A business school is a university-level institution that confers degrees in business administration or management. A business school may also be referred to as school of management, management school, school of business administration, or colloquially b-school or biz school. A business school teaches topics such as accounting, administration, business analytics, strategy, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, human resource management, management science, management information systems, international business, logistics, marketing, operations management, organizational psychology, organizational behavior, public relations, research methods, real estate, and supply chain management among others.
There are several forms of business schools, including a school of business, business administration, and management.
- Most of the university business schools consist of faculties, colleges, or departments within the university, and predominantly teach business courses (e.g. Mannheim Business School).
- 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 (e.g. Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Business School, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania).
- In Europe and Asia, some universities teach predominantly business courses (e.g. Copenhagen Business School).
- Privately owned business school which is not affiliated with any university (e.g. WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management).
- Culture (Europe - US): Independent of their actual (physical) location, business schools can be classified according to whether they follow the European or the US model.
- Compass (international/global – regional/local): Business schools can be classified along a continuum, with international/ global schools on one end and regional/ local schools on the other.
- Capital (public – private): Business schools can either be publicly (state) funded or privately funded, for example through endowments or tuition fees.
- Content (teaching – research): Business school can be classified according to whether a school considers teaching or research to be its primary focus.
The first business schools appeared in Europe in the eighteenth century and multiplied from the beginning of the nineteenth century. As the French scholar Adrien Jean-Guy Passant points out, the oldest business school in the world is, to this day, ESCP Business School, founded in Paris in October 1819, under the name ‘Special School of Commerce and Industry’, followed by the business school of the Università Ca'Foscari in Italy which was opened in August 1868 under the name ‘Higher School of Commerce of Venice’. If, in Europe, business schools are generally recognized as the first educational establishments to have taught commerce, it was however the engineering schools which, at the very beginning of the nineteenth century, provided a commercial education at higher level, particularly within the Prague Polytechnic (from 1806) and the Vienna Polytechnic (from 1815).
- 1759 – The Aula do Comércio in Lisbon was the first institution to specialise in the teaching of accounting in the world. It provided a model for development of similar government-sponsored schools across Europe, and closed in 1844. Therefore, the Aula do Comércio paved the way for business schools to start.
- 1819 – The oldest business school still in existence today, ESCP Europe is in Paris, France. Initially, ESCP Europe was a private school that became a family firm from 1830 to 1869.
- 1855 – The Institut Supérieur de Commerce d'Anvers (State funded) and the Institut Saint-Ignace – École Spéciale de Commerce et d'Industrie (Jesuits education) were founded in the same year in the city of Antwerp, Belgium. After getting university status in 1965 and after almost 150 years of business education and rivalry between each other, both merged in 2003 into what became the University of Antwerp.
- 1857 – The world's first public business school, Budapest Business School was founded in Budapest in Austria-Hungary as the first business school in Central Europe.
- 1868 – The Ca' Foscari University was founded in Venice. It is the oldest business school in Italy and one of the oldest in the world.
- 1871 – The Rouen Business School which has merged with Reims Management School under the name of NEOMA Business School. Rouen Business School is the second oldest French business school.
- 1871 – The ESC Le Havre was created (now École de management de Normandie). Created the same year than Rouen Business School it is also the second oldest French business school.
- 1881 – The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is the United States' first business school. HEC Paris (The École des Hautes Études Commerciales de Paris) was established by the Paris Chamber of Commerce (CCIP).
- 1898 – On the west coast Haas School of Business is established as the College of Commerce of the University of California with Carl Copping Plehn as the Dean in 1898 and became the first public business school. The Booth School of Business The University of Chicago Booth School of Business also traces its beginnings to 1898 when university faculty member James Laurence Laughlin chartered the College of Commerce and Politics.
- 1898 – Handelshochschule Leipzig, today Leipzig Graduate School of Management, was founded as the first Business School in Germany, so it is the oldest university teaching economics in German speaking regions.
- 1898 – The University of St. Gallen established the first university in Switzerland teaching business and economics.
- 1900 – The first graduate school of business in the United States, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, was founded. The school conferred the first advanced degree in business, specifically, a Master of Science in Commercial Sciences, the predecessor to the MBA.
- 1902 – The Birmingham Business School of University of Birmingham is the United Kingdom's first business school. Established as the School of Commerce in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
- 1903 – The Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management of Université Libre de Bruxelles is the Belgium's first business school created by an entrepreneur Ernest Solvay, founder of the chemistry company Solvay.
- 1906 – The Department of Commerce was founded as part of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, eventually developing into the Desautels Faculty of Management.
- 1906 – The Warsaw School of Economics (SGH) was established as the first university in Poland dedicated to teaching commerce and economics.
- 1907 – HEC Montréal is founded in Montreal, being the first School of Management of its kind in Canada. It was also the first school in North America to be awarded the 3 most prestigious accreditations (AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS), which less than 70 schools in the world have achieved.
- 1907 – ESSEC Business School in Paris, which was later the first Business School outside North America to be accredited by the AACSB (main and most famous association to accredit schools of business) in 1997
- 1908 – Kellogg School of Management was founded as Northwestern University's School of Commerce.
- 1908 – Harvard Business School was founded at Harvard University. It was the first program in the world to offer the Master of Business Administration degree.
- 1909 – Stockholm School of Economics was founded on the initiative of the Swedish business sector and is the oldest business school in Sweden. Hanken School of Economics was established the same year in Helsinki, Finland.
