April 23, 2024
Retooling Toward the Future
Anil Menon, dean of the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business, is redesigning the school's MBA program to make degrees more flexible and durable. It will relaunch this fall with a curriculum emphasizing management philosophy and mental resiliency.

Photo: Scott Cook

Retooling Toward the Future
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, a former commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe, is an adjunct professor at the Crummer Graduate School of Business.

Photo: Scott Cook

MBA Programs

Retooling Toward the Future

Tim Barker | 3/27/2024


With a long history in the private sector — including stints at IBM and Cisco — Anil Menon has had a front row seat on the value of an MBA and executive education. But he’s also learned about some of the weaknesses inherent in the system.

“Over the last 20 years, one of the things that I came to recognize is that the half-life of an MBA (education) is about five years,” says Menon, the new dean of the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business. “After five years, they either forget what they’ve learned, or they have moved on to a new role.”

That understanding plays a key role in Menon’s decisions as he guides the program at a time when interest in graduate business education is on the decline. Last year, for example, there was a 5% dip in applications across the globe, according to a 2023 survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council.

Menon envisions an MBA program that’s more flexible and durable — with opportunities to earn certifications or badges for students who need to pick up new skills as they advance in their careers. By tracking and staying connected with alumni, the school will be able to quickly design and build certificate programs as needed.

“We don’t want to think about student success only in the one or two years while they’re on campus and in the program,” Menon says. “We’re focusing more on our students in terms of leadership, five years and 10 years down the road.”

Menon is a rare academic who has built a parallel career in global business, often at the highest levels of international engagement. Most recently, Menon served as senior advisor to Prince Charles on sustainable markets — a key pillar of the new king’s global leadership agenda. Menon served as executive vice president of community and urban services at Sharecare, an Atlanta-based digital health company that develops tools that consider health outcomes in urban infrastructure investments. He served in global leadership roles at Cisco Systems and at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. From 2002 to 2009, Menon held several global roles at IBM, spanning global brand strategy and serving as the chief marketing officer for the company’s $34-billion hardware business.

Menon says he wants to see Crummer become more attuned to the needs of the business world. That means a stronger focus on value creation and growth and a new approach to executive education. With that in mind, the school temporarily halted its executive MBA program for a retooling period.

The program will relaunch this fall with a new curriculum, focusing on effective leadership, emphasizing management philosophy and mental resiliency. As part of that, Crummer is expanding its use of business and leadership professionals as instructors. Already, the school counts among its adjunct professors retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, a former commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe.

“We’re bringing people like him, who are highly accomplished, into the classroom to teach,” Menon says.

Despite the challenges facing graduate programs nationwide, Menon is optimistic the program can grow, including adding more international students — without threatening its intimate culture.

“I came here because we’re small. And because we don’t have departments, we’re much more nimble, much more flexible,” he says. “There’s a strong sense of ownership and stewardship of the customer brand by the faculty, so they are willing to make changes.” 

Tags: Education, Feature, MBA Programs

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