Businesses today operate in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment. Business students require more than just academic knowledge to thrive in today’s hyper-competitive world.
When pilots get to practice and sharpen their flying skills on flight simulators before they get to fly a plane, students could access virtual business simulations to experience decision-making with various strategies, witness the results and reflect on the outcome through richer class discussions. The process of launching a business is complex and unpredictable, so future entrepreneurs can benefit from applying their skills in a business simulation to better understand the process of building their business.
With government emphasis on encouraging entrepreneurship and startups, there is an increased interest in business courses. Learning through success or even better through failure provides an opportunity for students to learn and grow as it encourages teamwork, decision-making, and risk-taking –essential factors in business, specifically for innovation and entrepreneurship.
So, are business programs in the region preparing students for the complex business environment?
Business studies continue to be amongst the top courses selected by students in the GCC. There is a 20-30% increase in enrollment for business domains in Saudi Arabia's Public Universities driven by Vision 2030.
“For the things, we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
The use of simulations has increased after the pandemic with more educators, and organizations adopting simulations for synchronous and asynchronous learning. Here’s a graph of the increase in the use of Hubro simulations during Covid.
A recent study by HCT found that 58% of business students preferred learning in a Blended learning approach. Perhaps this reflects the growing demand for flexibility in the workplace.
Furthermore, Top public Universities have partnered with high-profile national and multinational companies to increase collaboration and provide their students with the opportunity to learn in-demand industry skills.
Here are 3 important aspects we believe business colleges will focus on in the future:
Universities can introduce teaching models like hybrid flexible (hyflex) learning and flipped classrooms so students learn and practice at their own pace. Students can be a part of global cohorts and learn from international faculties and students.
Making learning more experiential
Students should learn about business by doing business. Business Simulations provide an opportunity for students to learn from practical experimentation and through failure. Business Simulations can be both synchronous and asynchronous and also develop 21st-century skills such as collaboration and complex problem-solving.
Bridging academia and industry
Universities can collaborate with local industry to provide students with the opportunities to learn from and build industry-relevant skills, experience and connections.
In conclusion, business courses are adapting to prepare students for the VUCA world. Universities with more flexible courses, emphasis on experiential learning, and strong partnerships with industry can ensure future institutional and student success.