He’s delivering a lecture and carefully monitoring to see if any of his students have used the tech in their I.D.s to digitally “raise their hands”, unmute the webcams and engage him in discussion. Geographically speaking, the classmates are worlds apart but they couldn’t be more connected thanks to interactive videoconferencing. 

It’s a different way to teach, says Dubey – a doorway to an MBA opened by state of the art technology, which allows budding CEOs situated in Fort McMurray or Calgary the ability to be in the same classroom with entrepreneurs from Canmore or Halifax.

Instructors can conduct instant polls on what’s being discussed and lectures are recorded for review afterwards by students.

It’s a way to achieve a world class MBA anywhere in Canada and, dependent on the program, even stateside.

“The nice thing about the videoconference is let’s say you’re talking about an oil company – the folks in Calgary have a very different view about the oil industry then the folks in Toronto or Quebec,” says Dubey. “And someone might say ‘well if I was running the company this is how I would do it’ and there will be a (variety of) different answers – half the learning is coming from your colleagues.”

It’s part of an experiential learning approach to MBA education, where young potential execs and entrepreneurs are cultivating their business skills and making connections with each other while they’re at it.

“With these MBA classes, some people have already accumulated a lot of experience (in the business world) so they’re putting their own thoughts in,” says Dubey adding that it’s a different discussion than what might be experienced by undergrads in a business program. 

Acquiring a variety of skills

The skills built in MBA programs are becoming increasingly important for succeeding in the business world.

"There are many jobs that exist now that did not exist ten years ago, and the economy and the job market changes rapidly."

“There are many jobs that exist now that did not exist ten years ago, and the economy and the job market changes rapidly,” says Dr. Steve Grundy, Vice President Academic and Provost, at Royal Roads University. “A specialized degree to start off a career, followed by a more strategic professional degree later (seems) to work well.”

MBAs are there to give both those with and without business degrees the skillset required to foster a career in business and adapt to the changing markets,  Dubey adds.

“An MBA gives you all the pillars of business – finance, accounting, marketing, strategy, leadership,” says Dubey. “It’s not designed to make you an expert in any of those areas but (helps you understand) how they integrate together.” He likens an MBA program to a highway.  “When you start out, maybe there’s just two lanes,” he says. “As you come down it, the MBA opens it up into a 64-lane superhighway it’s like a smorgasbord and you can go any way you want – it opens your eyes to the possibilities.”