- 1914 – MIT Sloan School of Management was founded in MIT (as Course XV - Engineering Administration)
- 1919 – Babson College was the first business school founded to focus solely on entrepreneurship. Every graduate receives a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
- 1920 – Kelley School of Business was founded as Indiana University-Bloomington's School of Commerce and Finance.
- 1920 – First doctoral program in business was offered at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
- 1925 – Stanford Graduate School of Business was founded when trustee and eventual 31st President of the United States Herbert Hoover formed a committee focused on keeping the brightest minds in business on the west coast.
- 1936 – The Norwegian School of Economics (also known as NHH) is the oldest business school in Norway.
- 1946 – The Thunderbird School of Global Management, then called the American Institute for Foreign Trade, was the first graduate management school focused exclusively on global business.
- 1949 – The University of Pretoria in South Africa founded the oldest business school in Africa. In January 2008 the Graduate School of Management was formally replaced by the Gordon Institute of Business Science.
- 1949 – XLRI – India's oldest business management school is founded.
- 1953 – IISWBM is the first institute in India to offer an MBA degree.
- 1954 – The Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), University of Delhi is one of the oldest business schools in India.
- 1957 – The McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University is founded to advance the study of business in the Jesuit tradition.
- 1963 – ESAN University Graduate School of Business in Lima, Peru was the first Graduate Business School founded in Latin America. It was established under an agreement between the Government of the United States of America, Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Government of Peru.
- 1975 – The INSEEC Business School, a AMBA-accredited Grande Ecole Business School (Grande Ecoles are the equivalent of the Ivy League in France), renamed INSEEC School of Business & Economics in 2017, is established in Bordeaux - France. It will become in 2019 the leader in Private Education in France, valued over one billion Euros (a first in France!) and will become financially the strongest Grande Ecole Business School in France in 2020.
- 1986 – the International University of Monaco (IUM) is founded. It is a AMBA accredited Business School and University, part of the INSEEC Group since 2010 which provides MBAs in International Management, Luxury, Finance and Sports Management and which rank among Europe's TOP 27 MBAs according, according to The Economist: Which MBA? in 2017.
- 1991 – The IEDC-Bled School of Management was the first business school to offer an MBA program in Eastern Europe.
- 1994 – CEIBS (China Europe International Business School) was the first business school in China to have received funding from a foreign government, namely the European Commission.
- 2001 – ISB (Indian School of business) is a private business school with campuses in two states of India, one in Hyderabad, Telangana and one in Mohali, Punjab.
- 2009 – The ESC Lille in northern France which has merged with CERAM Business School (created in 1963) under the name of Skema Business School since 2009.
- 2015 – The Daniels College of Business was the first business school to launch a challenge-driven MBA program.
Common degrees are as follows
- Associate's degree: AA, AAB, ABA, AS
- Bachelor's Degrees: BCom, BA, BS, BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration), BBus (Bachelor of Business), BSBA, BAcc, BABA, BBS, BMOS and BBusSc (Bachelor of Business Science)
- Master's Degrees: MBA, MBM, Master of Management, MIB, MAcc, MMR, MSMR, MPA, MISM, MSM, MHA, MSF, MSc, MST, MMS, EMBA and MCom. At Oxford and Cambridge business schools an MPhil or MSc, is awarded in place of an MA.
- Doctoral Degrees: Ph.D., DBA, DHA, DM, Doctor of Commerce (DCOM), PhD in Management or Business Doctorate (Doctor of Philosophy), Doctor of Professional Studies (DPS)
Use of case studies
Some business schools structure 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 influencing 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, London Business School, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, 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. and Google, Inc.
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:
- Preparing 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.
- Problem-solving analysis is the second method initiated by the Harvard Business School which 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.
- 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 – and up 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 analyze cases studies and real situations. This approach does not make any extraordinary demands on the artistic and dramatic talents of the teacher. Consequently, most professors are capable of supervising the 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. 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[update].
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 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, Wesleyan University, and Bryn Mawr College are now offering complete online degrees in many business curricula 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.
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 an 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.
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. The AMBA accredits MBA programmes and other post-graduate business programmes in 75 countries; its sister organisation the Business Graduates Association (BGA), accredits business schools, based on the impact they make on students, employers and the wider community and society, in terms of ethics and responsible management practices.
Global Master of Business Administration ranking
Each year, well-known business publications such as The Economist, Eduniversal, U.S. News & World Report, Fortune, Financial Times, Business Week, Expansion and The Wall Street Journal publish rankings of selected MBA programs and business schools that, while controversial in their methodology, 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. Business schools share the common purpose of developing global managerial talent and to this end, business schools are encouraged to accelerate global engagement strategies on the foundations of collaboration and innovation.
- List of Ivy League business schools
- List of Big Ten business schools
- List of business schools in Africa
- List of business schools in Australia
- List of business schools in Asia
- List of business schools in Canada
- List of business schools in Chile
- List of business schools in Europe
- List of business schools in France
- List of business schools in Germany
- List of business schools in India
- List of business schools in South Africa
- List of business schools in Switzerland
- List of business schools in New Zealand
- List of business schools in the United States
- List of United States graduate business school rankings
- Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
- Association of MBAs
- Case competition
- Central and East European Management Development Association
- Decision Sciences Institute
- European Foundation for Management Development
- International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education
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