croughan agreed that quantitative skills are more or less a necessity in today’s job market.

“It’s impossible to get a job nowadays if you don’t have some quantitative skills. You have to be able to understand what the quantitative people have to say,” Croughan said.

Carey MBA student Joseph Seymour placed more value on human interaction skills, which he argued are harder to obtain than quantitative skills.

“If the only goal is just to be quantitative, I can get that information from Khan Academy. I need the human approach to [business],” Seymour said. “I wanted to get away from business as a scandal, business without ethics.”

Carey Associate Professor Brian Gunia, who was also involved in the creation of the new curricula, agreed in an interview with The News-Letter that the market is looking for job seekers who are familiar with both the fields of data analytics and behavioral science.

However, he insisted that the development of leadership and managerial skills is still a large focus of the new program.

“We do want people that are conversant in both data science and analytics, as well as behavioral and leadership skills,” Gunia said. “We want them to be able to combine those two to be leaders that can use data… It’s really about the synergy between the analytics and the leadership that employers were asking for.”

Croughan, who worked for a biotechnology company before pursuing an MBA, said he was personally drawn to the Carey School because of its stated goal of improving humanity.

“[My program has] a focus on business with humanity in mind,” Croughan said. “That’s the tag-line and the purpose. There were a number of courses tailored to that, including the Innovation for Humanity course.”

Croughan said he was disappointed to see that the new MBA program does not include this course, which had allowed him to travel to Uganda for a non-profit development project, in its core curriculum.

Seymour said he was also attracted to Johns Hopkins for its human focus. He said that his time working at Volkswagen inspired him to seek out a business program where he could learn how to be a more ethical business leader. He noted that this became particularly important to him as the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal unfolded during his time there. 

“The thing about Carey is the business with humanity in mind,” Seymour said. “You can’t move forward in business just trying to make money. The goal is to make money of course, but you’ve got to do it with the global scope of who the stakeholders are, who is affected, who will be harmed.”

Seymour also said he was very surprised to learn about the changes to his MBA program. He did not learn about the new curricula until a reporter from the Wall Street Journal reached out to interview him. The Wall Street Journal released its report on the changes to Carey’s MBA program on Jan. 22.

“He explained it to me as they’re moving towards more quantitative lessons and structure and I hadn’t known. A lot of other students I am in classes with did not know [before] either,” Seymour said. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that enrollment in all American MBA programs have been declining for several years. But according to Gunia, enrollment in the Carey Business School has not declined at all.

“Carey as a whole has not been experiencing declines,” Gunia said. “Carey as a whole, I would say, is almost bucking the trend in the sense that our admittances overall, across all of our programs, are fairly steady.”

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