IE Global MBAIt is curious to see how flexible we are when we are affected by an economic crisis. Suddenly, established business models are changing within weeks. Companies develop creative solutions to their problems they had for years – and these solutions are working well from spot. Of course, some corporations have to lay off people, but some other find the ways to maintain employment just looking a little further  into the future and calculating the amount of time and money they have to invest into new employees after the crisis because they would need to fire “their core knowledge people”.

In the previous economic crisis when the Internet bubble burst, I interviewed many candidates for part-time and Executive MBA programs who decided to postpone their intake just because the crisis required them to concentrate more on the job. They were afraid losing their jobs  when they weren’t 100% dedicated to their company. A quite reasonable answer – at that time.

But times are changing and this might be the reason why the IE Global MBA, IE’s online MBA program, experienced a tremendous increase of enrolments this year.
Why? Shouldn’t the candidates be more focused on their jobs instead of studying at the same time? Shouldn’t they give everything to their companies to help them to get out of the crisis?
It seems that this is just the point. An MBA, no matter if full-time,  part-time or  online, inspires people to do new things or to do them differently and, of course, to network with your classmates (potential clients or providers). This stimulates people to study and as long as they keep their jobs, they do it online. … and their companies are supporting them.

Also, there is the factor of competition. There is no reason to hide that in economic downturns business schools are going fairly well with increased number of applications and if it fits into their strategies with enlarged enrolments. Mid managers take this crisis as an opportunity – if they are able to do so – to negotiate relevant leaving bonuses to finance their studies or simply they do not want to have a break in their career – because they lost their jobs. They apply to b-schools to upgrade their skills and to prepare themselves better to increase their employability.
But what happens to those who still keep their jobs – poor guys? They cannot upgrade themselves because they have a higher workload? Probably they feel the need to do so as their peers are in b-schools and become fierce competitors with updated skills for new positions when the crisis is over.

This economic crisis might have positioned online learning as a real alternative to the traditional face-to-face full-time learning model. To be continued…