Thursday, January 13, 2011

Business school makeovers after the financial crisis

Just found out about a new website Poets and Quants that focuses on MBA issues.  (Plus do not miss some MT SLoan students' take on the Daily Show.)  It is run by John Byrne, who used to write for Business Week.

P&Q ran a story recently about how business schools have reacted to the financial crisis and, at least among the top schools, it seems to be business as usual.  Schools such as Stanford, Wharton, Berkeley, Columbia, Yale and Darden have all launched new curricula, some with supposedly "revolutionary" changes.  But most of the program changes were almost fully planned before the crash and in many cases amount to underwhelming adjustments: in most cases we see more electives and fewer core courses, a trend that has been underway for quite awhile. 

This is not necessarily bad.  Any changes to MBA programs should be based upon research and there has been precious little time for researchers to fully understand the financial crisis, much less any role MBA education may have played in it.  Although clearly we need to have a better understanding about how macroeconomics and finance interact, the fundamentals of accounting, marketing, organizational behavior, operations, etc. today are more or less the same as they were pre-crash. 

At NC State, we just adjusted the core curriculum this fall in response to student concerns about modular, half-semester courses.  With the Poole gift for the College of Management, we will be taking a closer look at sustainability, ethics and entrepreneurship in the coming year. 

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