Business school

For other uses, see The Business School.

A business school is a university-level institution that confers degrees in business administration or management. Such a school can also be known as school of management, school of business, school of business administration, or, colloquially, b-school or biz school. A business school teaches topics such as accounting, administration, strategy, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, human resource management, information systems, logistics, marketing, organizational psychology, organizational behavior, public relations, research methods and real estate among others.


There are several forms of business schools, including school of business, business administration, and management.

  1. Most of the university business schools are faculties, colleges, or departments within the university, and teach predominantly business courses.
  2. In North America, a business school is often understood to be a university program that offers a graduate Master of Business Administration degrees and/or undergraduate bachelor's degrees.
  3. In Europe and Asia, some universities teach only business.
  4. Privately owned business school which is not affiliated with any university.

Notable firsts

ESCP Europe, France, founded in 1819
Budapest Business School, Hungary, the first public business school founded in 1857
Wharton School, US, founded in 1881
University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, founded in 1898
ESSEC in France and Singapore was the first business school being AACSB accredited outside North America in 1997


Common degrees are as follows.

Use of case studies

Some business schools center their teaching around the use of case studies (i.e. the case method). Case studies have been used in graduate and undergraduate business education for nearly one hundred years. Business cases are historical descriptions of actual business situations. Typically, information is presented about a business firm's products, markets, competition, financial structure, sales volumes, management, employees and other factors affecting the firm's success. The length of a business case study may range from two or three pages to 30 pages, or more.

Business schools often obtain case studies published by the Harvard Business School, INSEAD, the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, the Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario, the Darden School at the University of Virginia, IESE, other academic institutions, or case clearing houses (such as The Case Centre). Harvard's most popular case studies include Lincoln Electric Co.[36] and Google, Inc.[37]

Students are expected to scrutinize the case study and prepare to discuss strategies and tactics that the firm should employ in the future. Three different methods have been used in business case teaching:

  1. Prepared case-specific questions to be answered by the student. This is used with short cases intended for undergraduate students. The underlying concept is that such students need specific guidance to be able to analyze case studies.
  2. Problem-solving analysis. This second method, initiated by the Harvard Business School is by far the most widely used method in MBA and executive development programs. The underlying concept is that with enough practice (hundreds of case analyses) students develop intuitive skills for analyzing and resolving complex business situations. Successful implementation of this method depends heavily on the skills of the discussion leader.
  3. A generally applicable strategic planning approach. This third method does not require students to analyze hundreds of cases. A strategic planning model is provided and students are instructed to apply the steps of the model to six to a dozen cases during a semester. This is sufficient to develop their ability to analyze a complex situation, generate a variety of possible strategies and to select the best ones. In effect, students learn a generally applicable approach to analyzing cases studies and real situations.[38] This approach does not make any extraordinary demands on the artistic and dramatic talents of the teacher. Consequently, most professors are capable of supervising application of this method.

History of business cases

When Harvard Business School started operating in 1908, the faculty realized that there were no textbooks suitable for a graduate program in business.[39] Their first solution to this problem involved interviewing leading practitioners of business and writing detailed accounts of what these managers were doing, based partly on the case method already in use at Harvard Law School. Of course, the professors could not present these cases as practices to be emulated, because there were no criteria available for determining what would succeed and what would not succeed. So the professors instructed their students to read the cases and to come to class prepared to discuss the cases and to offer recommendations for appropriate courses of action. The basic outlines of this method still operate in business-school curricula as of 2016.

Other approaches

In contrast to the case method some schools use a skills-based approach in teaching business. This approach emphasizes quantitative methods, in particular operations research, management information systems, statistics, organizational behavior, modeling and simulation, and decision science. The leading institution in this method is the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. The goal is to provide students a set of tools that will prepare them to tackle and solve problems.

Another important approach used in business school is the use of business games that are used in different disciplines such as business, economics, management, etc. Some colleges are blending many of these approaches throughout their degree programs, and even blending the method of delivery for each of these approaches. A study from by Inside Higher Ed and the Babson Survey Research Group[40] shows that there is still disagreement as to the effectiveness of the approaches but the reach and accessibility is proving to be more and more appealing. Liberal arts colleges in the United States like New England College,[41] Wesleyan University,[42] and Bryn Mawr College are now offering complete online degrees in many business curriculae despite the controversy that surrounds the learning method.

