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Business school

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Harvard Business School in Boston, founded in 1908
ESCP Business School in Paris, founded in 1819
Budapest Business School in Budapest, the first public business school, founded in 1857
Wharton School in Philadelphia, founded in 1881[1]
University of St. Gallen in St. Gallen, Switzerland, founded in 1898
First building of Hanken in Helsinki
Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, founded in 1909
University of Miami School of Business in Coral Gables, Florida, founded in 1929

A business school is a higher education institution or professional school that teaches courses leading to degrees in business administration or management.[2] A business school may also be referred to as school of management, management school, school of business administration, college of business, or colloquially b-school or biz school. A business school offers comprehensive education in various disciplines related to the world of business.


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

  1. Most of the university business schools consist of faculties, colleges, or departments within the university, and predominantly teach 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 predominantly business courses.
  4. Privately owned business school which is not affiliated with any university.
  5. Highly specialized business schools focussing on a specific sector or domain.
  6. In France, many business schools are public-private partnerships (École consulaire or EESC) largely financed by the public Chambers of Commerce. These schools offer accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees in business from the elite Conférence des Grandes Écoles and have only loose ties, or no ties at all, to any university.

Andreas Kaplan classifies business schools along four Corners:[2]

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Capital (public – private): Business schools can either be publicly (state) funded or privately funded, for example through endowments or tuition fees.
  4. Content (teaching – research): Business school can be classified according to whether a school considers teaching or research to be its primary focus.

Notable firsts[edit]

The first business schools appeared in Europe in the eighteenth century and multiplied from the beginning of the nineteenth century.


United States[edit]

In the United States, common degrees in business are:

Graduates in business may also have generically titled degrees such as Bachelor of Science (BS), Master of Science (MS) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).


In Europe, higher education degrees are organized into three cycles under the Bologna Process in order to facilitate international mobility: bachelor's, master's and doctorates. The details of how degrees are organized vary between countries and institutions, but in terms of ECTS credits, where 60 credits represents a full academic year's work, a bachelor's degree typically requires 180–240 credits and a master's degree 90–120 credits.[40]


In France, those levels of study include various "parcours" or paths based on UE (unités d'enseignement or modules), each worth a defined number of ECTS credits. Grande école business schools are elite academic institutions that admit students through an extremely competitive process, and the PGE (grande école program) ends with the degree of Master in Management (MiM).[41][42][43]

Case studies[edit]

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.

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. 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.
  2. 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.
  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 – 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.[44] 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[edit]

When Harvard Business School started operating in 1908, the faculty realized that there were no textbooks suitable for a graduate program in business.[45] 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[edit]

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[46] 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,[47] Wesleyan University,[48] 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.[49]

Executive education[edit]

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.[50]


There are three main accreditation agencies for business schools in the United States: ACBSP, AACSB, and the IACBE. In Europe, the EQUIS business school accreditation system is run by the EFMD, which sometimes applies the more narrow EPAS label to specific courses. 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. Triple accreditation is used to indicate that a school has been accredited by these three bodies: AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS.[51] About 1% of business schools are triple-accredited.[52]

Global business school and MBA rankings[edit]

Each year, organizations and publications such as Bloomberg Businessweek (US),[53] Corporate Knights (Canada),[54] Eduniversal (France),[55] Financial Times (UK)[56] and Quacquarelli Symonds (UK)[57] publish rankings of business schools and MBA programs that, while sometimes controversial in their methodologies,[58] 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.[59][60][61] 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.[62]


In Europe, a bachelor's degree is tuition-free at public intuitions in several countries: Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey.[63] In the German education system, most universities do not charge tuition, except for some executive MBA programs. French tuition fees are capped based on the level of education pursued, from €183 (US $216) per year for undergraduate and up to €388 (US$459) for doctorates. Tuition fees in the United Kingdom were introduced in 1998 and are £9,250 annually for undergraduate courses for home students in England, with higher fees for students who are not domiciled in the UK.[63] Postgraduate courses in the UK often have higher fees, and many universities charge a premium rate for MBAs. All private and autonomous institutions in Europe charge tuition.

In the United States, most public college and universities charge tuition. According to the CollegeBoard, the average cost for an out-of-state, or international student, to attend a public four year university in 2020 was $38,330 (€32,409), while the average in-state cost was $21,950 (€18,559).[64] Two year public universities, such as a community colleges, charge $3,730 (€3,154) on average for in-state students, but these institutions usually do not offer Bachelors or MBA degrees.[65] Private institutions in the United States all charge tuition, often considerably more than their public counterparts.


See also[edit]


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