Monday, January 4, 2010

MBA students as customers

Columnist Greg Burns takes on this touchy subject in Sunday's Chicago Tribune, while NYT online has five guest columnists expressing their views. Business schools face a much more competitive environment in student recruitment than other units on campus, as indicated by their aggressive marketing efforts. To make talk match walk, b-schools definitely need to have current students and alums say good things about the program. But what is the best way to do this? Clearly different schools have chosen different paths. Ed Snyder, dean at Chicago, thinks the obligation of the school is to provide a challenging educational experience with excellent professional support. David Bejou, dean at Elizabeth City State, has a different take:
The goal should be shared governance, he said, with faculty, students and staff working together. "You need to understand what this new generation wants," he said. And it's not "a faculty member with white hair and a tie standing at a blackboard trying to write a formula."
At NC State, we certainly take student feedback from focus groups, teaching evaluations and the annual student survey very seriously. But I do not expect to add any students to voting slots on the curriculum committee any time soon.

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