There are also several business schools which still rely on the lecture method to give students a basic business education. Lectures are generally given from the professor's point of view, and rarely require interaction from the students unless notetaking is required. Lecture as a method of teaching in business schools has been criticized by experts for reducing the incentive and individualism in the learning experience.[43]

Executive education

In addition to teaching students, many business schools run Executive Education programs. These may be either open programs or company-specific programs. Executives may also acquire a MBA title in an Executive MBA program within university of business or from top ranked business schools. Many business schools seek close co-operation with business.[44]

National Accreditation

There are three main accreditation agencies for business schools in the United States. ACBSP, AACSB, and the IACBE. In Europe, the EQUIS accreditation system is run by the EFMD.

Global Master of Business Administration ranking

Each year, well-known business publications such as The Economist,[45] Eduniversal,[46] U.S. News & World Report,[47][48] Fortune, Financial Times,[49] Business Week[50] and The Wall Street Journal[51] publish rankings of selected MBA programs and business schools that, while controversial in their methodology,[52] nevertheless can directly influence the prestige of schools that achieve high scores. Academic research is also considered to be an important feature and popular way to gauge the prestige of business schools.[53][54][55]



See also


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  4. "ESCP EUROPE - Torino". TopUniversities. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  5. Mansoor Iqbal (2 December 2015). "The 10 Top European Business Schools According to International Recruiters". TopMBA. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  6. "The University of Antwerp, Belgium". TheCompleteUniversity. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
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  13. "HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management".
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  15. Tuck School of Business | History. Retrieved on 2013-07-26.
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  19. "1908-1917 | Kellogg School of Management | Northwestern University". Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  20. "History of the MBA MBA Friday Facts". External link in |journal= (help)
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  22. "HANKEN Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration". Helsinki. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  24. "The growth and development of NHH". Retrieved 2014-08-01.
  25. Gonzales, Angela (2007-02-05). "Thunderbird school changes name as it seizes new opportunities – Phoenix Business Journal". Retrieved 2012-03-22.
  26. "Thunderbird history showcased through Arizona Memory Project – Thunderbird School of Global Management". Retrieved 2012-03-22.
  27. "Wits Business School". Retrieved 2012-03-22.
  28. "Gordon Institute of Business Science". GIBS. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  29. XLRI- Xavier School of Management
  30. Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management
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  37. "Google Inc". Retrieved 2012-03-22.
  38. "Chapter 1.2. A Model for Strategic Planning, Analyzing Cases and Decision Making". 2006-02-22. Retrieved 2012-03-22.
  39. Yumlembam, Dayananda. "MICA innovation to help Harvard business school sharpen teaching tools". Times of India. TNN. Retrieved 9 November 2015. When Harvard Business School was started, its faculty members realized that there were no textbooks suitable to a graduate program in business. That was when they decided to use case studies which are detailed accounts of innovative methods and practices that managers follow.
  40. Kolowich, Steve (29 June 2012). "Online Learning and Liberal Arts Colleges". Inside Highered. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  41. "Bisk Education".
  42. "Liberal arts college explore uses of 'blended' online learning -".
  43. J. Scott Armstrong (2012). "Natural Learning in Higher Education". Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning.
  44. Schreuder, Hein, Jeannet, Jean-Pierre. From Coal to Biotech The Transformation of DSM with Business School Support. ISBN 9783662462997. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  45. "Which MBA?". Economist. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  46. "Eduniversal Rating: Palmes Of Excellence". Eduniversal Ranking. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
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  48. "Best Business School Rankings | MBA Program Rankings | US News". 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2012-03-22.
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  50. "Business Schools". Businessweek. Retrieved 2012-03-22.
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  53. J. Scott Armstrong (1994). "Learning versus Teaching: Reply to Commentaries" (PDF). Interfaces. 24: 39–43.
  54. "Business School Prestige – Research versus Teaching" (PDF). Journal of Marketing. American Marketing Association. 59: 101–106. 1995.
  55. J. Scott Armstrong and Tad Sperry (1994). "Book Reviewed: Peter Robinson, Snapshots from Hell, New York: Warner Books, 1994." (PDF). Interfaces. 24: 13–43.

External links

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