COVID-19 Will Accelerate Alternative Business Masters Study Models
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The future shape of the business Masters market is likely to be different post COVID-19, with increased focus on flexible Micromasters and Stackable degrees, according to new research from CarringtonCrisp, in association with EFMD.

Launching it’s 2020 Tomorrow’s Masters study, the specialist education consultancy says that all indications are that demand for shorter, flexible learning options will accelerate because of the current crisis.

“Even before the pandemic, there was growing interest in alternatives to traditional business Masters degrees, partly driven by concerns about rising living costs and fees,” says Andrew Crisp, author of the study. “Modular study options, where students get to tailor their course to suit them, will become more prevalent long-term.”

Andrew Crisp also expects the pandemic to drive renewed interest in different topics:

“With the increased focus on the online economy, we expect subjects such as data analytics and technology management to remain popular. However, the pandemic may also drive students towards areas such as supply chain, logistics and healthcare management.”

The Tomorrow’s Masters study was carried out among 1,041 students from across 35 countries at the end of 2019 and gives an insight into the long-term trends for the business Masters’ market. It reveals that:

  • 39% would consider a Micromasters/Stackable Degree (up 6% on 2019), 36% are open to digitally badged learning and 33% would consider a short online course as alternatives to a full Masters degree.
  • Big Data/Analytics is still the most sought-after subject (31%), followed by Accounting (25%) and Finance (21%).
  • There is a near doubling of interest in online/blended study (12% v 7% in 2019).
  • Over two-thirds want their programme content to include ethical leadership behaviour and responsible management.

Post-pandemic, Andrew Crisp believes that there will be increased pressure on business schools and universities to re-consider their strategies:

“Competition from traditional providers in global markets, from online providers and from new private entrants offering degrees and alternative qualifications are likely to mean that prospective students will be able to shop around to get the best value for their spend. While that does not always mean the cheapest degree around, students will be very focused on outcomes.”

More information about the report can be found at